Lee Daniels In Talks to Direct Richard Pryor Biopic; Actor Shortlist Revealed

Published 1 year ago by , Updated January 10th, 2014 at 9:32 pm,

richard pryor Lee Daniels In Talks to Direct Richard Pryor Biopic; Actor Shortlist Revealed

Each year, we at Screen Rant take a look at the year ahead and the films we’re most excited to check out on the big screen. However, inevitably, some films come out of nowhere to become box office champs. Such was the case with Lee Daniels’ aptly titled Lee Daniels’ The Butler.

That film, which stars Forest Whitaker as the title character, went on to earn $167 million worldwide against a production budget of just $30 million, and in the process, it has solidified Daniels’ standing as a director to watch going forward. Now, we have new details on what his next project might be.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Daniels is in talks to direct the long-in-development biopic about the life of influential comedian Richard Pryor. The Weinstein Company, which produced and distributed The Butler, will provide full financing for the new film. Jennifer Pryor, the late comedian’s widow, will also serve as producer.

A Pryor biopic has been in the works for years, but it seems that both Eddie Murphy and Marlon Wayans – longtime contenders for the lead role – are still very much on the studio’s shortlist. Both actors have long-standing comedy backgrounds and a certain amount of reverence for Pryor’s significance to the world of modern comedy. Furthermore, Murphy and Wayans have each turned in solid dramatic performances, the former as an Oscar nominee for Dreamgirls and the latter for Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream.

Michael B Jordan in Fruitvale Station1 Lee Daniels In Talks to Direct Richard Pryor Biopic; Actor Shortlist Revealed

Michael B. Jordan in ‘Fruitvale Station’

However, in addition to those two names, Michael B. Jordan has emerged as a frontrunner. In recent months, the Chronicle star has been rumored (but not confirmed) for everything from Josh Trank’s upcoming Fantastic Four reboot to the Independence Day sequel and even Star Wars: Episode VII. At 26, he’s far younger than the other two candidates, but his up-and-coming status may mean now is the right time for such a high-profile dramatic role, especially following his critical acclaim for The Weinstein Company’s Fruitvale Station.

At this early stage, there’s no telling who may play Pryor in the film or even when it will hit theaters. However, it is expected to delve into the darker side of the comedian’s life, including a drug-related incident in 1980 that resulted in Pryor setting himself on fire. The project was once reported to be titled Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said?, though there’s no word if that is still the working title.

Do you think Daniels is a good fit to tell Pryor’s story? Who would you like to see land the lead role? Sound off below with your thoughts.


Stay tuned for details on the untitled Richard Pryor biopic as this story develops.

Source: THR

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  1. Anybody but Eddie Murphy! Otherwise, it will tank!

  2. no to Michael B. Jordan, He’s too young to be in the pryor role.

  3. Richard Pryor…who cares? Lots of better people to do a movie bout who are nmore significant to this country.

    • I care…a lot – and so do many other people. I’d bet Richard Pryor was a major influence on the vast majority of successful comedians working today. Plus, his struggle with drugs makes for a good drama.

      • +1

    • Richard Pryor was one of if not the GREATEST comedians of all time and you probably just haven’t gotten to the point where you can appreciate or understand his contributions to the comedic world… so i’ll let that 1 slide.

  4. We need a George Carlin movie more than a Richard Pryor movie.

    • Please, we all know a George Carlin movie wouldn’t be interesting at all.

      • how do you know that a George Carlin movie wouldn’t be interesting? Did you live his life? Do you know what he went through as a child into an adult, trying to make it in comedy is hard.

  5. Well, if you’re talking about a risque life full lots of drama, women, several marriages,growing up in a whorehouse, his road to celebrity, becoming a crack addict, setting himself on fire while freebasing, finally getting his life together only to get multiple sclerosis, than Prior’s story makes for a movie. If you’re only talking about comedians, than either Carlin or Prior would suffice.

    However, about who should play him, if you write off Murphy because you don’t like him or think he’s over, than you’ve never seen him do Prior. He would make you forget he is Murphy on the screen.

    • Exactly. You said it perfectly. Richard Pryor’s life is what movie writers create online this is real life. Just like Ray Charles’ life which made for an amazing movie and Oscar wins.

    • sounds like a life typical of alot of people today.

    • Murphy not only does a spot on impersonation of Pryor, the two were long time friends and Murphy has continually said publicly that Pryor was the greatest influence of not only his career but also his like. Murphy is super talented when he’s involved in something he loves, not just something he wants his kids to watch. No one else will give a performance as true to life as Murphy could.

  6. Some people might be as interested in Richard Pryor as you are about certain imaginary comic book characters.

    • If that is aimed at me, all I am saying is I personally have no interest in Pryor. For those of you that do, I hope you enjoy the flick. Why do so many people get so defensive so fast? I hope I am not that shallow (at least I try not to be).

      • Because you wrote “Who cares ?” That’s highly disrespectful in the eyes of people who post here regularly. If you don’t care, then either don’t bother to post on this topic and simply skip it, or simply put it in different words instead of “Who cares?” OR expect rants like these to happen afterwards.

        • {*Sigh*} Here go people taking things out of context again. I did not mean “you don’t care”; I meant “I don’t care”. I should at least be entitled to that opinion for my own likes and dislikes, and I never personally cared for Pryor and his brand of humor (and no, not because he’s black. I loved Bill Cosby and liked Flip Wilson, too). It seems that there are an awful lot of people on this site who try to go out of their way to attack opinions that don’t exactly coincide with their own. It’s kind of sad when you have to walk on eggshells here and wear figurative kevlar because so many people come on this site just looking for someone to rip on that they disagree with. Seems pretty short-sighted to me.

          • You are entitled to your opinion as is everyone else. If you don’t want a response then why post something on a public message board then? I knew what you meant and my response still stands. Some people feel he is significant just like you feel Cyclops is so vitally important to your movie viewing experiences. And to call someone shallow and defensive for responding to your post seems defensive in of itself.

            • Oh, why bother…it is obvious a couple people are trying to intentionally take what I say out of context or misunderstand my comment. It’s hard to argue with someone who writes their own script about what is happening on the stage, when that isn’t it at all. Seems a bit mean-spirited to me…..

            • +1

        • By the way, I post here regularly, too…so to quote The Rock, “Who is this roody-poo?!”

  7. Slayer, that wasn’t nice.

    I thought this was an area open to comments about the article regarding a famous comedian who many must find interesting or why the project?

    As a point of information, I like good movies about imaginary comic book characters, story book charactersm historical characters, fiction and non-fiction stories, documentaries…need I go on? I don’t box my interests. If the topic/story/show is good and the movie is done well, I’m interested.

    And I don’t judge others. But if you feel better for having made your comment, I’m happy I made your day…

    • That was not in response to you it did not post where it was meant to, but since you seem to feel it was that’s on you.

    • Thank you, Teri, for understanding that I was just voicing my own opinion/like/dislike for what would affect what I personally would enjoy watching or have an interest in. I certainly did not mean for anyone to take offense or think I was commenting negatively on their viewing preferences. Apparently there are a couple people on this site who like to back-bite, spoil for an argument, try to blind-side people whose opinions or preferences do not agree with theirs, or wear criticizing others on their sleeves. I am glad you are not one of these short-sighted people. I appreciate your sticking up for me and for the spirit in which this site was supposedly founded. Thanx again!

      • I visit and comment on Screen Rant because (for the most part, anyway) the exchange of comments are usually interesting and respectful, not like the characteristically mean-spirtedness typically found on blogs, in general.

        Don’t know how the commentary on this stream of conversation digressed to such point!

        It would be nice if we consider other’s perspective with respect or at least,toleration!

        Just a thought . . .

        • Agree, Teri. I believe you are correct; there is room for everyone’s respectful opinions.

      • Can’t speak for anyone else but I didn’t take offense so to speak to your comment. Just understand that there are those of us who have much respect and affection for Richard Pryor and his work. It’s fine if you’re not a fan – I know many people who are not. But you didn’t say “I don’t care” you said “who cares?” as to insinuate (even if not intentional) that NO ONE cares when that is clearly not the case. Again, you’re free to speak your opinion and I, for one, welcome opinions that are different than mine. I hold no ill towards you and hope that we have an understanding.

        • I didn’t take offense to what he said either, I just stated that some people might find a move about Richard Pryor as compelling and important as Goldilocks feels about some comic book characters that he has written about at lenght on these boards. It jumped onto a whole bunch of other things for some reason. And in reality after some of the vile things people have said on this board on various topics I do not see how this registers as something major.

  8. Follow up to Precious? Think you may be forgetting about 2012′s The Paperboy there fella…
    Either way… Easily one of the most overrated directors in recent years.

  9. What about Mike Epps? He is the one with a personality that closely resembles Richard Pryor’s. He’s a perfect fit.

    • They’ve been in talks about him but It seems abandon so far, Mike Epps is my number one choice

  10. This film could be amazing. Mike Epps would do an amazing job. However, an unknown would be there best bet, rather than an established comedian.

    • I was thinking about Alphonso McAuley i have only seen him in one good movie which was glory road he’s not well known and he reminds me of a young richard Pryor for some reason.

  11. The question is, who could play Gene Wilder!?

    • Jonah Hill when he slims down

  12. Kevin Hart

  13. So how fictionalized is this going to be?

  14. Does though dark times include making superman 3

  15. MIKE EPPS ! …Period

  16. Marlon Wayans deserves the shot, could be a breakout performance for him. He’s funny as hell, has enough presence to bring the genius of Richard Pryor back to the big screen, and understands the depths that he would have to reach in order to make it work. Can’t see anyone else, think what would Ray have been without Jamie Foxx.

  17. Eddie griffin

  18. Steve Harvey

    • trololol

  19. Dear Goldilocks for someone who doesn’t care you posted more on this thread than anyone else! Won’t you let us all know when everything on here is “just right”. God for bid Hollywood consider making a movie that you don’t like and how dare us argue whether or not you have a right to not like something and flameout on a thread! I may not care for a performer but am open to the fact that a great director and producer and actors may be able to craft an interesting tale about his behind the scenes life. Hell I even watch a movie about how unhappy you are with Richard Pryor is a performer and how unfair life is generally for you if it was done in the right way….

  20. I would love to se Mike Epps play Pryor. He no only looks like him, he can sound like him plus him and pryor had a personal relationship before his passing so I don’t think the estate would object. He is the perfectfit for the well known and yet unknown that can really sell this movie.

  21. i’m not addicted to coke, i just love the way it smells – Sir Richard

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