Pryor himself directed, wrote and starred in a fictionalized version of his life in the mid '80s called Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling but this new film is said to "depict the events more realistically." The film has been freed up by Oscar winning writer/director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) and producer Mark Gordon who have shopped it around at various studios.
Although originally developed by The Weinstein Company and almost secured by Paramount Pictures, Fox Searchlight has recently stepped in and acquired the film after agreeing to the $25 million budget.
For those of you who may not know, Murphy isn't just an out-of-the-blue choice to play Pryor; he actually incorporated impressions of him in his early stand-up comedy acts and even put Pryor in his one and only directorial effort Harlem Nights. Looking at Murphy's stand-up stuff from the '80s it's clear Pryor was an influence on him (probably even a hero, also), and so it would make sense for him to portray him in a movie.
Oh, and in case you're wondering, Murphy has accepted a smaller paycheck than usual to play the role. How gracious of you, Mr Murphy...
As I said Pryor is definitely a comedian who deserves a biopic, but not only that but a well done one. None of us want to see a plain, mediocre telling of his life - this is a life that deserves a respectful showcasing and one can only hope they get it right. Murphy obviously isn't too hot these days (One Shrek, Meet Dave and Norbits too many, I think) but no one can take away how well he did at the stand-up comedy game, and perhaps this'll give us the funniest Eddie Murphy movie in about a decade and a half.
What do you think of a Richard Pryor biopic? And is Murphy the right guy to portray him?
Source: Hit Fix