According to Deadline, The Weinstein Company is ready to greenlight its Richard Pryor biopic, and my, have Harvey Weinstein and Lee Daniels put together a terrific cast. The new additions: Oprah Winfrey will play Pryor’s grandmother, who ran a brothel and raised the iconic comic there; Eddie Murphy will play Pryor’s father, Leroy “Buck Carter” Pryor. Kate Hudson is set to play Pryor’s widow, Jennifer Lee Pryor. And is now locked to play Pryor, a role coveted by a lot of actors. Daniels, who worked with Weinstein and Winfrey on the blockbuster Lee Daniels’ The Butler, will start production in March, after wrapping up the second season of his hit Fox seriesEmpire. The script is by Bill Condon and Daniels’ Empire collaborator Danny Strong, and Bruce Cohen and Jennifer Lee Pryor are deeply involved in the process as producers. There are compelling storylines that will create interest in this film beyond Pryor’s barrier-breaking accomplishments on the standup stage, on TV and in the movies with his politically charged, blue humor. Winfrey is very particular in the roles she plays–The Butler and Selma were the last two–and it is unexpected that she will play the brothel owner Marie Carter, who raised Pryor in a house of ill repute, where her own daughter and Pryor’s biological mother worked.
The involvement of Murphy is also intriguing. He essentially assumed the mantle of groundbreaking standup comedian from Pryor. The emergence of Epps was not unexpected, but it is hard not to like his backstory on this one. Deadline revealed after a killer audition, one that was done for Daniels when Epps was competing against a crop of actors that included Michael B. Jordan, Marlon Wayans and Nick Cannon. Epps and Wayans each won the role in previous incarnations of the film, with Wayans set in the version at Sony when Condon was directing and Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison was producing. Epps won the job back in 2005, when the iconic Pryor was alive and involved in putting together the film through Indigo Productions, the banner he had with his wife.
Sidebar: This is going to be good.