Congratulations are long overdue for Mike Epps, who finally won the coveted role of Richard Pryor in his upcoming biopic!! He already had a chance to portray the genius comedian in the un-released biopic of Nina Simone starring Zoe Saldana. And even though he was the person Richard Pryor himself chose to potray him before his death in 2005, studios, producers and executives tossed the script around and his chances to play his role model seemed to be only a distant memory. But along came Lee Daniels and the Weinstein Company. Once Daniels was announced as the new director, he believed in auditioning every actor that had the right potential (Nick Cannon, Marlon Wayans, Eddie Murphy, Michael B Jordan) and Mike Epps apparently knocked any competition out of the running with an astonishing performance!
On Sunday, Oprah and Lee Daniels posted the above picture on instagram, officially announcing the selection of Epps and showcasing their first ever table read. Oprah Winfrey will play Marie Carter, Pryor’s grandmother, who ran a brothel and had a complicated relationship with Pryor. Pryor grew up in a house of prostitution run by Marie, when his mother Gertrude walked out on the family when he was 10 years old.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Pryor’s widow,Jennifer Pryor, is producing the film. She brings to the project more than 50 pages of Pryor’s personal journals, which offer a glimpse into his brilliant, but dark, mind.
After Epps learned that he landed the role, he stated:
“I met Richard and felt like I was in Oz the whole time. It’s hard to describe what he means to me or any stand-up comic. You could say he’s paid the dues for everything we do up there.”
Congratulations Mike! There is no other actor that could’ve done this biopic more justice than you.