Mike Epps Takes the Lead in Richard Pryor Biopic

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Looks like the lead in the Richard Pryor biopic has gone to Mike Epps. Somehow, early on in the process, it looked like Nick Cannon was going to get the gig, and thus be enshrined in proximity to Pryor’s simply by virtue of proximity. But then Mike Epps came roaring up from the back of the pack with a screen test that was reportedly impossible to ignore. (He’d been attached to play Pryor in a previous version of this project.) So now we’ve got a Lee Daniels film about Richard Pryor, starring Mike Epps. That should be nuts. Read More »

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It’s amazing to think that the director of the last Twilight movies, Bill Condon, almost made the Richard Pryor biopic that various people in Hollywood have tried to make for a couple decades. (And with a Wayans in the lead, no less.) OK, sure, Condon felt strongly about the project, and also made Dreamgirls. And his choice of leading man, Marlon Wayans, has occasionally proven that he’s able to go deep into character. (As in Requiem for a Dream.)

But still, the idea of that duo making a Richard Pryor film produced out of Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison shingle seemed like a less than ideal way to honor the groundbreaking comedian. That version slowed to a crawl when Condon took on Twilight, however, opening the door for someone else to take over. Now Forest Whitaker will produce the film.

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I wasn’t planning to write about Gallery1988′s first annual “Is This Thing On” art show as it really has little connection to movies or television (or so I thought… the above piece featuring Judd Apatow mashed-up with the infamous Star Trek Tribbles episode is a fine example of this). The show, co-sponsored by FunnyOrDie, features over 100 artists, each creating pieces that are portraits of their favorite funny people, both beloved comics of yesteryear and emerging superstars.

The line up of comedians depicted include: Chris Farley, Will Ferrel, Richard Pryor, Don Rickles, Paul Reubens,Tim & Eric, Nick Kroll, Demetri Martin, Chris Rock, Whitney Cummings, Jon Lovitz, Sam Kinison, Bill Murray, Woody Allen, Colin Quinn, Bill Hicks, Howard Stern, Judd Apatow, Chris Hardwick, Marc Maron, Scott Auckerman, David Spade, Andy Dick, Lenny Bruce, Adam Sandler, Amy Sedaris, Lisa Lampanelli, David Cross, Andy Kaufman, Christopher Guest, Mr. Show, Rob Corddry and Children’s Hospital, Gilbert Gottfried, Jeffrey Ross, Bill Cosby, Bobcat Goldthwait, Tracy Morgan, Roseanne, Patton Oswalt, Dave Attell, David Wain and Wet Hot American Summer, Will Forte, John Candy, Lilly Tomlin, Phil Hartman, John Belushi, Mel Brooks and Young Frankenstein, Chevy Chase, Louis CK, Norm MacDonald, Flight of the Conchords, Jim Carrey, Reggie Watts, Steve Martin, Larry David, Rodney Dangerfield, Mitch Hedberg, Ellen DeGenerous, Margaret Cho, Steven Wright, Conan O’Brien, David Letterman, Richard Lewis, George Carlin, UCB Theater LA, Upright Citizen Brigade (TV show), Human Giant, Sasha Baron Cohen, Gallagher, Dana Carvey, Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, Danny McBride, Carrot Top, Greg Giraldo, Donald Glover, Zach Galifiankis, Charlene Yi, Andrew “Dice” Clay, Chris Elliot, Jon Lovitz, Artie Lange, Doug Benson, Redd Foxx, Ben Stiller, Ricky Gervais, Dave Chapelle, Chelsea Handler, Aziz Ansari, Eddie Murphy, SF Sketchfest, Cheech & Chong, Sarah Silverman, Stella, Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, Brian Posehn, Charlie Murphy and Kids In The Hall.
The show is ongoing until January 29th 2011 in the Melrose Gallery 1988 location. Hirt the jump to see some of my favorite pieces of art from the exhibition.

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For a minute there, it looked as if Eddie Murphy‘s career might have a trampoline off which it could rebound. Murphy was tapped as the lead in a Richard Pryor biopic (Richard Pryor: Is it Something I Said) and while that would have been waaay on-the-nose casting (Murphy has never been shy about noting the debt his early act owed to Pryor) it might have rescued Murphy’s rep from the pit of shit in which he’s kept it penned for years. But Murphy dropped out of the pic, and now Marlon Wayans is in ‘advanced talks’ to take the role for Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Prods. version of Pryor’s life. Read More »

Eddie Murphy’s Richard Pryor Impression

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Last week it was reported that Eddie Murphy had been cast as Richard Pryor in the Bill Condon-produced biopic of the famous comedian. What will Eddie Murphy’s Pryor sound like? OWF points us to a video clip from the classic 1988 Raw comedy special (which we haven’t seen in quite a few years) which features Murphy doing an impression of Pryor. Check out the clip embedded after the jump.

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Bill Condon had his biopic Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said? in development at The Weinstein Company, but they put it into turnaround so now Condon has attached Eddie Murphy as star and gone out to court the studios for a new deal. Condon previously threatened to relaunch Murphy’s acting career (as in actual acting) with his Oscar nominated part in Dreamgirls – this was ultimately an idle threat, as it happens, but perhaps they’ll follow through this time.

According to Nicole Sperling at EW, Fox Searchlight are definitely interested in the Pryor project though they have (zzz zzz zzz) refused to comment officially. By this time tomorrow we’ll know more, I’m sure.

There’s one particular story about Pryor that I’d absolutely love to see in the film, though it sadly doesn’t seem entirely likely… let me tell you the tale now, anyway…

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