Despite previously reported protests from Jennifer Pryor, Richard Pryor’s widow, Lee Daniels has cast Eddie Murphy — along with Oprah, Mike Epps, and Kate Hudson — in his long-gestating Pryor biopic. The Weinstein Co. film will star Murphy as Richard Pryor’s father, LeRoy Pryor, Oprah as Marie Carter, Pryor’s grandmother (who ran a brothel where Pryor was raised), and Hudson as Jennifer Lee Pryor, Richard Pryor’s fourth wife who the comedian married in 1981. Epps has been confirmed to play Pryor — a most-wanted role that Michael B. Jordan, Marlon Wayans, and Nick Cannon were lined up to tackle.
Deadline reminds us that Epps performed a “killer audition” and “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.” The outlet also reports that the production will begin filming next March, following a wrap on Daniels’ Fox series Empire. Regarding Murphy, we reported on Jennifer Pryor’s comments about the SNL star during a Tribeca Film Festival screening of the documentary Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic:
Of Murphy, Jennifer Pryor was more to the point. “Eddie was right behind Richard, right?” she noted. “And Eddie, of course, stole a lot of Richard’s stuff. Let’s be honest, he did. Including the red leather fucking suit, by the way.” After another shocked reaction from Morgan, Jennifer continued: “He admired Richard, this was the cat he was chasing, this was the guy, the man, the Mack. But, y’know, at the end of the day, he’s gotta fuckin’ hate him on some level, because he’s never gonna be Pryor, is he? He’s never gonna be Pryor. We love Eddie! Props to Eddie, Eddie’s good at what he does.” But she couldn’t resist one more jab: “I’m not sure what that is anymore, but…”
Pryor died in 2005 after suffering a heart attack, following a decades-long battle with multiple sclerosis.