If you’ve been keeping track on who’s more likely to play Richard Pryor in a big screen version of the late comedian’s life, then put Mike Epps down as the one to watch.
According to Deadline, the funnyman has emerged as the current frontrunner for the role in the Lee Daniels-directed biopic after blowing everyone away with his audition. Epps, along with Michael B. Jordan, Marlon Wayans, and Nick Cannon have been among actors auditioning for the filmmaker at The Weinstein Company headquarters.
The role of Pryor’s widow, Jennifer Lee Pryor, has attracted Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway, among others, Deadline noted.
Epps’ frontrunner status is the latest in a continuing saga involving the Pryor biopic. The “All About the Benjamins” star and Wayans were attached to play the comic icon in prior versions of the movie that ultimately fell apart.
For Wayans, the role was seemingly a lock as he was attached to play Pryor in the last version of the movie, which was had Bill Condon as director with Sony as the studio bringing the movie to theaters and Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison producing the feature.
In 2005, it was Epps who was on board to portray Pryor in a film version overseen by Pryor himself working on the project through his company, Indigo Productions. The director for that film was going to be Walter Hill.
Other versions of Pryor’s life story were attempted, including one starring Marlon Wayans’ brother Damon Wayans. Epps became the entertainer of choice for the Pryor family in light of the fact that they wanted an actor who was considered a big star. Efforts to get the film made proved to be an emotional experience for Pryor’ widow following the comic legend’s death in 2005. Deadline mentioned how heartbroken the widow had gotten after each version of the biopic gained momentum, only to fall apart.
Despite the ups and downs, current rumblings surrounding the film point towards it becoming a reality with Daniels and TWC. Epps may sit in the frontrunner’s seat, but an insider emphasized that no final decision had been reached regarding who will ultimately play Pryor. With that, the insider added that Wayans is not out of the running.
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