Oscar-nominated director of 'The Butler' to make life story of the legendary comic
The Hangover‘s Mike Epps has been cast to play legendary comedian Richard Pryor.
The biopic will be directed by Lee Daniels who was Oscar-nominated for The Butler.
Daniels confirmed the casting of Epps via Twitter: “Get ready y’all- #MikeEpps as #RichardPryor.” Former talk show host Oprah Winfrey (pictured with Epps and Daniels) is one of the film’s producers. A release date is yet to be confirmed.
A film following the turbulent life of the stand up comedian and comic actor has been in development hell for years. Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock have previously been attached to play Pryor.
Epps was also cast to play the comedian in another version of the project back in 2005, with the Pryor family choosing him for the part. However, that movie fell apart before cameras rolled.
Like Pryor, Epps also found fame as a comic making his name with HBO’s Def Comedy Jam broadcasts before turning to acting in films including Ice Cube’s Friday franchise.
Influencing the likes of Bill Hicks and Louis CK, Pryor is widely considered to have pushed the boundaries of observational stand up comedy with his X-rated routines. He released a series of best selling comedy albums including the 1983 Grammy award-winning ‘Live On The Sunset Strip’.
The actor appeared in a series of box office hits with Gene Wilder and starred in Superman III. Pryor struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for many years. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1986, he battled illness and died from a heart attack in 2005 aged 65.
Watch Pryor in action below.