Congratulations Mike Epps. It’s official, the comedian will play the late Richard Pryor in Lee Daniel’s forthcoming untitled biopic. Oprah Winfrey confirmed the news via Instagram this week, writing:
Epps, who beat out Nick Cannon, Michael B. Jordan and Marlon Wayans for the role, also took to social media to confirm the news. The actor posted a snapshot of himself holding the hand of Pryor’s wife, Jennifer Lee who Epps says gave him the blessing to play the coveted spot.
“Had to kiss the ring of @jennferLpryor for the blessing !you got to be stong to have been with the kin.”
And Mike might have been victorious over the other actors in nabbing the role, but it was Epps who Richard actually wanted to portray his life on screen. “I sat with Richard Pryor about a year ago and he picked me to do it [if a biopic happens],” Mike told HipHollywood back in October 2009. “I guess if Richard, in his spirit, allow me to do it, I’ll be doing the project.”
This won’t be the first time Epps will play the star who died of a heart attack in 2005. The 43-year-old played him in the Nina Simone biopic, starring Zoe Saldana.
The film will chronicle Pryor’s rise to fame and his personal life, including drug use. In 1980, he set himself on fire while freebasing cocaine and suffered severe burns.
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