So, we’ve been keeping tabs on the Richard Pryor biography film for quite some time. We’ve seen it go from getting confirmed actors and actresses such as Eddie Murphy and Oprah Winfrey, to losing its director Lee Daniels before production even began, because of scheduling conflicts.
Now, however, looks like this biopic is slowly (but finally) coming together. Titled Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said, Daniels has returned to direct the film, with Jay Z on board to produce (considering that the biopic is under The Weinstein Company, this project might also count as one of the many others the rapper and entrepreneur has in mind for his two year production deal). A start date for filming is now set for early 2017.
The movie’s cast had been previously announced with Mike Epps as Pryor; Murphy as his father, Leroy “Buck Carter” Pryor; Winfrey as his grandmother; and Kate Hudson as Pryor’s widow Jennifer Lee Pryor. The script has been written by Bill Condon, with the title of the movie taken from Pyror’s Grammy winning live album, released in 1975.
Originally, Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said was in the hands of Chris Rock and Adam Sandler, with Marlon Wayans portraying a young Pryor. So it’ll be interesting to see how Daniels handles the life of Pryor.
Although he would inevitably become an icon in the world of comedy, Pryor’s story was filled with hardship and tragedy. His mother was a prostitute, and father a hustler. After his mother abandoned him at the age of 10, Pryor was raised by his grandmother, who often beat him.
Fast forward to Pryor’s comedic career and although he achieved success, there were still some terrifying moments, such as the freebasing cocaine incident in 1980, where Pryor poured 151-proof rum all over himself and lit himself on fire, as an attempt to commit suicide.
As the first of its kind (there’s never been another Pryor biopic), hopefully Daniels’ film will offer some insight into one of comedy’s most complex characters.