In spite of the fact that he sorta made his own biopic in 1985 (it was called Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling, and it’s better than you’ve probably heard) and was the subject of a semi-definitive documentary last year, several filmmakers have tried (and failed) to bring a Richard Pryor biographical movie to the screen. But it seems as though it’s finally going to happen, with Lee Daniels in the director’s chair—which is an, um, interesting choice. Even more interesting? The decision to cast someone as Pryor who, sorry, isn’t funny.
Mike Epps, aka the poor man’s Chris Tucker (he took over as the comic relief in the far less enjoyable Friday sequels), will play the role in Daniels’ biopic, according to a tweet from the filmmaker. (Oprah Winfrey is also involved, somehow). Epps himself followed up with an announcement of his own, kissing the hand of Pryor’s widow (and producer of the project), Jennifer Lee, and tweeting “Had to kiss the ring of @jennferLpryor for the blessing !you got to be stong [sic] to have been with the king!”
To be fair, it could’ve been worse. And Pryor himself selected Epps for the role back in 2005, so maybe he saw something we haven’t. Or maybe this will be yet another episode of Lee Daniels Makes Really Peculiar Choices When Casting Historical Figures!