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Marlon Wayans talks about what it takes to be Richard Pryor

02.22.2010

The LA Times has just published a rather long profile of Marlon Wayans who is set to play famed comedian Richard Pryor in an upcoming biopic which starts shooting in the fall. It seemed like a puzzling casting choice to many at first, and previously the role was set to go to Eddie Murphy, but we all know what his career’s been like these days.

After a “wow” audition, the role went to Wayans, and he talks about why people can expect him to make a good go of it, despite the fact that in recent years, hearing “Wayans” and “comedy” in the same sentence elicits mostly eye-rolls.

"Look, I want to be able to make the stupidest movies ever, because they make people laugh and they make money," Wayans recently said with a smirk. "But that's not all I want to do. And I think I've proven to some people — the ones paying attention — that I can do more. Everybody else, well, they can wait and see and make up their mind."

As for how Wayans got the role to begin with, producer Mark Gordon explains.

"Obviously there are a number of requirements to playing Richard Pryor — you have to be funny, of course, but this role also has so many colors to it that you need to be a strong actor who can handle the dramatic scenes," Gordon said. "There were discussions with Eddie Murphy… Eddie Murphy is a great star, and I have no doubt he would be a great Richard Pryor. But Eddie Murphy is Eddie Murphy in the eyes of the audience. Marlon Wayans is a great actor and will be a great Richard Pryor, but he brings less baggage."

I always viewed casting Eddie Murphy in a Richard Pryor biopic would be like putting Chris Rock in an Eddie Murphy biopic, or Dave Chappelle in a Chris Rock biopic. Each were defining comedic voices of a decade, and it’s hard to view them as someone else because of that. Wayans on the other hand, is a relatively fresh face in this sense, and hopefully he can do Pryor proud in more than just a 10 minute audition.

Extra Tidbit: It's a challenging game to see just how long you can sit through WHITE CHICKS. My record is 38 minutes.
Source: LA Times

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