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Mike Epps is officially playing Richard Pryor in Lee Daniels' biopic

08.26.2014

A few weeks ago we told you that comedian Mike Epps was the frontrunner to take on the role of the legendary comic Richard Pryor. Now after beating out other hopefuls for the role including Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Marlon Wayans, and Michael B. Jordan, he has officially been given the role. The movie has been in the works for years but is now finally gaining momentum again. Lee Daniels (PRECIOUS, THE BUTLER) is set to direct the Epps, who you have probably seen in smaller roles in RESIDENT EVIL and THE HANGOVER movies. Daniels shared the news on Twitter last night along with Oprah Winfrey who perhaps is producing or just bad at photobombing.

UPDATE: TMZ reports that Oprah is going to be playing Pryor’s grandmother:

Oprah Winfrey’s been cast to play Richard Pryor’s grandmother — a cruel and abusive lady pimp — in the upcoming biopic directed by O’s pal Lee Daniels. Pryor’s widow, Jennifer, tells TMZ … Oprah got hold of the script, and was desperate to play Marie Carter — the woman who raised Pryor in her brothel in Peoria, Illinois … and who was known to beat him.

Epps shared the news on Twitter too; showing off the approval of Jennifer Lee, Richard Pryor’s widow.

This could be a major role for the comedian; and with The Weinstein Company involved, you can bet this movie will have an award season release. I’d love to see the screen test that apparently blew the makers of the movie away and landed him the role. Those are some big names to beat out and will no doubt bring on a lot of pressure and curiosity; good luck sir.

What do you think about the casting decision?

Source: EW

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3:09PM on 08/27/2014
Wow, they got the worst comedian of all time to play the greatest comedian of all time.
Wow, they got the worst comedian of all time to play the greatest comedian of all time.
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1:37PM on 08/27/2014
I'm sure it'll be a huge valiant attempt even if it isn't amazing. So the question then becomes: Is this a one-off for Epps? Does he play Pryor, kill it and then go back to stand up and small comedic supporting roles or does he become an A-Lister or at least attempt to transition into the A-List ala Jamie Foxx?
I'm sure it'll be a huge valiant attempt even if it isn't amazing. So the question then becomes: Is this a one-off for Epps? Does he play Pryor, kill it and then go back to stand up and small comedic supporting roles or does he become an A-Lister or at least attempt to transition into the A-List ala Jamie Foxx?
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7:45AM on 08/27/2014
Sink or swim moment for Mike Epps. It's also Lee Daniels so I'm not sure I care at all.
Sink or swim moment for Mike Epps. It's also Lee Daniels so I'm not sure I care at all.
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2:16AM on 08/27/2014

Looking forward to this.

Let's hope they don't whitewash Pryor's life like they did in the James Brown biopic. I prefer my biopics of the 'warts and all" variety. He wasn't a saint and shouldn't be portrayed as one. He was flawed, like most people, and that is just more interesting to see depicted on screen.
Let's hope they don't whitewash Pryor's life like they did in the James Brown biopic. I prefer my biopics of the 'warts and all" variety. He wasn't a saint and shouldn't be portrayed as one. He was flawed, like most people, and that is just more interesting to see depicted on screen.
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12:02AM on 08/27/2014
First of all he didn't "beat out" Eddie Murphy! Eddie Murphy was offered this role a long time ago, and he turned it down! (God only knows why) 2nd I guess epps is a better choice than Michael b Jordan, and marlon wayans. Chris rock doesn't even resemble Pryor as far as looks. This project should have died when Eddie turned it down! Just like the Queen bio pic should have been cremated when Barron Cohen left the project.
First of all he didn't "beat out" Eddie Murphy! Eddie Murphy was offered this role a long time ago, and he turned it down! (God only knows why) 2nd I guess epps is a better choice than Michael b Jordan, and marlon wayans. Chris rock doesn't even resemble Pryor as far as looks. This project should have died when Eddie turned it down! Just like the Queen bio pic should have been cremated when Barron Cohen left the project.
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11:31PM on 08/26/2014

It just got real!!!

If Lee Daniels is directing this...best believe its gonna be gritty and raw. Its Richard mtfkn Pryor..nothing about that man's life was fluff. Get On Up was a ripoff!...Im excited!
If Lee Daniels is directing this...best believe its gonna be gritty and raw. Its Richard mtfkn Pryor..nothing about that man's life was fluff. Get On Up was a ripoff!...Im excited!
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10:51PM on 08/26/2014

Love the Idea, worried for the execution

I don't think Epps will have a problem playing the comedian, however I think that this will go the way of GET ON UP (in that biopics tend to shy away from showing the dark aspects of the subject's lives.) I'm not the type to complain about ratings, but making a PG-13 biopic about James Brown legitimately got in the way of telling some aspects of his life. A PG-13 biopic about Pryor would be fucking impossible and the story would feel very incomplete without telling of his freebasing
I don't think Epps will have a problem playing the comedian, however I think that this will go the way of GET ON UP (in that biopics tend to shy away from showing the dark aspects of the subject's lives.) I'm not the type to complain about ratings, but making a PG-13 biopic about James Brown legitimately got in the way of telling some aspects of his life. A PG-13 biopic about Pryor would be fucking impossible and the story would feel very incomplete without telling of his freebasing cocaine/suicide attempt.
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10:50PM on 08/26/2014

Love the Idea, worried for the execution

I don't think Epps will have a problem playing the comedian, however I think that this will go the way of GET ON UP (in that biopics tend to shy away from showing the dark aspects of the subject's lives.) I'm not the type to complain about ratings, but making a PG-13 biopic about James Brown legitimately got in the way of telling some aspects of his life. A PG-13 biopic about Pryor would be fucking impossible and the story would feel very incomplete without telling of his freebasing
I don't think Epps will have a problem playing the comedian, however I think that this will go the way of GET ON UP (in that biopics tend to shy away from showing the dark aspects of the subject's lives.) I'm not the type to complain about ratings, but making a PG-13 biopic about James Brown legitimately got in the way of telling some aspects of his life. A PG-13 biopic about Pryor would be fucking impossible and the story would feel very incomplete without telling of his freebasing cocaine/suicide attempt.
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10:50PM on 08/26/2014

Love the Idea, worried for the execution

I don't think Epps will have a problem playing the comedian, however I think that this will go the way of GET ON UP (in that biopics tend to shy away from showing the dark aspects of the subject's lives.) I'm not the type to complain about ratings, but making a PG-13 biopic about James Brown legitimately got in the way of telling some aspects of his life. A PG-13 biopic about Pryor would be fucking impossible and the story would feel very incomplete without telling of his freebasing
I don't think Epps will have a problem playing the comedian, however I think that this will go the way of GET ON UP (in that biopics tend to shy away from showing the dark aspects of the subject's lives.) I'm not the type to complain about ratings, but making a PG-13 biopic about James Brown legitimately got in the way of telling some aspects of his life. A PG-13 biopic about Pryor would be fucking impossible and the story would feel very incomplete without telling of his freebasing cocaine/suicide attempt.
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10:46PM on 08/26/2014
This should've been Eddie Murphy.... And FUCK OPRAH! Fat racist bitch!
This should've been Eddie Murphy.... And FUCK OPRAH! Fat racist bitch!
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10:26AM on 08/27/2014
How could Eddie have done it, he looks nothing like Pryor...
How could Eddie have done it, he looks nothing like Pryor...
10:42PM on 08/26/2014
At least it isn't Marlon Wayans.
At least it isn't Marlon Wayans.
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10:22PM on 08/26/2014
Pryor's widow is a witch from my understanding. I used to work with Richard Jr. and she kept him isolated from him in his later years. Richard Jr. Is an awesome guy and looks just like his dad, and is an amazing singer. I hope they involve him in some way....but if the widow is involved (not his mom) I doubt it.
Pryor's widow is a witch from my understanding. I used to work with Richard Jr. and she kept him isolated from him in his later years. Richard Jr. Is an awesome guy and looks just like his dad, and is an amazing singer. I hope they involve him in some way....but if the widow is involved (not his mom) I doubt it.
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8:38PM on 08/26/2014

Can't wait for Lee Daniels' movie about Oprah

I know that she can insane money and connections but why is Oprah putting her name on everything all of a sudden. She was absolutely mediocre in Lee Daniels' The Butler and yet people were clamoring for an Oscar nomination. Now this?! I can't really get excited about this since you know they are going to spend way too much time on Oprah's character and not enough on the man himself.
I know that she can insane money and connections but why is Oprah putting her name on everything all of a sudden. She was absolutely mediocre in Lee Daniels' The Butler and yet people were clamoring for an Oscar nomination. Now this?! I can't really get excited about this since you know they are going to spend way too much time on Oprah's character and not enough on the man himself.
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8:36PM on 08/26/2014

Epps wouldnt be my choice...but who knows.

This is what happens when a biopic take a long time to happen..you get a whole list of really great potential actors...who either turn it down, scheduling conflicts, etc..then you wait a few more years..and role is always given to someone newly put on the list of actors to play the part and he or she isnt nearly as worthy to play the role as the other potentials mentioned since the official idea of the project....aghh!
This is what happens when a biopic take a long time to happen..you get a whole list of really great potential actors...who either turn it down, scheduling conflicts, etc..then you wait a few more years..and role is always given to someone newly put on the list of actors to play the part and he or she isnt nearly as worthy to play the role as the other potentials mentioned since the official idea of the project....aghh!
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7:38PM on 08/26/2014

It must have been some audition

Hopefully the rest of this movie matches Mike Epps' performance, if he's that good.
Hopefully the rest of this movie matches Mike Epps' performance, if he's that good.
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+0
7:34PM on 08/26/2014

Dig It!

I love Mike Epps. I think he's got what it takes to tackle this huge role.
I love Mike Epps. I think he's got what it takes to tackle this huge role.
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7:29PM on 08/26/2014

Not Happy...

I just don't think he has the acting chops to pull this off (well)...

I'm sure his heart will be in the right place and he's gonna take this seriously, but I just think there's quite a few other actors that are better equip to handle this roll...

I really wanted to see Marlon Wayans get the roll...
I just don't think he has the acting chops to pull this off (well)...

I'm sure his heart will be in the right place and he's gonna take this seriously, but I just think there's quite a few other actors that are better equip to handle this roll...

I really wanted to see Marlon Wayans get the roll...
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7:55PM on 08/26/2014
Oh yeah because besides maybe Requiem For A Dream Marlon really has proved he's got the chops for this.
Oh yeah because besides maybe Requiem For A Dream Marlon really has proved he's got the chops for this.
9:37PM on 08/26/2014
@ihrtnj

riiiiight, because Mike Epps has done so many Oscar-calibur roles. He was mesmerizing as Black Doug in The Hangover...

Pryor's kids have already slammed this movie as being nothing more than a vanity project for Jennifer Pryor. They also wanted Marlon Wayans for the part.
@ihrtnj

riiiiight, because Mike Epps has done so many Oscar-calibur roles. He was mesmerizing as Black Doug in The Hangover...

Pryor's kids have already slammed this movie as being nothing more than a vanity project for Jennifer Pryor. They also wanted Marlon Wayans for the part.
2:50AM on 08/27/2014
Well if his real family wanted Marlon I can side with that. But is there proof or is that just a rumor?
Well if his real family wanted Marlon I can side with that. But is there proof or is that just a rumor?
8:22AM on 08/27/2014
Just bc Marlon Wayans has made manly, or only, shitty movies since Requiem, doesn't mean he isn't capable of another good performance. Someone finally took a risk. He's similar to Sandler. They make shitty easy typecast movies, and granted Sandler has done more, but do you doubt that Sandler can do another serious role well? Wayans has just been lazy, collecting pay checks. Besides, how many black leads are there? And he isn't going to fit The Falcon (who isn't the lead) or 12 Years A
Just bc Marlon Wayans has made manly, or only, shitty movies since Requiem, doesn't mean he isn't capable of another good performance. Someone finally took a risk. He's similar to Sandler. They make shitty easy typecast movies, and granted Sandler has done more, but do you doubt that Sandler can do another serious role well? Wayans has just been lazy, collecting pay checks. Besides, how many black leads are there? And he isn't going to fit The Falcon (who isn't the lead) or 12 Years A Slave bc I just don't think they'd take that risk for that type of film. It's been a mixture both, but just because he hasn't in awhile, doesn't mean he can't. That argument makes no sense
3:37PM on 08/27/2014
@bealzf: but that's also kind of my argument for Mike Epps. Who's to say he can't pull this off?
@bealzf: but that's also kind of my argument for Mike Epps. Who's to say he can't pull this off?
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