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Paramount Network announces plans for a Richard Pryor documentary

It's been announced today that the Paramount Network is prepping a new documentary focusing on the life and times of the late and legendary comedian Richard Pryor. According to Variety, who exclusively broke the news on Friday, the film is set to be titled I AM RICHARD PRYOR, and will tell the story of how the confessional jokester rose from his impoverished childhood, while growing up in a brothel run by his grandmother, to become the highest-paid performer in the entertainment industry. While many basked in the brilliance of Pryor's biting stand-up routines, and admired his ability to address sensitive social issues with good humor, others also reveled in his delightful on-screen presence in films like SILVER STREAK, SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL, and THE MACK.

Executive producing I AM RICHARD PRYOR will be the late comic's wife, Jennifer Lee Pryor. Meanwhile, the film will be financed by filmmaker Derik Murray’s Network Entertainment, as a part of the studio's "I Am" series. In the past, the "I Am" series has presented audiences with documentaries related to the lives of Hollywood memorables such as Paul Walker, Heath Ledger, and Steve McQueen. Furthermore, Jesse James Miller will direct, with Paul Gertz and Kent Wingerak each coming aboard as executive producers alongside Paramount Network’s Jon Slusser and Jaimee Kosanke.

Joining the Paramount Network for I AM PRYOR is a raft of celebrities who've come to share their thoughts as to how Pryor's unique energy had brought joy to their lives throughout the years. When the documentary arrives, you can expect to see the likes of Lily Tomlin, Tiffany Haddish, Michael Epps, Howie Mandel, Sandra Bernhard, and Jimmie Walker in attendance to share their personal stories. In addition to interviews with comedians, filmmakers, writers and collaborators, I AM PRYOR will also include footage from Pryor's stand-up routines, as well as clips and sketches featuring the late comedic icon.

“From very humble beginnings, my husband lifted himself up and propelled himself through an iconic comedy career during America’s rockiest years, tackling racism, transcending boundaries, finding himself and inspiring many,” said Jennifer Lee Pryor in a statement. “I am confident that Network Entertainment will produce an outstanding film about my husband that does him justice both as a cultural icon and as a man.”

When speaking about the opportunity to add Pryor's story to their "I Am" series, Murray stated that “We are excited that Jennifer Pryor has entrusted us to tell Richard’s incredible yet complicated story.” He then added, “We are honored to showcase Richard’s genius while delving deeper into the man whose work established him as one of comedy’s most beloved and courageous icons.”

Source: Variety

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