According to Deadline, Mike Epps has been chosen as one of the actors in the lead to portray the late comedian Richard Pryor in an upcoming biopic. The Next Friday actor reportedly blew everyone away at his audition and became a front-runner ahead of actors Nick Cannon, Marlon Wayans and Michael B. Jordan, who also auditioned for the role.
Epps was actually chosen to portray Pryor back in 2005 when he was alive and involved in the process. The film was to be produced through his company, Indigo Productions, but it didn’t happen.
“I met Richard and felt like I was in Oz the whole time,” Epps said when he was first chosen. “It’s hard to describe what he means to me or any stand-up comic. You could say he’s paid the dues for everything we do up there.”
Sources informed Deadline that Epps has not been officially chosen yet and that Wayans and Jordan have not been ruled out. Insiders reported that Jordan’s test was strong but he may a bit too young to play Pryor in his later years.
There had been other attempts to get Pryor’s life on the big screen but those deals fell through. Marlon and Damon Wayans had been chosen in the last two separate versions of Pryor’s biopic but production never began.
This incarnation of the film will be directed by Lee Daniels, who also directed The Butler.
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