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Eddie Murphy in Talks to Play Richard Pryor’s Father in Lee Daniels’ Biopic

Eddie Murphy in Talks to Play Richard Pryor's Father in Lee Daniels' Biopic

Eddie Murphy is in talks to join Mike Epps, Oprah Winfrey and Kate Hudson in the Richard Pryor biopic that Lee Daniels is directing for The Weinstein Co.

Murphy will play Richard Pryor’s father, LeRoy Pryor, while the previously cast Winfrey will play Marie Carter, Pryor’s grandmother, and Hudson as Jennifer Lee Pryor, Richard Pryor’s 4th wife.

Entertainment Tonight first reported the news of Murphy’s casting.

I should note that Mike Epps actually plays Richard Pryor in Cynthia Mort’s still-unreleased Nina Simone film that Zoe Saldana stars in.

A rather gutsy choice by Daniels and company, this could be the dramatic catalyst that Epps needs to encourage producers to see him as more than a comedian/comedic actor.

Might we be calling him Oscar nominee Mike Epps next year?

It feels like it’s been a long time since we last saw Eddie Murphy on the big screen doesn’t it? I’m sure he’s comfortable financially, and isn’t exactly pressed to make new money by taking on almost every project that’s offered to him. So when Murphy does attach himself to a project, it immediately gets my attention. The last time we saw him on the big screen was in “Tower Heist” in 2011, almost 4 years ago. Although there was that terrible “A Thousand Words” which sat in limbo for years after it was made, until DreamWorks finally released it in early 2012 (although it was made years before “Tower heist”) to overwhelmingly negative reviews and weak box office. 

Up next for the actor/comedian/musician, he took over for Samuel L. Jackson in a dramedy titled “Cook,” which tells the story of the friendship between a young white girl and her dying mother, and their African American cook, in New Orleans. Bruce Beresford (who directed previous Oscar winner, “Driving Miss Daisy”), is directing “Cook” from a script penned by Susan McMartin. The film is based on McMartin’s own real-life story. You can read the shortened story which inspired the film here

And just like Epps, might Oscar be calling Eddie for this performance in “Cook” or even in a supporting role as Richard Pryor’s father in Lee Daniels’ film? “Cook” sounds like it has all the trappings of an Oscar bait film. It doesn’t have a release date yet, but the Warner Bros. picture is currently in post-production and will most likely see a late 2015 premiere. 

Here’s a photo Lee Daniels shared on Instagram yesterday:


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