While Harvey Weinstein is generally known as Mr. Oscar, this year he had a relatively quiet time at the awards ceremony, with The Weinstein Company walking away with just two trophies. But Harvey is a man with a plan, and he already has a lot of potential contenders on his plate for next year, including “Macbeth” with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, Quentin Tarantino‘s “The Hateful Eight,” and “Lion” with Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel. And never one to have a couple more options at his disposal, he’s apparently eyeing Lee Daniels‘ Richard Pryor biopic for the awards season.
The news comes from Pryor’s widow Jennifer Lee, who recently stopped by the “Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend” podcast (via FilmDrunk) and provided an update on the status of the Lee Daniels directed picture about the late comedian. Mike Epps is in the lead role, with Kate Hudson as Jennifer Pryor, and Oprah Winfrey “so far” attached as Pryor’s grandmother, with Daniels putting the final touches on Bill Condon‘s script. Production will start in July, and we could be seeing it by the end of the year. “Harvey [Weinstein] would like it to be released for the Oscars. Because, you know, Harvey is good at that shit,” Jennifer Lee Pryor said when asked about a release date. It’s a tight timeline, but not an impossible one, and certainly if the dailies start looking hot, Harvey will want it sooner rather than later. Though, he could also hold it for 2017 if he feels it might play better there or if he’s got too many good options for 2016 on his hands.
But this is also a project that has been brewing forever with folks like Eddie Murphy and Nick Cannon tossed around as potential leads at various times. One iteration would’ve seen Bill Condon directing with Marlon Wayans as Pryor and Shadow & Act has dug the comic actor’s nearly 8-minute long audition tape. The first half is reportedly written and directed by Condon, with the latter comprising of a monologue. It’s intriguing stuff. Bear in mind, this is an audition and obviously make-up and whatnot is a bit cruder than what it would be in the finished film, but it’s interesting to see how Wayans would’ve portrayed Pryor.
Check it out below along with the full podcast featuring Jennifer Lee Pryor, which includes a lot about the drama of casting Epps in the lead role of Daniels movie.