One man’s trash is another man’s gold. Last year, Eddie Murphy bailed on the Richard Pryor biopic. Allegedly, his reason for dropping the project was due to conflicts with Paramount Pictures. While it has been well known that comedian Marlon Wayans was in the running for the role, word was just released yesterday that Wayans will officially play the greatest comedian to have ever lived — Richard Pryor. However, from the start, 37 year-old Marlon has got some criticism from fans of Pryor — can a man who starred in movies like White Chicks and Scary Movie really be effective as a complex person like Pryor? Wayans told the LA Times:
“Look, I want to be able to make the stupidest movies ever, because they make people laugh and they make money,” Wayans recently said with a smirk. “But that’s not all I want to do. And I think I’ve proven to some people — the ones paying attention — that I can do more. Everybody else, well, they can wait and see and make up their mind.”
Bill Condon, who was the director of Dreamgirls, wrote the script and is the director. For the director and actor, Pryor is a huge project. He had four wives, a severe drug addiction, set himself on fire when freebasing crack cocaine, but, most importantly, reinvented the title of comedian. In 2005, Pryor died at 65 after a heart attack and a battle with multiple sclerosis.
Pryor was revolutionary, groundbreaking and found a way to make race funny to Black and White audiences. In 1986, Pryor released the film loosely based on his life, Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling. The film was a box office and critical disaster. Condon’s biopic, titled Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said?, is said to be a more realistic take on the comedian’s life. The film is set to start shooting in the fall.