Lee Daniels may become the director of the Richard Pryor biopic, adding to his full slate of projects if a deal is struck.
According to the Hollywood reporter:
“The director is in negotiations to tackle an untitled Richard Pryor biopic as his follow-up to The Butler. The Weinstein Company, which produced and distributed Daniels’ surprise hit about a White House butler, will fully finance the Richard Pryor project.”
Michael B. Jordan, Marlon Wayans and Eddie Murphy are among the actors on the short list to play Pryor in the film, which has been in the works for years with several actors under consideration for the lead role, including Wayans and Murphy.
THR says, “Wayans, who at 41 years old is considered to be the right age for the project and whose screen test is said to have wowed Harvey Weinstein. However, Jordan may have emerged as the frontrunner after making a name for himself starring in The Weinstein Company’s sleeper hit, “Fruitvale Station.” His age may be an issue, though, because the 26-year-old would have to be aged with makeup for the role, much of which covers Pryor when he was in his 30s.
The project is being made with input from Pryor’s widow, Jennifer Lee Pryor, who provided more than 50 pages of Pryor’s personal journals, offering a glimpse into his brilliant but dark mind. She is also listed as a producer of the film
Actors Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, and Forrest Whitaker were previously named as producers of the film, but it’s not clear whether they are still involved.
Daniels and The Weinstein Company recently worked together on “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” which was originally titled “The Butler.” The name of the film was changed after a controversial legal battle between Weinstein and Warner Bros. Despite, or perhaps boosted by, the controversy, Daniels’ period drama grossed $167 million globally.