Comedian Mike Epps has had his sights set on portraying legendary funnyman Richard Pryor for more than a decade. Yet, even with fan support, Epps’ dream has yet to be realized.
“I went down a long road with that project man, you know,” Epps said while speaking with rapper Jeezy on “Worth a Conversation.” He added, “It’s been a rollercoaster, man.”
In 2015, Epps sat down with Larry King to discuss the possibility of playing the comedic icon. At the time, Lee Daniels was set to direct the film with Oprah Winfrey playing Pryor’s grandmother. “I’m so honored to even be considered or chosen to play the greatest of all time,” the “Next Friday” star said at the time.
By September 2018, Epps had his fans chomping at the bit when he shaved his goatee and mustache, revealing an uncanny resemblance to Pryor.
“ I can see you playing Richard Pryor you are the only 1 I can really see pulling that off.”
“Dammm mike perfect match”
“Would kill that role for sure!!!”
The foul-mouthed comedian rose to stardom in the ’70s and ’80s with his successful stand-up career and films like “Stir Crazy.” He captivated audiences with his take on racism and tales of his wildlife experiences, such as lighting himself on fire while freebasing in 1980.
Throughout the ’90s, he suffered from multiple sclerosis, but remained captivating even as his muscles deteriorated. He died at the age of 65 from a heart attack in December 2005.
But even with audiences sold on Epps’ ability to star in a film narrating the late comedian’s life, it seems, now more than ever, that it may never become a reality. “To this day his wife is still making announcements about people doing the Richard Pryor story,” Epps said during the May 6 interview.
The latest being ‘Black-ish’ creator Kenya Barris to serve as director.
Epps cited back and forth fighting between Pryor’s seven children and his widow Jennifer Lee Pryor as part of the challenges in bringing a biopic to fruition. “Nobody understood that it wasn’t just me doing Richard Pryor; it was walking into an estate that was confused,” he said. Even now, Epps believes Pryor is posthumously pulling the strings on his life story by keeping it from being made with ease.
“He loved for people to fight over him.”