Well, it looks like comedian Mike Epps will play as Richard Pryor on the big screen after all; just not like we had hoped he would. As you may recall, Epps’ name was thrown around for years as the comedian who would portray Pryor in the big screen adaptation of his life, but after some many missteps, casting changes, and directorial changes, that all fell through.
Its being reported that a new film there is a new Nina Simone film coming to the big screen, and Epps was cast as Pryor in the film. It’s not a Richard Pryor film, but it will have a strong presence of him in it.
Anyway, here is the exclusive that the Hollywood Reporter got (and that we weren’t allowed to say anything about until they dropped it 🙂 )
Mike Epps will play Richard Pryor in Nina, the Nina Simone biopic starring Zoe Saldana.
In a supporting role, Epps will play Pryor, who opened for the singer when they two were starting out in the early 1960s. Pryor had terrible stage fright and Simone, in her autobiography, recalled how she regularly rocked him into calmness.
Mark Burton, Barnaby Thompson, Stuart Parr and Ben Latham Jones are producing the movie, which starts shooting this week in Los Angeles. Ealing Studios is behind the movie and handling foreign sales.
Epps is coming off a lead role in Sparkle, Screen Gems’ musical that proved to be Whitney Houston’s last movie, and recently wrapped a gig in Warners’ tentpole comedy The Hangover Part III. He has the thriller Vipaka, with Forest Whitaker and Anthony Mackie, in the can.
Epps is repped by ICM Partners, manager Niles Kirschner and Morris Yorn.