Oprah Winfrey To Play Richard Pryor's Grandmother In Lee Daniels' Biopic!

Comedy News

OprahAn addendum to yesterday’s announcement that Mike Epps has indeed beat out the competition to win the starring role in Lee Daniels’ Richard Pryor biopic…

ET has exclusively confirmed that Oprah Winfrey will play Richard Pryor’s grandmother in the film.

You’ll recall that Oprah shared the news of Epps’ casting on her Instagram page yesterday, and hinted at her involvement in the film as well – although we weren’t certain whether her role would see her in front of, or behind the camera, or both, as she’s done recently on films like “Selma.”

Winfrey will play Marie Carter, Pryor’s grandmother, with whom he had a notoriously complicated relationship with. She ran a brothel, and was quite the dominant matriarch whom Pryor – who grew up in her house, after his mother left – both loved and feared.

As an aside, a few years ago, it was rumored that Oprah Winfrey would play Mama Nadi, the shrewd madame whose bar also functions as a brothel in a film adaptation of Lynn Nottage’s acclaimed play “Ruined.” In 2010, Nottage’s 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama was reportedly heading to the small screen, produced by HBO Films and Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions. No word on whether that’s still in development.

But back to Richard Pryor…

Mike Epps is said to have blown director Lee Daniels and producers (The Weinstein Company) away with his audition.

Nick Cannon, as well as Michael B. Jordan and Marlon Wayans (who was attached to star in the project before it changed producer hands), were also in contention for the part under Daniels’ direction.

Also, Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway were said to both be in the running to play Jennifer Lee Pryor in the film.

I should note that Mike Epps actually plays Richard Pryor in Cynthia Mort’s still-unreleased Nina Simone film that Zoe Saldana stars in.

It’s also worth noting that, Richard Pryor’s son has threatened legal action in a move to block production on Daniels’ in-development film about the legendary comic. Lawyers representing Richard Pryor, Jr. have reportedly sent a cease and desist letter to Pryor’s (the father’s) widow, Jennifer Lee Pryor, who is involved in the making of the film. The letter, obtained by TMZ, insists that all work on the project stop, accusing Jennifer Lee of using “illegal, fraudulent” activity to obtain the rights to her husband’s story. Pryor Jr. is also reportedly threatening to take legal action, if the biopic does moves forward.

No comment yet from Jennifer Lee nor Lee Daniels in response to the son’s statements, but, clearly, with The Weinstein Company attached, I’d say it’s moving forward, with Mike Epps in the staring role, Oprah as his grandmother, Lee Daniels directing, and whoever else is involved at this point that we aren’t aware of.

A rather gutsy choice by Daniels and company, this could be the dramatic catalyst that Epps needs to encourage producers to see him as more than a comedian/comedic actor.

Might we be calling him Oscar nominee Mike Epps in a couple of years?

Source: Shadow & Act

About author / Humor Mill

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About US

The Humor Mill Magazine is a on line digital magazine, website and TV show that’s about the Urban Comic & Urban Hollywood for the general audience. Its for comedians/actors who are looking for that outlet to be seen, and its also about the under-served Urban Hollywood scene. The Humor Mill Magazine features comedy, music and movie news, while we also discuss some important issues. We also feature comics who have been on the scene for a while but haven’t quite become a household name yet. We also feature articles on Hollywood actors who we see all the time but just don’t know their name yet. All that, plus what’s going down for the week in the latest issue, The Humor Mill covers it all as it keeps you IN THE KNOW!


%d bloggers like this: