One of the greatest and most influential stand-up comedians of all time will be the next legend to be immortalized with a big-screen biopic. As first reported by Deadline, MGM Studios have claimed the rights to a highly sought-after movie on iconic comedian Richard Pryor.
Black-ish creator Kenya Barris boards the film to pen its screenplay. Barris will also make his directorial debut as he steps up to helm the anticipated biopic. Moreover, Barris will produce the picture via his Khalabo Ink Society banner. Additionally, Pryor’s spouse Jennifer Lee Pryor will produce the film alongside Tory Metzger (Arrival) and Adam Rosenberg (The Founder).
Per the initial report, the project has been in various stages of development for years now. In 2016, when The Weinstein Company teamed with director Lee Daniels on a script by Bill Condon and Danny Strong. The film was set to star Mike Epps as Pryor with Oprah Winfrey playing his grandmother. However, the film never came to fruition. At this time, the Barris-led film touts no casting confirmations.
In a statement accompanying the announcement, Barris expresses his excitement to tell’s Pryor’s story.
“The way Pryor did what he did. Tith truth and specificity that was somehow self-aware and self-deprecating, and said with an unmatched level of vulnerability, That was the power and impact of his work,” said Barris. “Pryor had a voice that was distinctly his and, in many ways, comedy since then has been derivative of what he created. To me, this is a film about that voice, the journey that shaped it, and what it took for it to come to be.”
Pryor’s body of work includes the concert movies and recordings like 1971’s Richard Pryor: Live & Smokin’ and 1983’s Richard Pryor: Here and Now. The versatile performer was truly ahead of his time and reached a broad audience with his truant observations and storytelling style. As an actor, he appeared in comedies like Silver Streak while dabbling in the drama and action genres with Superman III and Blue Collar. Additionally, Pryor is a touts multiple Emmy and Grammy award wins with Rolling Stone ranking him first on its list of the best stand-up comics of all time in 2017.
Meanwhile, Kenya Barris continues to add to his already impressive filmography. The filmmaker’s Netflix series, BlackAF, was met with rave reviews from fans and critics alike. The Coming 2 America writer also co-penned the script for HBO Max‘s recent film The Witches. Up next, Barris will develop the Black-ish spinoff, Old-ish, starring Laurence Fishburne.
What do you think? Are you excited to see Richard Pryor’s biographical movie? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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