The Untitled Richard Pryor biopic is one of the more anticipated biopics releasing in the next few years. Simply put, Richard Pryor is one of the all-time comedic greats. He was before my time, but I remember watching his movies alongside my parents.
I’ve been following the development of this picture ever since it was green lit. Lee Daniels (Precious) signed on back in 2013 to direct, and he assisted in putting together a very inspiring cast. It started with Mike Epps (Next Friday) winning the lead role as Pryor, and and soon after assembled a strong supporting cast that includes Oprah Winfrey (as Pryor’s grandmother), Kate Hudson (as Pryor’s wife), Eddie Murphy (as Pryor’s father). Everything seemed good to go, with production set to begin this October. That is until the picture lost its biggest piece yesterday in its director.
Sources from The Hollywood Reporter state that Lee Daniels wanted to delay the picture once again, and The Weinstein Company refused to wait until his schedule cleared up. Daniels is currently busy running his hit TV show Empire, while also developing another series called Star. The scheduling conflicts forced Daniels to drop out of the project.
As a fan of Daniels, this is certainly disappointing news. A biopic of this magnitude deserves an Oscar caliber director like him. I’m a bit disappointed that he wouldn’t clear his own schedule to commit to this project. I understand you want to develop shows that you’re passionate about, but we’re talking about a Richard Pryor biopic here. The significance behind the story of a comedic legend ascends a TV show.
The Weinstein Company will be searching fast for a replacement director, if they want to make their October start date. A few potential directors that come to mind include Ava Duvernay, Ryan Coogler (who begins production on Black Panther sometime next year), F. Gary Gray, and possibly Nate Parker. Who would you like to see direct this biopic?