Brow Beat

Eddie Murphy and Oprah Join the Cast of Lee Daniels’ Richard Pryor Biopic

Director Lee Daniels at the 82nd Academy Awards Nominee Luncheon on February 15, 2010.  

Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

Director Lee Daniels has been working for some time now on a Richard Pryor biopic, and Deadline reports that he’s finally gotten the green light from producer Harvey Weinstein. The film has a script by Bill Condon and Daniels’ Empire collaborator Danny Strong, but the real news here is the cast: stand-up comic Mike Epps as Pryor, Eddie Murphy as Pryor’s father, and none other than Oprah Winfrey as Pryor’s grandmother, Marie Carter, who ran the brothel in which he grew up.


Epps’ casting isn’t unexpected—before his death in 2005, Pryor himself earmarked the actor for the role— but he’s had to survive Daniels’ torturous audition process and competition from Marlon Wayans and Michael B. Jordan before locking up the part. Murphy and Winfrey’s involvement has also been hinted at, but their official casting figures to give a star-studded scope to the story of Pryor’s rise from an abusive childhood to international fame.

Lastly, Kate Hudson has been cast as Pryor’s fourth wife, Jennifer Lee Pryor, who is deeply involved with the movie as a producer. The film will start production in March, after Daniels wraps Empire’s second season.