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May 2005
Mike Epps News

Mike Epps news
Richard Pryor Rides Again
As he produces his own biopic

SourceEmpire Online
17 May 2005

Trailblazing funny man Richard Pryor is about to become the subject of a new, as-yet untitled biopic, directed by one of his old collaborators. The man himself is to be played by fellow stand up comic Mike Epps (Next Friday, Resident Evil: Apocalypse) in a film that attempts to sum up the manic genius of Pryor's long career.

Pryor’s life is one that could have been waiting to get on to the big screen. >From starting out his act as an imitation of Bill Cosby, clean cut and cheerful; to playing to sell-out venues with acts full of disillusioned street talk, Pryor revolutionised comedy and paved a way for later comics like Mike Epps, Chris Rock and the whole of Def Comedy Jam (but don't blame him). His wisecracking style proved so popular Pryor became the first African American to play to mixed audiences.

He famously received 3rd degree burns all over his body in the mid 80’s while apparently freebasing, and his career declined as drugs and drink took their toll. In the early 90’s he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, effectively ending his career as his performances were very physical.

Epps, who is next due in the less glamorous role of a sewer worker opposite Cedric The Entertainer in The Honeymooners said of his idol, “It's hard to describe what he means to me or any stand up comic. You could say he’s paid the dues for everything we do up there."

The inspiration for all of the top African American comics working today, his fans are vociferous in their praise of Pryor and in acknowledging their debt to him, and a biopic of some sort has been in the works for some time.

Epps was personally chosen for the role by Pryor, who wanted a stand-up comic but not an established star. His wife Jennifer said, ""Richard and I saw Mike's standup, and there is a dangerous edge, a Richard-esque quality about him."

Walter Hill, who directed Pryor in Brewster’s Millions, one of Pryor's biggest cinema successes, will direct the Caleb Kane script – but there's no word on whether he'll play himself in the film.

Pryor and his wife Jennifer will be acting as producers, and if we're lucky we’ll see a fitting tribute to the comedy legend, something every bit as funny and shocking as Pryor's comedy was. We'll keep you up to date as we learn more.



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