After seeing the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Show, I was reminded of what a soft, soft spot I have for Eddie Murphy. So it was gratifying to see that the SNL alumni will be starring in a new project. Even though it’s not a comedy, Murphy’s has a good track record of taking the rug out from under people with his non comedic roles. According to Empire, this particular role is in the upcoming Richard Pryor biopic from director Lee Daniels.
While director Bill Condon had concocted a Pryor project in the past – you might call it a prior Pryor project – with Murphy to play the comedian. However that is one of many takes on the idea, all of which have been swept under the rug – not the same rug that Murphy pulls out from under you – to make way for Daniels’ biopic. In this version, Murphy will play Richard Pryor’s dad, war veteran boxer Leroy “Buck Carter” Pryor. Pryor will be played by Mike Epps, who was picked by the real Pryor for the role of himself before he died. Pryor also wanted Walter Hill to direct, but the project has since been handed over to Daniels, who has previously worked on The Butler.
In a way, this choice of casting is more exciting than that of Bill Condon. While it would seem to make perfect sense for Murphy to play Richard Pryor, it could be a lot more gratifying to see him take in Pryor’s dad, and not be in the business of being a funny man playing a different funny man. It’ll be intriguing to see how Mike Epps takes on the role and how the two actors bounce off each other. There’s easily as much darkness as there is joy in Pryor’s story, so this is bound to be an eye opening biopic. It’s not clear at this point how big a role Leroy Pryor will play in the role, but a little Murphy is better than no Murphy at all!