July 5th, 2010
01:05 PM ET

Chris Rock and Adam Sandler to produce Richard Pryor biopic

Comic legend Richard Pryor has inspired legions of comedians and now he’s inspiring a big-screen movie.

Pryor’s life will be turned into a biopic produced by Chris Rock and Adam Sandler and starring Marlon Wayans. “Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said?” will tell Pryor’s story from his childhood at his grandmother’s Peoria, Illinois, brothel to his rise on the comedy scene to his struggle with drug addiction.

Eddie Murphy, who co-starred with the groundbreaking comedian in 1989’s “Harlem Nights,” was originally attached to the project, but reportedly passed because of “creative differences.” Meanwhile, Pryor, who died in 2005 at age 65, had selected “The Hangover” star Mike Epps as his personal choice. But Rock, 45, says it was “Scary Movie” and “G.I. Joe” funny guy Wayans who was born to play the role.

"Marlon Wayans, he did a screen test and it was just unbelievable," Rock told MTV News. "It's not just doing the comedy of Richard Pryor. He captures the vulnerability of Richard Pryor."

Bill Condon will direct the film – once he’s finished working on the two-part “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn” – and Sandler, 43, says shooting will begin “hopefully, soon. It’s all being worked on.”

In the meantime, Wayans, 37, is confident he will make Pryor proud. "You need to be lucky in life, but it's also what you do with your luck," he told the L.A. Times. "I'm ready."

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Filed under: movies

soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Jennifer Lee Pryor

    Looking for real Richard Pryor? copy and paste this link: http://www.32auctions.com/view_auction?id=richardpryor&pwd=4thedogs On-line Richard Pryor memorabilia auction. It's for the dogs!

    July 10, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jennifer Lee Pryor

    Adam Sandler's company is not producing this. Nor is CHris Rock going to produce, over my dead body!

    July 6, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chanel

    If Mr. Pryor wanted MikeEpps, that's who he should have gotten. Respect the man's wishes, Mike Epps is actually a hilarious comedian, IMO. He's silly and just as foul-mouthed as anyone could hope for.

    July 6, 2010 at 6:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer Lee Pryor

      Richard did not want Mike Epps.
      Jury is still out on who is playing RP!

      July 6, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Diane

    I'm trying to think positive, but Chris Rock attached to any movie makes me cringe, even though he is not the director or actor. Also, Richard Pryor played himself in JoJo Dancer, so nobody can top that. Just like when Will Smith acted in Ali. How can an actor be better than the actual person playing out his own life? Ali portrayed himself twice.

    July 5, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. lance corporal

    do it with reverence and care, rich is one of the avatars of our time

    July 5, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dennis

    He was awesome in "Requiem for a Dream" If that's not proof that he can handle drama, I don't know what is. (Interestingly, he played a drug addict in that one, too.)

    July 5, 2010 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Shelley K.

    I never really noticed b4, but Marlon Wayans is mighty FINE!!

    July 5, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bob

    first off rita you are exactly right. now, EVERYBODY hit your knees and thank the man upstairs that jamie foxx's name is not being mentioned. at least it will be less of a disaster than that would have been

    July 5, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. White panther

    Wh1tey –hatin Rock will find a way to make this all about race; the movie will be about RP overcoming the white man trying to hold him down, then go on to blame his drug use on wh1tey.

    July 5, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      You mean the way that "Everybody Hates Chris" was all about white people?
      Or maybe you mean his new movie where he co-stars with a bunch of white comedians?
      Or maybe you're referring to his stand-up which includes the line "I've never been mugged by the media." Clearly implying that crime is the white man's fault.
      Oh wait, it doesn't.

      July 5, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • foil

      You have Chris Rock confused with Dave Chappel.

      July 5, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      Chris Rock is like a real-life Uncle Ruckus.

      July 5, 2010 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bill

    The Wayans brothers need to do a "Men on Film" movie. I think it would be hilarious.

    July 5, 2010 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Don

    Marlon Wayans? Good God. Give me a break.

    July 5, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bob Bennett

    Why would anyone want to see a biopic or 're-creation' of any kind, when there are so many available videos & movies with RP himself available?? He was the REAL DEAL, why settle for 'copies'??
    Accept no imitations!!!
    His TV show was soooo good it was yanked after only a few episodes! ( it was that true and biting, and 'right on'!)
    RIP richard!!!

    July 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. creolemommie

    Jamie Foxx surprised people as Ray Charles... give him a chance... sure Mike Epps might have been Pryor's choice, but maybe he's not available, who knows the whole story... don't knock the movie until it's made... and yes... Marlon in Requieum is something to be seen indeed!!!! I'll check it out....

    July 5, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jeremy

    u suck

    July 5, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Scott

    Mike Epps looks more like Richard Pryor. I don't see Pryor at all in Marlon Wayans.

    July 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lindy

      Will Smith's high yellow complexion didn't have anything in common with the dark skin of of the real-life Christopher "Pursuit of Happyness" Gardner he played, but he still got an armload of award nominations including an Oscar nod. So what's your point? For that matter, Female American Linda Hunt won Best Supporting Actress Oscar for playing a Male Eurasian dwarf in "The Year of Living Dangerously". She wasn't even the GENDER of the character she played. Open your mind and close your mouth!

      July 5, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • MikeP

      A lot of that has to do with the fact that the general public had no idea what the real people looked like before going to see those movies. When there is no expectation it is certainly hard for it to be an issue. Look at all the hooplah over casting actors of the "wrong" race in roles (ie, cleopatra and prince of persia). Audiences care if they're aware of the discrepancy. Should they? That's a different question... but your retort in this case is not as applicable as you think since the average moviegoer knows exactly who Richard Pryor was, and what he looked like.

      July 6, 2010 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Shenel

      Jamie Foxx didn't look anything like Ray Charles and look what happened, Oscar, I don't see Mike Epps in this role because he is not believable to me in his past roles but I love him alot in all about the Benjamins, Friday movies and other's but he hasn't stretched himself like Marlon has and captured a broader audiance. Don't forget Marlon has been in this game a long time and has carved his way.

      July 6, 2010 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  16. JR

    It's a GOOD thing that Murphy isn't involved and a BAD thing that Sandler is.

    July 5, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  17. slippery pete

    I wonder if Sandler is gonna be playing Gene Wilder?

    July 5, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  18. swampfox

    It's a shame that adam sandler has anything to do with this. Anything he is connected with lately is a flop.........

    July 5, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Frank

    Mike Epps would be much better.

    July 5, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Rita

    A biographical movie about Richard Pryor has already been made; written by Richard Pryor himself and starring RICHARD PRYOR before he died! The movie was called JoJo Dancer and shows Pryor’s story from his childhood at his grandmother’s Peoria, Illinois, brothel to his rise on the comedy scene to his struggle with drug addiction. Any other rendition of Pryors life story CANNOT be as accurate as getting the story straight from the horse’s mouth, and is just people trying to make a buck off THEIR OWN interpretation of Pryors life.

    July 5, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • tdatrufe

      yup great movie, much like Tupac Resurrection, they can never top the story played by its real life character. What should we expect from this movie? Have you seen the Biggie Smalls movie lately? look for just as bad, soulless and devout of any good decision making heh http://www.reverbnation.com/tdatrufe

      July 5, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  21. sereion

    Perfect choice! I LOVE Marlon Wayans since the Wayans Brothers. He is clearly the funniest and most versatile of the family.

    July 5, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  22. NickB5

    Richard Pryor was one of the funniest comedians to ever take the stage, I hope these guy's do right by him.

    July 5, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  23. bgl

    Marlon Wayans may not seem like an obvious choice for the role, but if you get a chance watch him in Requiem For a Dream. He is quite good in that role and you forgive him for White Chicks. Do I see him as Richard Pryor? No, not really. But that is where acting, make-up, good writing, and good direction come in. I'm willing to give the film a chance. I hope that they do Pryor justice and portray him as he truly was warts and all.

    July 5, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Eric

    I don't know what's the focus of their subject, but for me and I believe fans of my era, you couldn't do a good Richard Pryor movie without an inspired choice for the Gene Wilder character. However, Marlon Wayan is a good start on the movie.

    July 5, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Marshall

    for the simple fact that pryor's personal choice was mike epps, i can't bring myself to be excited for marlon wayans doing the role. it's almost a slap in pryor's face.

    July 5, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Carlos

    I agree with kieran. Requiem for a Dream proves that Marlon Wayons has acting abilities that go well beyond his sitcom roles from which he has had more exposure.

    July 5, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  27. V Saxena

    Well done at getting this gig @ Marlon. He coming up in the world. Just keep it authentic n real, bruh!

    July 5, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  28. 2damnfunny

    I don't know about this.....Marlon Wayan as Richard Pryor?

    Can't take him seriously.

    The fact that Eddie Murphy and Paul Mooney are not involved is a big concern....they knew Richard well.

    July 5, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • kieran

      "Can't take him seriously" ???

      Maybe you should watch Marlon Wayans in "Requiem for a Dream" ... hopefully, that should change your view

      July 5, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • tdatrufe

      my thoughts exactly! I didn't know that Paul Mooney isnt attached to this either, here you have Adam Sandler and Chris Rock making a movie about Richard Pryor and the two men who were closer to Pryor and comic geniuses in their own right, don't wanna be part of the film lol troubling, Marlon Wayne s, slapstick funny, but to play Richard Pryor, what a stretch, i guess we gotta see it to believe it http://www.reverbnation.com/tdatrufe

      July 5, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • evoc

      Hah-ha! can't take him seriously! Very good.
      With Eddie Murphy out of it, it has a chance of succeeding. Marlon Wayans is extremely talented and very funny. I am concerned about Adam Sandler's involvement with the film. Adam and Eddie are the curse on a good idea, usually a sure road to a failed attempt.

      July 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Earle

    The funniest man ever, Rich... This movie will be a must-see, even for those who didn't know the man.

    July 5, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  30. MR LUCK

    Ill watch it

    July 5, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |

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