(NSFW) Back in 2010, Marlon Wayans was going to play Richard Pryor in a biopic that would've been produced by Chris Rock, and directed by Bill Condon (Chicago). But studios passed on the Rock version.
Five years later, Mike Epps has been hired to play the late, great comic, Oprah Winfrey is set to play his grandma, Kate Hudson will play Pryor's wife and widow, and Lee Daniels (TV's Empire, Precious) will direct. But just as the new team is ramping up production, the audition tape that blew Rock away has landed online.
According to Shadow & Act, the film's new director, Daniels said that he was blown away by Wayans' audition, but that he, his producers, The Weinstein Company, were just as taken by Epps' performance. The Weinstein Company, which had one of their least heralded Oscar nights ever, is eyeing this for a potential late 2015 Oscar film. Daniels does work really fast—he turned around The Butler (sorry, Lee Daniels' The Butler) for The Weinstein Company in less than a year. And hell, after doing TV, he might even work faster—but having a Pryor biopic by the end of this year sounds like wishful thinking. Especially since Daniels has a few projects to choose from, and this one is only ahead by The Weinstein dangling carrot.
File the Wayans-Rock-Condon film into a bin of: what could've been. By the time Daniels' film wraps, Epps will have played Pryor twice. He's also completed a supporting role as Pryor in a Nina Simone biopic that (controversially) stars Zoe Saldana.
Obviously, Wayans' audition for Pryor is (NSFW). There's a lot of talking about crack, sobbing, and cussing. The first half is supposedly from Condon's script, which Daniels is still using, although he did a bit of re-write, according to Jennifer Pryor.
Speaking of Jennifer Pryor, she recently did a 90-minute podcast interview about the casting of Epps, and other movie check-ins, which you can checkout here.
[via Shadow and Act]