It was announced in February that Murphy would star in a film about Richard Pryor’s life. But now it appears that Murphy has dropped out of the Pryor biopic. The movie, called “Richard Pryor: Is it Something I Said,” will be written and directed by Bill Condon. Condon was also behind “Dreamgirls,” the 2006 musical that earned Murphy his only Oscar nomination. According to the report, Murphy left over conflicts with the project’s original studio, Paramount Pictures.
More surprising is the identity of the star who is stepping into the role of Pryor: Marlon Wayans. Best known for the “Scary Movie” franchise, Wayans had a big action hit this summer with “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.” But he has also given a few acclaimed dramatic performances, most notably as a heroin addict in “Requiem for a Dream.”
According to reports, Wayans filmed a 13-minute screen test where he “transforms into Pryor” that secured the role for him.
While the movie will obviously have its share of comedy it will also tell the dramatic story of the comic’s battles with drug addiction. There is no word yet if it goes into Pryor’s later years when he was confined to a wheelchair due to multiple sclerosis. The film is set to begin shooting in the spring.