Eddie Murphy to Play Marion Barry in Spike Lee Joint

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 26: Comedian Eddie Murphy speaks onstage at The First Annual Comedy Awards at Hammerstein Ballroom on March 26, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Eddie Murphy Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/2011 Getty Images

In order to get the biopic treatment, one must be (a) at least a little famous, and (b) either flawed beyond hope, or flawed but redeemable (and therefore inspirational). Marion Barry, the former D.C. mayor who was caught smoking crack in a hotel room full of prostitutes, is neither fatally flawed nor totally redeemed, but that's what gives his biopic, currently in development at HBO Films, so much potential. What makes the project even more intriguing is that Spike Lee is signed on to direct with Eddie Murphy to star, giving the two their first, long-overdue collaboration.  How they, along with writer John Ridley, will portray Barry is anyone's guess; he could be a patsy, a criminal, an earnest public servant, or, potentially, all of the above.