Forest Whitaker has signed on as a producer, taking over development of the biopic of influential stand-up Richard Pryor, Deadline reports. A movie about Pryor’s life has been in development since 1995, with everyone from Damon Wayans to Eddie Griffin, Mike Epps to Eddie Murphy, and Chris Rock to director Martin Scorsese being involved at one point or another. Most recently, filmmaker Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) was onboard to direct the movie with Marlon Wayans playing Pryor, but Condon put the project on hold in 2010 to direct the Twilight sequels Breaking Dawn Parts 1 and 2. Forest Whitaker will be developing a new script, with input from Richard Pryor’s widow Jennifer, and producing via his company Significant Productions. Bill Condon is no longer involved, and there’s no word on whether Whitaker will be recasting the role of Richard Pryor or keeping Marlon Wayans. Wayans told the press in January, “Hollywood doesn’t want to bet on that kind of movie right now, and it’s a shame. I think it’s a beautiful movie, and the people who got the money don’t understand that Pryor is an icon… studios are scared because they’re owned by corporations, and they don’t see it.” Hopefully, if this movie is given another 18 years to percolate, we’ll finally get to see it.
For more info on the history of the movie, check out our piece from last year, “The Richard Pryor Biopic’s 17 Years in Development Hell.”