Nick Cannon was a guest on TMZ Live yesterday, and he implied that he’s been cast as Richard Pryor in the upcoming biopic about the late, great comedian. Cannon this week posted a side-by-side picture of himself (with his hair and facial hair grown out) and Pryor on Instagram and another picture of a young Pryor smoking a cigarette with the caption, “Picking up smoking cigarettes for the next few months so forgive me if I smell like an ashtray.”
On TMZ, Cannon was cagey about confirming he’s been cast as Pryor, but he did seem to imply pretty heavily that he’s been working with director Lee Daniels, who was reportedly in talks to direct the biopic in January, to prepare for the role. Here’s what Cannon had to say:
“This is the thing. There’s been a lot of people out there that have discussed playing this role … I never want to jinx anything because you guys know how movies work. If it’s not in production, it’s not real. All I’m saying is I’m doing the work right now. I’m doing everything that I need to do to embody it when the opportunity is right. You guys were saying earlier this is something that’s been in the works for quite some time, so I don’t want to look like one of those actors who’s like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m out there doing it’ and then you never see the film.I’ve definitely sat with Lee, who’s a close friend, and we’ve actually worked quite a bit on getting it right. Again, it’s one of those things where the movie isn’t in production yet … I want to do it the right way. When it comes to something as sensitive as a legend like Richard Pryor, there’s family, there’s friends, there’s production. There’s so many things that go into weighing in on who should be this person. I don’t want to be one of those people who’s out there like, ‘Oh, yeah, I’m doing it’ and you look up and that’s not the case. I’m just trying to play it close to the vest. I have been in the character. I’m doing everything that I need to do, the hair, I’m growing all of this [facial hair] out, I’m looking like I’m 40 years old, I’m chain smoking.”
TMZ ran another story about how two of Richard Pryor’s children, Richard Pryor Jr. and Rain Pryor, don’t feel Nick Cannon is right for the role and feel Marlon Wayans is perfect for it. Wayans was attached to the role back in 2010 when Dreamgirls director Bill Condon was prepping the biopic and when the movie ramped back up earlier this year, he was said to be a frontrunner alongside Eddie Murphy and Michael B. Jordan. If you’re upset or concerned about Nick Cannon potentially getting the Richard Pryor role, just remember that this is a movie that’s been in the works for nearly 20 years with plenty of actors and director signing on and dropping out and the hypothetical Nick Cannon iteration of it could fall by the wayside as well.