Kenya Barris to Write and Direct MGM’s Upcoming Richard Pryor Biopic

Photo: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Now that MGM has landed the rights to the as-yet untitled film, Kenya Barris is set to write, produce, and direct the studio’s upcoming movie about Richard Pryor’s life and times; the comedian passed away at the age of 65 in December 2005. According to Variety, the movie will be the Black-ish, Grown-ish, and Mixed-ish creator’s first feature-film directing gig. “The way Pryor did what he did — with truth and specificity that was somehow self-aware and self-deprecating, and said with an unmatched level of vulnerability — that was the power and impact of his work,” Barris said in a statement Monday about the project.

In addition his wildly popular stand-up career, Pryor, star of classic comedies like Brewster’s Millions and The Toy, earned an Emmy, five Grammys, and the first Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 1998. “Pryor had a voice that was distinctly his and, in many ways, comedy since then has been derivative of what he created,” Barris’s statement continues. “To me, this is a film about that voice, the journey that shaped it, and what it took for it to come to be.” As for whether or not Quincy Jones’s extremely interesting claim about Richard Pryor and Marlon Brando’s romantic intrigue makes it into the film, at this point, we can only hope.

Kenya Barris to Write and Direct MGM’s Richard Pryor Biopic