Oprah Winfrey & Mike Epps cast in Richard Pryor bio-pic: ugh or yay?

oprah daniels

I have to admit, I’m kind of into Oprah’s vibe the past few years. Now that she doesn’t have a daily show syndicated on network TV every day, Oprah has spent her time building OWN (which has severely struggled at times) and taking the odd acting gig. Her role in Lee Daniels’ The Butler was widely praised and she even got some acting nominations for it (but not an Oscar nom). And Oprah and Lee are BFFs these days – they’ve produced projects together and I believe that their friendship is probably the real deal. So, Lee Daniels’ new project is a bio-pic of Richard Pryor. Pryor’s life was CRAZY and he was a comedic iconoclast whose body of work still influences every major modern comedian, so Pryor’s life is a worthy enough subject. So, what is Daniels going to do? Hire Mike Epps and Oprah Winfrey, of course.

Oprah Winfrey’s been cast to play Richard Pryor’s grandmother — a cruel and abusive lady pimp — in the upcoming biopic directed by O’s pal Lee Daniels.

Pryor’s widow, Jennifer, tells TMZ … Oprah got hold of the script, and was desperate to play Marie Carter — the woman who raised Pryor in her brothel in Peoria, Illinois … and who was known to beat him. As we told you … Mike Epps scored the Pryor role.

We’re told Oprah really wanted to play Grandma Carter because she’s anxious to show her gritty side — after her ‘Butler’ performance — and let’s face it … there’s not much grittier than an abusive grandma running a whorehouse while raising a kid.

[From TMZ]

I recently saw the James Brown bio-pic and I didn’t know that he too was raised in a brothel by a woman who was not his mother. So, Pryor had a similar background. In Get On Up, Octavia Spencer played the aunt-type who raised Brown. Huh. Anyway, I’m guessing this will be a supporting part for Oprah and it will probably be fun for her to work with Daniels again.

As for Mike Epps’ casting… TMZ said that Nick Cannon really, really wanted the part but Daniels decided this week on Epps. I don’t really think that Nick and Mike look like Pryor at all, but Epps has a better background for playing Pryor. Epps was a stand-up comedian for years and years whereas I tend to think Nick Cannon is more of stand-up poseur. But really, Pryor’s life was really gritty and dark. Ideally, they would have wanted someone like a young Samuel L. Jackson.

Oh, and who has the stones to play 1970s-Pam Grier? Pryor and Grier dated for a while and he put coke in her vadge. Who will play Grier?!



Photos courtesy of Lee Daniels’ Instagram, WENN.

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28 Responses to “Oprah Winfrey & Mike Epps cast in Richard Pryor bio-pic: ugh or yay?”

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  1. JJ says:

    Ugh, please NO!
    Richard Pryor deserves better than Oprah and Lee Daniels.

    • Pix says:

      I really wish they cast Marlon Waynes as Pryor. He’s got the look, acting/comedy chops and grit to pull of the role. (He was really good in Requiem for a Dream.)
      Oprah is…eh. She could be really good or really, really bad. I have no point of reference for her character so it can go either way.

      • Hautie says:

        “I really wish they cast Marlon Wayans as Pryor. He’s got the look, acting/comedy chops and grit to pull of the role….”

        I also thought Wayans would have been the better choice.

        I have seen Epps attempts at dramatic roles… and they suck. He just does not have the talent to pull off the acting needed for this. He is funny as hell… but he is not an leading actor.

        And Oprah really does want that Oscar for acting. That honorary one she got, is not doing it for her. So watch out. She is probably gonna get all gritty for this role.

      • mimif says:

        Dude. Totally! God, that was such a great movie in such a horrible way.

      • Pepsi Presents...Coke says:

        I don’t know

    • Steph says:

      Agreed, or maybe just don’t make a biopic about another Hollywood celebrity? I’m pretty sure I won’t go to see this movie when it eventually comes out.

  2. PunkyMomma says:

    Oprah running a whorehouse. I like it.

  3. MrsBPitt says:

    My son loves Pryor, and was praying Nick Canon wouldn’t get the role…personally, I think an unknown would have been a better idea. I’m sure there are many, unkown talented actors that might have been good. Not throwing shade on Mike Epps, but Pryor needs someone to do justice to his story, and I’m not sure that Epps has the charisma to play him. In my opinion, Pryor and Carlin, were the two best comedians of all time!

  4. Kali says:

    While I think there’s a potential element of Oscar hope on Oprah’s part, I’m totally willing to cut her a lot of slack. I think she’s quite a good actress and I personally love when actors/actresses go WAY against type. Potential for some awesomeness here.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I agree. I look forward to the movie.

    • Happyhat says:

      I’m totally for Oprah getting stuck in with something totally raw and ugly, I love that. I’ve read Pryor’s biography and damn, it’s raw and ugly…

  5. Abbott says:

    Oprah wants an Oscar; plain and simple. With OWN struggling and no daily talk show, she’s worried about her legacy.

    • PunkyMomma says:

      Agree. But I always thought The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls was her great legacy.

    • The Original Mia says:

      OWN is no longer struggling and her legacy is set, but the rest of your comment stands.

  6. Toot says:

    “Jo Jo Dancer your Life is Calling” was already done with Pryor involved. I don’t even understand why they’re making this movie.

  7. It is what it is says:

    Oprah is getting water shipped to her mansion in California during its severe drought so her lawn can be green. Shipping in water so decorative grass can have it instead of human beings doesn’t come cheap apparently, what a moron

    • Kim1 says:

      Thank you Oprah for cutting your water usage in half by using “well water” taken from a small lake on your property.I hope other owners of large properties take your lead.
      I’m looking forward to seeing Oprah as a pimp.I’m sure Lee will bring out the ratchet in her.
      Lastly OWN had its best ratings ever this year mostly thanks to Tyler Perry.I can’t wait to new season especially for Flex and Shanice show.

  8. Beth says:

    I’m going to go into full conspiracy mode about Nick Cannon not getting the part here… Stay with me, people.

    Nick wanted that job very, very badly and was quite open about it, as discussed. He also was a bit nasty about Mariah in the media (through “sources”) and apparently nasty to her during the separation. Mariah is quite close to Lee Daniels from what I understand. I think if Nick had any chance of getting the part, Mariah put the kabosh on that quickly.

    Ok. Conspiracy theory over. I’ll take off my tinfoil hat now.

    • mayamae says:

      I know nothing about the conspiracy, but I don’t think Nick would have been a bad choice. I thought he was very good in The Killing Room, which was quite intense.

  9. Cupcake says:

    I thought Oprah was silly in The Butler. That being said, a major reason why I wanted to see the movie in the first place was to check out her performance!! I enjoyed the movie on the whole, but also had several cocktails while watching. I’ll prob do the same for the Richard Pryor movie!! Will this movie be called Lee Daniels’ Richard Pryor ala Lee Daniels’ The Butler?