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Marlon Wayans as Richard Pryor

RichardPryor.jpgAs I wrote about before, Marlon Wayans is set to star as Richard Pryor in Bill Condon’s upcoming film about the great comedian – that’s Pryor, not Wayans. It still seems crazy to me that Wayans will play Pryor, and at least Eddie Murphy was a bit more of a dramatic actor than Wayans.

Now we get to hear some news about the production and the acting change from the producer and Wayans is talking about the challenge ahead of him, and it’s not sounding a great defence.

Speaking about the film Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said?, the producer Mark Gordon revealed that conversations had taken place with Eddie Murphy but the decision was that people would see Murphy and not Richard Pryor, as Murphy is a strong and recognisable comedian in his own right.

I can actually understand that comment that comes from the L.A. Times through The Playlist, and so far it sounds like the right choice, but I still don’t understand the choice of Wayans considering the base level of comedy that he’s been responsible for to date.

His defence goes something like this:

"Look, I want to be able to make the stupidest movies ever, because they make people laugh and they make money…But that's not all I want to do. And I think I've proven to some people -- the ones paying attention -- that I can do more. Everybody else, well, they can wait and see and make up their mind...

…I want to be in dramas, I want to produce, I want to write and I want to prove I can handle a role such as this one."

I think he does understand that he hasn’t proven himself in most people’s eyes, although he’s had a few dramatic roles they haven’t really resulted in him being noticed, and instead we remember him for the dreadful comedies.

He does realise that playing Richard Pryor is a mean feat.

”…he's huge, there is so much feeling for Richard Pryor. It's hard to be bigger than Richard Pryor. He changed comedy, and he did it in his own unique way...

…Richard Pryor meant so much to black people. Bill Cosby was like Martin Luther King but Pryor, he was like Malcolm X”

I’m still struggling to see how Marlon Wayans is going to tackle this role, and I do think the producers of the film would have been better heading off and finding a complete unknown comedian for the role, however they’ve chosen him and there must be some reason to do so, especially since he came off the back of talking to Eddie Murphy. Surely?

What do you think of the choice? Are there any Marlon Wayans fans out there? What do you think of the choice? Come to think of it, what do Richard Pryor fans think of Marlon Wayans playing him in a biographical film?



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