Can Marlon Wayans pull off Richard Pryor?

Wayans-Pryor_lEW broke the news that Marlon Wayans is in talks to star in the biopic Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said? Eddie Murphy had been in attached to the project when it was set up at Paramount (it’s now at Sony). The Wayans news took many by surprise, but it could be inspired casting – Marlon went to the original Fame high school and studied film and arts at Howard University before making a dramatic turn in Requiem for a Dream. He is, of course, better known for exploring his funny side with his brothers. For this role, he’ll need to be insanely funny as Pryor on-stage and also channel the demons of Pryor’s tragic personal life. As we reported, Wayans was said to blow away the producers with a 13-minute screen test transforming himself into Pryor.

Given the meaty nature of Pryor’s story, and writer/director Bill Condon’s track record (Dreamgirls, Gods and Monsters), if Wayans does a solid job this role has Oscar written all over it. If he does a bad job, there’s always White Chicks 2. So, do you think Wayans can pull off Pryor? If not him, who would you rather see taking the role?

Photo Credit: Wayans: Albert L. Ortega/PR Photos; Pryor: Everett

Comments (54 total) Add your comment
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  • Matterlie

    HELL NO! This is a travesty! I’d rather see an unknown, talented actor do the role justice than one of those crackpot Wayans bros. They suck. This is going to be a disaster.

    • indio

      Have you seen “Requiem for a Dream”? You’ll be surprised by how well Marlon Wayans was in that movie. He certainly can do dramatic roles very well.

    • Lenora

      Watch “Requiem for a Dream” and then come back and comment.

    • toh

      I think Martin Lawrence would be a much better person to choose to play the role of Richard Pryor. Martin Lawrence almost looks like Richard Pryor, he’s funny as heck, and a good actor.

  • confidential

    Mike Epps would have been better…

    • lol


    • Lenora

      Really, Mike Epps. Give credentials, please.

  • OvenMitt

    I disagree. I mean, who would have thought that Jamie “Wanda the Ugly Woman” Foxx could have paralayed his comedy career into a legitimate film career, with an Oscar on his mantle to boot? Marlon gave us a taste of his dramatic potential in Requiem For A Dream; I believe this could be a turning point for him.

    • toh

      Marlon is too young to play Richard Pryor and he isn’t a true comedian. I think Martin Lawrence would be a better pick to play the role of Richard Pryor.

  • Samantha Delynne

    I like to see comedian Mike Epps play the Late comedian Richard Pryor.That would be great.

    • lol


      • Lenora

        Epps has no dramatic movie chops. Watch “Requiem for a Dream” with Wayans and then reconsider your comment.

    • SS

      Seriously Mike Epps’ agent needs to take a breather and realize WE’RE NOT ON THE HIRING COMMITTEE.

  • chichi

    You are all full of fail. If we are looking for someone to play Pryor it would have to be Steve Harvey. The man is his twin. Case closed.

    • Lenora

      Harvey looks like him, but acting chops are not there.

      • toh

        I think Martin Lawrence would be a better pick. Steve Harvey is too heavy set and Richard Pryor wasn’t.

  • Gin

    You’d think they would pick a funny comedian to play Pryor. Hasn’t anyone seen any of his movies?!?! They all suck!!! Definately agree on Mike Epps! I have actually laughed during his films.

    • Lenora

      Mike Epps, What on earth makes you think that he would be better than Marlon Wayans. Have you seen “Requiem for a Dream”? Yes, Soul Men, Resident Evil and the Hangover are really deep, but The Fighting Temptations is where he really showed his acting chops, right?

    • mscisluv

      Good lord – Mike Epps’s agent is all over this board.

      • toh

        I think Martin Lawrence would be a better pick. He’s a good actor and comedian.

  • Qness

    I had to sit and think about it for a little bit and have decided I rather like the idea. Requiem of a Dream was a terrific movie and Marlon did a wonderful job in that. His face has the same hyper-expressiveness that Pryor’s had and I believe he can pull of the more emotionally gut-wrenching parts. I really like Mike Epps but I just don’t see him in this role. Steve Harvey, while a terrific comedian, is too old, too big and not quite super-silly enough. Pryor often was just on the other side of sanity and I think Marlon is capable of letting himself go on that side and then come back to this side. I’d guess that the movie is going to delve into the heavy drug use problems Pryor had and his rise-downfall-comeback? I definitely want to hear more about the project as a whole.

    • Lenora


  • Kenya

    WOW! Marlon is gonna blow this part out of the water! And all y’all critics is gonna have y’all’s mouths WIDE OPEN! Marlon is a fantastic dramatic actor, and his is a great opportunity for people to see that! That’s GREAT for him!

  • dave

    Marlon Wayans is actually a very good actor. It just doesn’t show in movies like White Chicks or Little Man. I actually think he can pull this off and I’m excited to see it. I think too many people are making uninformed and biased judgments about him. Give him a chance. I think he’ll knock it out of the park.

    • Lenora

      Agreed! I would have never guess he could pull this off if I hadn’t seen “Requiem for a Dream,” but he pulled some element of comedic while tragic at the same time in that. I think he will be perfect. Anyone who doubts must not have seen “Requiem.”

      • k

        Really? Wow. Thats pretty dumb to base Marlon’s “acting chops” on Requiem for A Dream…..a film that bombed at the box office. You realize that this film will cost over 40 million and will be for people above the age 25. Marlon does NOT draw a crowd. And people who know who Pryor was, do NOT go to the theater. This movie will BOMB.

      • toh

        Martin Lawrence would be a better pick. He will play the role of Richard Pryor better than Marlon.

  • Lenora

    After seeing him in Requiem for a Dream, I think he might just be perfect for pulling off a great funny man with a tragic story. If you haven’t seen “Requiem” you shouldn’t bother posting because you don’t know what he is capable of.

  • annie

    i think he can do it.

  • Sally in Chicago

    It might work….but does anybody remember that Richard already made a movie about his life and his demons. Is this a remake?

  • bob

    I think marlon would be a great richard pryor in the fact that not only can he look like him physically, pull off the comedic genious of the man but the most important thing that many people are underestimating marlon on is the dramatic power house he has within him just waiting for the right moment to release, and i think this role is it.

    P.S. truly can’t wait to see it.

    • SS

      I truly can’t wait either.

  • Bryan

    I would imagine this movie being VERY similar to 1986’s Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling, which was a semiautobiographic account of Pryor’s life that he himself co-wrote and directed.

  • billy

    I can see him doing well in the role

    • toh

      What does chop mean in this category?

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