Director Lee Daniels has confirmed Mike Epps will play comedian Richard Pryor in his forthcoming biopic.
Lee Daniels broke the news via Twitter by posting a picture of himself with Mike Epps and Oprah Winfrey at a script reading.
Oprah Winfrey, who Lee Daniels directed in The Butler, will play Richard Pryor’s grandmother.
Mike Epps, who has acted in The Hangover and Resident Evil, also posted a photo of himself kissing the ring of Richard Pryor’s widow Jennifer Lee, for “the blessing”.
Several other stars, including America’s Got Talent host Nick Cannon, Michael B. Jordan and Marlon Wayans, were reported to have been in talks to play Richard Pryor in the film.
Richard Pryor is widely regarded as one of America’s most influential comedians.
Before Richard Pryor’s death from a heart attack in December 2005 at the age of 65, both he and his wife had earmarked Mike Epps to play him in a film that they would have produced.
The comedian had suffered from multiple sclerosis for many years prior to his death.
Mike Epps, who called Richard Pryor “the wizard of comedy”, has since played him in 2013’s still-to-be-released biopic Nina, starring Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone.
Oprah Winfrey also took to social media to announce the casting, posting a picture on Instagram and Twitter.
Using the hashtag #RichardPryorMovie, Oprah Winfrey wrote that she, Lee Daniels and Mike Epps had “just finished a great 1st read session”.
Oprah Winfrey will play Richard Pryor’s grandmother Marie Carter, according to Entertainment Tonight.