The upcoming biopic Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said? has hit a bit of snag as The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that director Lee Daniels has departed from the picture. The bio based on the life of the late groundbreaking comedian, has been kicking around Hollywood for some time now, was a few months back given the fast-track over at The Weinstein Company. Daniels schedule appears to be to blame here, as his commitments to hit FOX drama Empire and the upcoming show Star may be eating into the Oscar nominated filmmaker’s time frame.
The film, which features a script from Oscar winner Bill Condon (Gods & Monsters) and a tony ensemble cast that includes Mike Epps as Pryor and former Oscar nominees Kate Hudson (Almost Famous), Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls) and Oprah Winfrey (Lee Daniels’ The Butler), still appears to be a top priority for The Weinstein Company. A March production start date was moved to October to help accommodate Daniels’ busy schedule; while no one at Weinstein had any comment, that start may still be in cards as the film looks for a new director to take over.
The film looks to provide an insight into Pryor’s extraordinary rise in the 1970s before losing his battle with Parkinson’s disease. Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said? has been toiling around since before the comedian’s passing in 2005.
As of right now, it’s unclear as to whether there will be a turnaround on terms of the casting of the film or if the overall shape of the film may take on a different form as new director comes aboard. Daniels broke out with the major success of the 2009 indie Precious, a film that won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival that year and eventually won two Academy Awards and earned the director an Oscar nomination for Best Director. Since then, he directed the Zac Efron-Nicole Kidman indie provocation The Paperboy and the successful historical bio Lee Daniels’ The Butler (which co-starred Winfrey) – the film was also distributed by The Weinstein Company.
We will stay tuned to the latest developments.