Years in the works already, it appears the long-developing Richard Pryor biopic that is to star Mike Epps and Oprah Winfrey has hit a serious snag. Lee Daniels had been attached to direct the biopic but had trouble finding time with all of his commitments on Empire. Now Deadline reports Daniels will no longer be behind the camera to tell Pryor's story.
Daniels dropping out comes after his second Fox series, Star, received a full season order. So with two top shows on TV there simply wasn't time for Daniels to give the film, reportedly titled Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said?, his full attention. Weinstein didn't want to delay the project any longer and decided to move on. Shooting is still set to begin this October, which is why the move had to be made now.
This is actually the best move Weinstein could have made. Epps' performance as Pryor was one of the few highlights of the recent Nina Simone biopic with Zoe Saldana, and they should capitalize on that as quickly as possible. Plus, there are directors out there who can add more visual flair to the story than Daniels ever could hope to. Finally, with Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Hudson, and Tracy Morgan rounding out the supporting cast it's probably a good idea to get rolling rather than risk losing them to some other project.