Kenya Barris has yet another project in the works, and this one is definitely something special.
This news comes after the studio reportedly won a hard-fought battle over rights to make the film, with this new acquisition coming after MGM already obtained the rights for a Sammy Davis Jr. biopic.
As a result of this acquisition, Kenya Barris will produce and write for the Pryor film, while also making his directorial debut. One of the other producers who will be credited for the film is Jennifer Lee, one of Pryor’s ex-wives. Barris, Lee, and both the chairman and president for the MGM Film Group–Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy–all put out statements regarding Monday’s announcement.
“The way Pryor did what he did — with truth and specificity that was somehow self-aware and self-deprecating, and said with an unmatched level of vulnerability – that was the power and impact of his work,” Barris said in his statement. “Pryor had a voice that was distinctly his and, in many ways, comedy since then has been derivative of what he created. To me, this is a film about that voice, the journey that shaped it, and what it took for it to come to be.”
This news marks the latest development in Hollywood’s long-running quest to make a movie out of Richard Pryor’s life. Years back, The Weinstein Company and Jennifer Lee joined up with Lee Daniels on a script that was set to see Mike Epps play Pryor alongside a cast that included Oprah Winfrey as Pryor’s grandmother, Eddie Murphy as Pryor’s father, and Kate Hudson as Jennifer. Obviously, that project never ended up happening.