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Exclusive: Marlon Wayans in talks to play Richard Pryor

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Funny man Marlon Wayans is in advanced discussions to play one of comedy’s most iconic figures in the biopic Richard Pryor: Is it Something I Said for Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Prods. and Sony Pictures. The project has been written and will be directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls). Eddie Murphy was originally attached to star in the project, but he dropped out over conflicts with Paramount Pictures, which was previously on board to finance the film.

While Wayans is primarily known for his comedic roles in Wayans Bros.’ movies such as Dance Flick and White Chicks, he received critical acclaim for his dramatic turn in 1999’s Requiem for a Dream. Sources tell EW.com that Wayans fought for the role, blowing the producers away with a 13- min screen test where he “transforms into Pryor.” The movie depicts Pryor’s controversial brand of comedy and his battle with drugs and is currently budgeted at $20 million.  Chris Rock, Pryor’s widow Jennifer Lee Pryor and Mark Gordon are also lined up to produce. Producers are still working out the terms of Wayans’ deal, and  other major aspects of the overall project have not been finalized.  Sony did not respond to requests for comment.

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