Jennifer Lee Pryor, widow of the late comedic legend Richard Pryor, stopped by the Alison Rosen is Your New Best Friend podcast and touched on a variety of subjects namely the upcoming biopic about her deceased husband. The yet-to-be-named film is set to begin shooting in July, and will star Mike Epps as Richard Pryor, Kate Hudson as Jennifer Pryor and Oprah as his grandmother with Lee Daniels (Precious, The Butler) directing.
In the interview Jennifer discusses push back from Richard’s children about the biopic:
“Their qualms are they want to be part of it. And the problem is, they have to talk to me, and they don’t want anything to do with me.”
“Richard Junior surprised me. I thought I had a good relationship with him, and all of a sudden he’s talking smack about me in the press. And I wish him well, I don’t know where it came from. He and Nick Cannon all of a sudden got tight, because Nick Cannon didn’t get the part and Nick’s really pissed off about it. But listen, I have learned to take the high road because there’s less traffic up there. I really don’t hold any animosity towards these kids. I sort of get it. All those mamas, you know, and they’re going to imbue their kids with that same kind of anger… but the truth is, I didn’t have kids with Richard. It’s probably the one smart thing I did with Richard. But I chose not to, because number one, I knew I wasn’t going to be a good mother, and number two, I knew he wasn’t a good father. “
She went on to discuss the decision to give Epps the lead role:
“I approached him a few years back, and then we had a falling out. And it had to do with him kind of getting involved too much with the kids, and… so when Lee told me he was considering Mike, I said “Oh… you know, I will defer to you.” There were three people in the running, really: Marlon Wayans, and Nick, and Mike. And Lee said Jen, you know, Mike’s the real deal. I said I know, I agree. I said I can’t give my blessing, but I’m not going to stand in your way. I have approvals, but I said I’m not going to f*ck with you, I’m not going to cockblock you. He said no, I need your blessing. I said well I can’t give you my blessing, because he hasn’t been cool with me and he’s gotta come clean with me. He said but he says he didn’t do anything. And I said well he’s lying. I said I need him to come clean.”
What had he done?
“He was in bed with Rain [Pryor’s third child], and Elizabeth [Pryor’s second], and there was… just some sh*t. He’d given some money to Rain, and… he thought he was gonna make a project with Rain based on her book, which was crazy anyway because you can’t make a movie about Richard Pryor without [me?]. It was just an absurd thing. But I asked him to speak at Richard’s funeral, and he got up there, and I could tell he was kind of disconnected from me, and he was… the kids were already compiling a case against me, and had a lot of animosity, and I could tell he was sort of playing to them. Anyway, I spotted it. And, again, I said Lee, just do your thing. But Mike called me one day and said Jen, I wanna come clean. I gotta tell you the truth, you’re right. And I said I knew it. And he said that’s all you wanted was the truth? I said that’s all. And so now we’re gonna move forward in a really productive way.”
So the road to getting this biopic underway has been a bit bumpy, but would you expect much else from the family of a comedian who was married seven times and has six children? Us either.
Check back with The Source as more information on the Richard Pryor biopic become available and check out Alison Rosen’s full interview with Jennifer Lee Pryor here.
You can find Khari Clarke at your pizza shop and on Twitter (@KINGCLARKEIII).