nickcannon_instagram_richard_pryor
Richard Pryor and Nick Cannon

Nick Cannon/Instagram

This winter it was announced that Lee Daniels was in talks with the Weinstein Co. to direct a Richard Pryor biopic. At the time of the announcement, front-runners in consideration for playing Pryor included Michael B. Jordan, Marlon Wayans and Eddie Murphy. After testing for the role, Wayans was said to have impressed the executives at Weinstein, who are responsible for fully backing the film.

Interestingly enough, it seems that someone else has decided to insinuate that he’s captured the leading role.

During a recent appearance on TMZ, Nick Cannon hinted about his role in the movie. The America’s Got Talent host was asked about rumors that he would portray the late comedian, since Cannon posted an Instagram photo of himself and Pryor on June 30, with the caption, “Now y’all get it!”

Cannon also posted another photo of Pryor smoking a cigarette, with the caption, “Picking up smoking cigarettes for the next few months so forgive me if I smell like an ashtray. #KidsDontTryThis #CancerSticksSuck #AnythingForTheCraft #HopeIDontGetAddicted #LeftHandChainSmoking #ActorLife #NotAGame #Ncredible.”

“Here’s the thing. There have been a lot of people out there who’ve discussed playing this role,” the 33-year-old told TMZ. “I never want to jinx anything because you guys know how movies work. If it’s not in production, it’s not real. So all I’ll say is that I’m doing the work right now. I’m doing everything that I need to do to embody it when the opportunity is right.”

Cannon also mentioned that he’s discussed the role with Daniels. “I’ve definitely sat with Lee, who’s a close friend, and we actually worked quite a bit on getting it right.”

“[I’ve got] the hair; I’m growing all of this out,” he said, referring to his facial hair. “I’m looking like I’m 40 years old. I’m chain-smoking. I told Lee the one thing I’m not going to do is freebase,” he laughed. “I’m not going that far.”

Well, there are definitely a few people who aren’t interested in him going far at all. And those are Pryor’s kids.

Richard Pryor Jr. and Rain Pryor told TMZ that the only man who could pull off playing their father is Wayans. They believe that he understands their dad’s psyche and would be able to connect with the character. Wayans, who is also a stand-up comedian, has experience playing troubled characters. In the 2000 film Requiem for a Dream, Wayans gave a riveting performance as a man strung out on heroin. Pryor’s children don’t feel that Cannon could give their father’s life any credibility on film.

Another issue the children seem to have with the film is the fact that Pryor’s ex-wife, Jennifer Pryor, is working on it with Daniels. They feel that it would dishonor their father’s memory because it would skew his life to make her look good.

Since the movie isn’t in production as of yet, it’ll be interesting to see who will be the chosen one to portray Pryor. 

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Yesha Callahan is editor of The Grapevine and a staff writer at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.

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