*Mike Epps and Oprah Winfrey are suddenly without a director for their Richard Pryor biopic.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Lee Daniels has exited the project, blaming his “busy schedule.” His current slate includes EP work on Fox’s “Empire, and the upcoming drama “Star,” which requires even more time commitment. The Weinstein Co., which is behind the film, has decided not to wait any longer for Daniels’ schedule to clear up, the trade reports.
The search is already on for another director. According to THR, The Weinstein Co. began reaching out to several filmmakers over the weekend.
Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said?, from a script by Bill Condon, chronicles the life of the groundbreaking comedian, who rose to prominence in the 1970s before enjoying a film and television career and succumbing to Parkinson’s disease. The project has been in development in various incarnations for more than a decade (Pryor himself had a hand in it before his death in 2005). The current version has a star-studded cast set, including Mike Epps as Pryor, Oprah Winfrey as his grandmother and Kate Hudson as Pryor’s widow Jennifer Lee Pryor.
After languishing in development for years, the project was set to begin filming in March but was delayed in part due to Daniels’ busy schedule (he lamented his inability to focus on the project as far back as 2014). The current start of shooting is set for October, but sources say he asked for a further delay and Weinstein Co. wasn’t willing to wait. The company expects to keep that start date with a new director.
It’s unclear if any castmembers will exit with Daniels or if a new filmmaker will want revisions to the script.