Mike Epps Says Richard Pryor’s Widow Killed Biopic Because He ‘Didn't Screw’ Her

Edit Fotos International/Archive Photos/Getty Images/Cassidy Sparrow/Getty Images for or CORDELL BROADUS & SHARESTIX
Edit Fotos International/Archive Photos/Getty Images/Cassidy Sparrow/Getty Images for or CORDELL BROADUS & SHARESTIX

Mike Epps said he wouldn’t be playing Richard Pryor in a potential biopic because he spurned the romantic interest of Pryor’s widow, Jennifer Lee Pryor.

On the newest episode of the All The Smoke podcast, Epps told the hosts, “I was gonna play Richard Pryor man, and then his wife—I didn’t, I didn’t screw his wife, his ex-wife and she got mad.”

Epps recently played the comedy legend in HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty series. However in 2014, director Lee Daniels announced that Epps would play Pryor in an upcoming biopic that would’ve been produced by Harvey Weinstein, but the project never came to fruition due to Daniels backing out to focus on Empire.

Epps tweeted a photo of himself kissing Lee Pryor’s ring at the time, signaling that she’d given her “blessing” for him to portray the late comedy legend.

Things had gone horribly wrong since then, according to Epps, who said that after he wouldn’t “screw her,” Lee Pryor responded by telling him, “‘You are not gonna play Richard. You didn’t spank this ass.’”

“I said ‘Nope, I ain’t playing Richard Pryor then,’” he said, adding, “She gonna sue me for this.”

In a 2019 interview with The Daily Beast in 2019, Lee Pryor said the biopic was considering an unknown actor to play Pryor after the Daniels-Weinstein project fell apart. “All Harvey was good at was making fucking announcements,” she said at the time. “It was just a lot of bullshit, at the end of the day.”

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Epps talked more on the show about how it all went down. “I went to Richard Pryor’s funeral man,” he said, “The lady told me that night, you're not ready to play Richard. I said, ‘Fuck you bitch.’”

He also said he felt he would’ve been the perfect person to play the role. “I’m gonna tell you what I told her,” he continued, “I love Richard Pryor. I love him to death. But my kids don’t know who he is. But the little motherfuckers know me. So I’m the motherfuckin’, I’m the—as good as Richard Pryor was, he was a bad motherfucker. These kids, they know who the hell Mike Epps is.”

“That’s my OG. I love him. But the time has moved on,” he added.

The Daily Beast reached out to Jennifer Lee Pryor through Richard Pryor’s estate for comment and has not received a response.

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