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David Poland

By David Poland

Eddie's Oscar?

EW broke the lingering news today that it looks like Bill Condon

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26 Responses to “Eddie's Oscar?”

  1. Ugh….I already am dreading the Condon/Murphy Jamie FOxxxxx Oscar push. This film was be as flat and forgettable as “Ray.” ZZZZzzzzzz.

  2. I’m kind of tired of biopics about celebrities (like musicians)…Wall the Line, Ray, I’m Not There, etc… BORING.
    I would be more interestd if a biopic is about a politician or social activist.. MILK was awesome, CHE was awesome, and I can’t wait for MANDELA.

  3. SJRubinstein says:

    It feels to me kind of like “Basquiat” where you have an actor – David Bowie – playing someone he knew and interacted with and, frankly, I think Bowie really nailed it as a supporting character (though I found Guy Pearce’s portrayal in “Factory Girl” pretty hypnotic). Because of “Harlem Nights,” because of the stand-up circuit, we’re talking about a guy who was around his subject a bit at different times in that fellow’s life – not just an actor who meets the person he’s going to be playing towards the end of that person’s life (didn’t Foxx meet Ray Charles? Possibly Joaquin Phoenix met Johnny Cash, etc.?).
    I thought Murphy was dynamite in “Dreamgirls,” but I think this could be one of the most interesting parts he ever plays.

  4. SJRubinstein says:

    I would argue that, in his own real way, Pryor was a social activist.

  5. Hallick says:

    Isn’t Eddie Murphy a little old to be the star of a Richard Pryor biopic? I’m sure the technology’s there to do something about it, a la Benjamin Button, but if there isn’t any room for movie star salaries, how does that happen?

  6. Bart Smith says:

    I’m guessing that must be Terrence Howard up for the part of Redd Foxx.

  7. LexG says:

    Thing is, I’m a HUGE Pryor fan and would be interested in seeing Eddie do this… but haven’t we already seen or heard this story– Pryor’s, SPECIFICALLY– way too many times for it to be fresh?
    Pryor starred in it and directed himself with JO JO DANCER.
    All the key moments are already on film recounted by the man himself in LIVE IN CONCERT, SUNSET STRIP, and HERE AND NOW.
    He wrote the autobiography PRYOR CONVICTIONS, which probably featured everything we’ll see.
    And most bizarrely, EDDIE GRIFFIN played Pryor in a short-lived bio-pic in series form based on PRYOR CONVICTIONS that runs on Showtime frequently in the middle of the night.
    I don’t see what more can be done, or what would be new and fresh to fans who know the Pryor story inside and out. And, sad to say, I’m not sure how many young viewers would be interested… even though he’s still talked about with reverence by all contemporary comics, standup is sadly a bit of an antiquated artform. Then again, I wouldn’t guessed Johnny Cash and Ray Charles biopics would galvanize the masses either, so maybe I’m wrong.

  8. Josh Massey says:

    Anybody else remember when Scorsese was talking about doing “Pryor Convictions” with Damon Wayans?
    “The make-up nomination…”
    Uh-oh, is Robert Downey Jr. playing Redd Foxx?

  9. Eric says:

    And here we are, reminded once again the problem with the Oscars. Somehow a performance is already talked about for a statue before it’s even begun. And why? Because it’s Oscar Material, of course.
    I hereby submit that Oscar Material is one of the, if not the, dullest genres in film today. Shocking, I know.

  10. jeffmcm says:

    If Eddie Murphy deserved an Oscar, it was for Coming to America or The Nutty Professor. He’s something of a shapeshifter but I have a hard time seeing him as loose and as raw as Pryor would need to be – and that includes his relatively stiff Dreamgirls performance.

  11. LexG says:


  12. SJRubinstein says:

    With the live concerts mentioned, yes – we’ve heard a lot of the stories as Pryor turned them into “bits.” His relationship with Jim Brown, his visit to Africa, his heart attack (and other drug-related craziness), and so on – particularly when he got more autobiographical – but he had a lot of different phases of that career, hell, as evidenced by the different companies that have put out compilations of his stand-up material.
    But there are all those stories about when Pryor was trying to break big as you had Cosby on television and doing jokes about sleeping in the same bed as his brother Russell, but then you had the rather dirty Redd Foxx party albums. Pryor, of course, figured out (eventually – after a lot of trial and error) how to have it both ways. I think THAT’S the interesting movie – how to take stereotype characters like Rev. DuRite and Mudbone, etc. – and find a way to craft them so that they broke out into a wider audience than Foxx had at the time.
    In a lot of ways, it’s similar to “Dreamgirls” in that you have a black character at the moment in which television is starting to integrate coming to terms with how to engage with that new audience. And then, Pryor made the decision to address – full-on – the issue of race in a way neither black nor white mainstream comedians ever had. “That Nigger’s Crazy,” for all its hoopla and hype, manages to STILL sound daring today.

  13. Agree with Eric 1000%
    Oscar bait:
    Big name bio-pic…check
    big name recently deceased…check
    Minority star…check
    drug problem…check
    actor “stretching”…check
    period piece…check

  14. leahnz says:
    who will play gene wilder??!!
    (pryor & wilder, best comedy duo ever)

  15. yancyskancy says:

    This will be one hell of a challenge for Murphy because, despite Pryor’s undoubted influence on him, there’s no physical resemblance and they’re completely different types of performers. I’m having a hard time envisioning Murphy capturing the looseness Jeff mentions (the rawness shouldn’t be a problem — “Eddie Murphy Raw” anyone?).
    For Oscar bait purposes, this probably won’t matter. Dustin Hoffman didn’t remind me much of Lenny Bruce either, and he got nominated.
    I imagine this will be less sugar-coated than either “Ray” or “Walk the Line” (both of which I liked, by the way). Pryor’s illness in his later years kept him from becoming some sort of beloved elder statesman of comedy, and watching his deterioration was truly sad. If they make this film as unflinching as it could be, it might really be something.

  16. a_loco says:

    I’m sorry, did DeafBrownTrash just call Pryor a musician?

  17. RP says:

    Would love to see Jeffrey Wright as Pryor with Laurence Fishburne (even though he’s not that much older than Wright) or Clark Johnson as Redd Foxx.
    But that would be a nice, little indie take instead of the studio-approved Oscar-bait version.

  18. leahnz says:

    eddie used to do a pretty dead-on pryor back in the olden days of ‘raw’: (about 30 seconds in)

  19. yancyskancy says:

    Great clip, leah. It certainly the proves that the voice won’t be a problem for him, which might be enough to put get me past other issues.
    Wonder if it’s gonna be a cradle-to-grave story or take a narrower focus? I thought both Ray and Walk the Line benefited from focusing mostly on a few years rather than several decades.

  20. I’m going with Ashton Kutcher as Gene Wilder in a breakout role!! Or Jack Black cuz if he gets SKINNY for the role, that’s Oscar GOLD!

  21. Roman says:

    Don, you forgot to add white guy directing – check.
    As for Murphy, I seriously doubt he’s missing all that much on the salary side of things. Between high earners like Shrek 4 and stinkers like “Meet Dave”, he has everything to gain from doing a project like this.
    Look forward all the coverage Jeff Wells will give to the movie though.

  22. Gus Petch says:

    Don, you also forgot: Actor hides his appearance behind tons of makeup and prosthetics…check

  23. Dr Wally says:

    If this is true, then credit to Murphy for showing at least some ambition in his career finally. I’ve always had him down as someone who truly couldn’t care less, wasting his massive talent in one easy-paycheck howler after another. That’s his perogative, but it’s telling that Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, and even Sandler, have shown a willingness to get out of their comfort zone every now and then. But it’s a stretch to picture Eddie Murphy ever working with PT Anderson or Peter Weir.

  24. Cadavra says:

    I’m with RP: Wright would be a much better choice.

  25. So it’ll be kinda just like Bob Fosse’s Lenny. But black.
    My basic theory with biopics is that if they show the subject’s childhood then it immediately loses points. So will we see Pryor discovering his knack for comedy in the playground of some poor neighbourhood or will the filmmakers give the audience enough credit to realise that at some point in his life he realised he had a talent for comedy. I really don’t get why that’s so hard for filmmakers to understand. I didn’t need to see Edith Piaf’s fucked up childhood to understand she was a mess in adulthood ya know. etc.

  26. Krazy Eyes says:

    Seth Rogan as Wilder? At least it would give him a excuse to keep losing weight.

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