American stand-up Mike Epps is to play Richard Pryor in a new movie – about Nina Simone.
The Def Comedy Jam comic has been touted as a star of a long-awaited biopic of the legendary comedian for at least seven years.
But while any such movie continues to languish in development hell, Epps will at least get to play his hero in a supporting role.
Pryor used to open for Simone in the early Sixties, and in her autobiography, the singer described how she would help Pryor overcome his stage fright.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, filming on the biopic Nina – with Zoe Saldana in the starring role – begins in Los Angeles this week.
Pryor’s widow Jennifer Lee was trying to get a biopic of her husband off the ground in 2005, while he was still alive.
At the time, she said she wanted Epps, saying: ‘Richard and I saw Mike's standup, and there is a dangerous edge, a Richard-esque quality about him.’
Epps attended Pryor’s funeral later that year.