I’ve been waiting for Eddie Murphy to come back for a while. I really love Murphy – I grew up with his raunchy stand-up and his Saturday Night Live characters – but the last decade of his career has begun to taint even his early greatness. It’s hard watching 48 Hours knowing that this guy will one day be a fat suit actor.
But he could still come back, and it seems like Bill Condon has all the faith in the world in him. Condon gave Murphy a great opportunity in Dreamgirls, and now he’s working with him on developing a Richard Pryor biopic, Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said? (the title comes from one of Pryor’s great stand-up albums), which they’re shopping to studios. Entertainment Weekly says that the film – budgeted at 25 milion – might be finding a home at Fox Searchlight.
I’m excited about the possibility. I think Condon is a terrific filmmaker (and after some initial skepticism, his new Oscars ceremony won me over big time), and I want to see Murphy rehabilitated. In my dream scenario Condon might find an out of nowhere newcomer to disappear inside Pryor, whose persona I feel like I know inside and out, but I’ll take a great Murphy performance.
What’s really interesting is that Murphy always said that Pryor was why he got into comedy, but Pryor himself felt that Murphy’s routines were too excessive. I wonder if a young Eddie Murphy (or a fictionalized version of him) might end up appearing in Condon’s screenplay.
And if you’re concerned about the idea of a Pryor biopic, I feel like it has to be better than JoJo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling.