The Weinstein Company is just about ready to grant the green-light to the untitled Richard Pryor biopic, and director Lee Daniels is doing what he can casting-wise to convince the studio its the right call. If all goes according to plan, production will start up next year, and it looks like it will move forward with a lot of big names attached…

pryor and eppsMike Epps is set to perform as the legendary comedian. Given the actor’s background, we can likely expect Epps to hit the real funny notes that the film will surely deliver, but will be intriguing to see is how he winds up approaching the darker and more dramatic elements of Pryor’s life and character. There are many great comedians in cinematic history who have put on brilliant serious performances, and Epps has an opportunity here to join their ranks.

Next up we have one of the newest additions to the cast of the Richard Pryor film, though she has actually been attached to the project in a producer capacity for quite a while now. After taking on a key role in Lee Daniels’ The Butler, the director has gotten Oprah Winfrey to play Richard Pryor’s grandmother. What makes the role a bit special is the fact that the woman Winfrey will be portraying was the operator of a brothel, and it was there that she wound up raising the would-be comedian.

lee daniels and oprahKate Hudson will portray Jennifer Lee Pryor, one of the comedian’s six wives and the one who was with him when he died from a heart attack in 2005. She first married him in 1982, and while they would wind up divorcing a year later, they wound up getting back together in 2001.

Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special in NYPlaying the role of Pryor’s father, Leroy “Buck Carter” Pryor, will be Eddie Murphy in his first dramatic role in nearly 10 years. The project will mark the first time that Murphy and Daniels have had the opportunity to work together.

As things stand, the plan is to start production on the Richard Pryor biopic in March – once Lee Daniels has completed work on the second season of his hit Fox series, Empire.