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Richard Pryor's Widow

Gave Mike Epps Blessing

To Play Comic Legend

10/18/2012 12:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

1016_epps_pryor_tmz_getty
Actor Mike Epps personally reached out to Richard Pryor's widow before agreeing to play the comic legend in a new movie, TMZ has learned -- and it might've been the smartest thing he's ever done.

Jennifer Pryor tells TMZ, she was touched by the gesture -- saying, "That was very sweet and respectful that he called me first. I am happy that they picked him. He is a real good guy."

FYI -- Epps is slated to appear as Pryor in the new film about jazz legend Nina Simone

But Mike Epps wasn't just being polite, he also made a real smart move ... because Jennifer tells us, thanks to Epps' courtesy call, she's now considering the comedian to play Pryor in an upcoming Richard Pryor biopic.

The Pryor movie is still in development, but Jennifer -- who's acting as a producer on the film -- says she believes Epps is one of the few actors capable of an "authentic portrayal" of Pryor.

As for the one person she does NOT want to play Pryor ... his name rhymes with Schmeddy Burphy.

Jennifer tells us, "Having Eddie Murphy play Richard Pryor would be like having Al Jolson play Malcolm X." (Jolson is an early 20th century white actor known for his blackface performances.)

We literally have no idea why Jen's got a thing against Eddie Murphy, but she says Pryor would NEVER have wanted Murphy to play him -- "He would want someone authentic like himself."

28 COMMENTS

No Avatar
1.

Jen    

Great casting choice, Mike will do this role justice.

653 days ago
2.

Diamond Goddess!    

Wow, V-E-R-Y classy move, Mike!
I'm impressed.
Mike will be great as Pryor!!!

653 days ago
3.

havok    

I like Mike Epps but he doesn't have the acting skills to pull off Richard Prior. One of the Wayans Brothers would be a better choice. As for Eddy Murphy he does an awesome Richard Prior impression, just check out "Eddy Murphy Raw" if you don't believe me.

653 days ago
4.

916Nter    

I thought Marlon Wayans was playing him. I was excited about that..Mike is a good actor, but would of rather see Marlon play him.

653 days ago
5.

traitorwithinme    

Eddie Murphy is god awful....such a diva....cant stand the guy...biggest ahole out there....Love Richard Pryor...

653 days ago
6.

Phreaky    

Steve Harvey looks JUST like Richard Pryor. Every single time I've ever seen him I thought he needs to play him in a movie.

653 days ago
7.

Phishie from Philly    

That is a awesome pick! Epps will portray Pryor to the T. I'm super surprised what Richard's wife said about Eddie Murphy. I'll never watch Harlem Nights the same ever again.
..
Phishie from Philly

653 days ago
8.

Phishie from Philly    

Mike's going to have to loss a lot of weight like how he was in Next Friday.
..

653 days ago
9.

static    

I would put Chris Rock in the same category as Eddie Murphy .

653 days ago
10.

DirtySouth    

Dave Chappell should play Richad Pryor. Close your eyes and listen to Dave, then listen to Richard. Same style, same timing.

653 days ago
11.

nickie101    

i think Marlon Wayans would kill it!

653 days ago
12.

MaineTech609    

Well Mike is going from a C list- Celeb to A-list after this movie I'm sure!!!!!

653 days ago
13.

Doganr    

Al Jolson was actually "black friendly"...

653 days ago
14.

KarenEmerson22    

$85 an hour! Seriously I don't know why more people haven't tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening…And whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids. Heres where I went, EarlyRich.com

653 days ago
15.

ohreally    

I honestly think he can pull it off. Good luck

653 days ago
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