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Lee Daniels Returns to Direct Richard Pryor Biopic, Jay Z to Produce

Lee Daniels has committed to directing The Weinstein Company’s Richard Pryor biopic with Jay Z on board to produce.

The Weinstein Company had decided in May to postpone the project, titled “Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said,” after Daniels, the showrunner of Fox’s hit series “Empire,” left the helming gig when he was unable to fit the movie shoot into his schedule. A start date is now set for early 2017.

Harvey Weinstein announced Thursday that the project was back on track. He unveiled the news at a press conference for the upcoming docuseries on Kalief Browder. TWC and Jay Z are teaming up to produce a TV series about the Bronx high school student who killed himself in 2015 after spending three years on Rikers Island for allegedly stealing a backpack.

The movie’s cast had been previously announced as Mike Epps as Pryor, Oprah Winfrey as his grandmother, and Kate Hudson as Pryor’s widow Jennifer Lee Pryor.

The script has been written by Bill Condon. The title of the movie is taken from Pyror’s Grammy-winning live album, released in 1975.

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Daniels worked with TWC on the 2013 film “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” which had a successful run, earning more than $176 million at the worldwide box office.

Pryor broke into the business in the early ’60s and had become the top stand-up comedian in the industry by the early ’70s. He won five Grammys for his comedy albums and starred in several concert films — the most lucrative being 1982’s “Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip,” in which he memorably described catching himself on fire while freebasing cocaine.

Pryor died in 2005 in Los Angeles after suffering a heart attack.

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