Posted by | Ray Cornelius
Well, it looks like Mike Epps will finally get his chance to play Richard Pryor after all.
According to Indie Wire, Epps will star as the iconic comedian in Nina, the controversial biopic about jazz and blues singer Nina Simone. The film’s producers are re-creating a moment when Pryor opened for Simone in the 1960s. Apparently, he had stage fright and Simone calmed him down. It is not clear if Epps will have a lot of face time as Pryor in the film or if this is just a small cameo.
Nina tells the story of Simone’s meteoric rise to fame during the Civil Rights era and her relationship with her manager Clifton Henderson. The film has already received negative backlash ever since it was announced that actress Zoe Saldana would be replacing Mary J. Blige as Simone. Many argue that Saldana looks nothing like the singer who was known for her dark brown skin, braided hair, wide nose and full lips.
Others within the black community have blasted the film’s director, Cynthia Mort for casting a light-skinned actress as the legendary singer including Nina’s daughter, Simone. There is even an online petition established by Coffee Rhetoric founder, Tiffani Jones, to have Saldana replace by an actress that actually looks like Simone. It will be interested to see how this film turns out amidst all of the drama. Shooting for Nina begins this week.
Tell us your thoughts about Mike Epps playing Richard Pryor in the Nina Simone biopic!