“I Am Richard Pryor,” a look at a comedy legend who reinvented stand-up with his confessional style of humor, is being produced for Paramount Network. The film follows Richard Pryor as he rises from his impoverished childhood, growing up in a brothel run by his grandmother, to become the highest-paid performer in the entertainment industry. In addition to being a stand-up legend and a keen social critic of race in America, Pryor starred in “Stir Crazy,” “Silver Streak,” and other Hollywood blockbusters.
The film will be executive produced by Jennifer Lee Pryor, the late comic’s wife. It is being backed by filmmaker Derik Murray’s Network Entertainment and is part of the company’s “I Am” series. The documentaries look at celebrities such as Paul Walker, Heath Ledger, and Steve McQueen.
The Pryor film features interviews with comedians, filmmakers, writers, and collaborators including Lily Tomlin, Tiffany Haddish, Michael Epps, Howie Mandel, Sandra Bernhard, and Jimmie Walker. The documentary also includes footage from Pryor’s stand-up specials and appearances and sketches from the likes of “The Richard Pryor Show” and from Tomlin’s television specials.
“From very humble beginnings, my husband lifted himself up and propelled himself through an iconic comedy career during America’s rockiest years, tackling racism, transcending boundaries, finding himself and inspiring many,” said Jennifer Lee Pryor in a statement. “I am confident that Network Entertainment will produce an outstanding film about my husband that does him justice both as a cultural icon and as a man.”
“We are excited that Jennifer Pryor has entrusted us to tell Richard’s incredible yet complicated story,” says Murray in a statement. “We are honored to showcase Richard’s genius while delving deeper into the man whose work established him as one of comedy’s most beloved and courageous icons.”
Jesse James Miller is directing “I Am Richard Pryor” and, along with Murray and Lee Pryor, the documentary is executive produced by Paul Gertz and Kent Wingerak. Paramount Network’s Jon Slusser and Jaimee Kosanke also serve as executive producers. Network Entertainment is repped by UTA.