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Kenya Barris to make his directorial debut with Richard Pryor biopic

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ABC/Image Group LA(LOS ANGELES) — black-ish creator Kenya Barris has signed on to write, produce and direct an upcoming biopic about legendary comedian Richard Pryor.

According to Deadline, Barris will make his directorial feature debut with a yet-to-be-titled project on Pryor that will center on his life, career, and how he become one of the most influential comedians in American history.

“The way Pryor did what he did — with truth and specificity that was somehow self-aware and self-deprecating, and said with an unmatched level of vulnerability — that was the power and impact of his work,” said Barris in a statement. “Pryor had a voice that was distinctly his and, in many ways, comedy since then has been derivative of what he created. To me, this is a film about that voice, the journey that shaped it, and what it took for it to come to be.”

Barris will co-produce the project with Richard Pryor’s widow, Jennifer Lee Pryor.

During his illustrious career, Pryor appeared in over 50 films, had his own TV series — The Richard Pryor Show and Pryor’s Place — and won an Emmy and five Grammys, including a Lifetime Achievement Grammy.  In 1998, he became the first-ever recipient of the annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

Pryor, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1986, died in 2005 at age 65 of a heart attack.

This is the latest project for Barris, who not only created his ABC hit series, black-ish, but also its spinoffs, Freeform’s grown-ish and ABC’s mixed-ish. Barris is also the writer behind HBO Max’s Witchesand the Coming to America sequel, Coming 2 America: The Quest.

By Candice Williams
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