According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lee Daniels has dropped out of directing The Weinstein Company’s long-in-the-works Richard Pryor biopic. Daniels is an executive producer on Empire and is developing another show at Fox on top of that, which has apparently made him very busy, so the studio reportedly “declined to wait further for Daniels’ schedule to clear up.” That makes this a twist on the classic “scheduling conflicts” excuse that actors and directors give when quitting a project, since this time it was the studio that had a problem with Daniels’ schedule instead of Daniels himself.
It’s easy to see why the studio is so eager to get this made, though, since a number of big-names are already attached to star. Mike Epps is set to play Pryor, Oprah Winfrey is playing his grandmother, Kate Hudson is playing Jennifer Lee Pryor (his widow), and Eddie Murphy is set to play his father, LeRoy Pryor. (The THR story doesn’t mention Murphy, though, so he may have dropped out as well.)