*Actor Mike Epps will get to play Richard Pryor on the big screen…but not in a biopic of the late comedian as had been planned for years.
The actor is joining the cast of “Nina,” the Nina Simone biopic written and directed by Cynthia Mort. Pryor opened for Simone during early days of the performer’s respective careers.
As previously reported, Zoe Saldana will star as the as the legendary singer and activist — a controversial casting decision that has been criticized since its announcement this summer.
Simone’s daughter, Simone Kelly, a Broadway actress and singer, has also taken issue with the film telling Ebony.com she has been totally left out of the planning and production of the biopic.
“We offered to get involved with all the stuff that we have, from the music, to the pictures, to her writings, to connecting them with the stories of many people who were close to my mother, and we were ignored,” said Simone.
The film is being financed by the UK’s Ealing Studios and begins filming this week in Los Angeles.