May 26, 2011 / Filmwell
Kenji Koiso has his summer vacation all planned out: he and his friend Sakuma have …
October 8, 2009
With reports spreading today that Marlon Wayans, not Eddie Murphy, may be playing Richard Pryor in the biopic called Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said?, I’m immediately wondering how director Bill Condon will capture both the heights of hilarity in Pryor’s performances and the depths of sadness in Pryor’s story.
What films have successfully captured both the humor and the darkness that mingle in the stories of so many great comedians? Milos Forman did a surprisingly effective job portraying Andy Kaufman’s brilliant, sad spirit in the underrated Man on the Moon. Maybe that’s the best movie for Condon to consider as he works.
But I’d also recommend, as Condon develops the project, to spend late nights listening to Joe Henry’s heartbreaking song, “Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation.”
Jeffrey Overstreet watches far too many movies, writes film reviews and two weekly columns for ChristianityTodayMovies.com, maintains the Web site LookingCloser.org, contributes to Paste Magazine, and is at work on a series of novels. He works at Seattle Pacific University.