Casting Net: Mike Epps may play Richard Pryor in Lee Daniels' biopic

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Image Credit: Mike Pont/FilmMagic

• It looks like Mike Epps may finally get the chance to play legendary stand-up comedian Richard Pryor after all. The comic has emerged as the front-runner to play the part in a biopic for The Weinstein Company directed by Lee Daniels (The Butler). Epps was previously signed on to play Pryor back in 2005 and met with the late comedian while he was still alive to prepare for the role, but that project fell through. Epps reportedly beat out actors Michael B. Jordan, Nick Cannon, and Marlon Wayans after Wayans had also been previously attached to another Pryor film, this one directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) at Sony. Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway are among the names in consideration to play Jennifer Lee Pryor, Richard’s widow, in the film. [Deadline]

• Tom Hiddleston is in early talks to take on the title role in the epic remake of Ben-Hur. The Thor star would play Judah Ben-Hur, the part originated by Charlton Heston in the 1959 original, in the film directed by Timur Bekmambetov (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) set for a Feb. 26, 2016 release. Oscar-winner John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) has written the latest draft of the script, once again based on the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ. [Deadline]

• Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner has been cast as Mary Shelley in Mary Shelley’s Monster, a new film about the life of the author who created Frankenstein. Turner will star opposite Jeremy Irvine (War Horse) as Percy Shelley and Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story) as Mary’s stepsister Claire Clairmont in the film directed by Coky Giedroyc (Penny Dreadful) with a script by Deborah Baxtrom. [Deadline]

• Jordi Molla (Riddick) has joined the cast of Criminal, the CIA thriller starring Kevin CostnerRyan Reynolds, and Tommy Lee Jones. Molla will play the anarchistic assassin Hagbardaka Heimbahl in the film directed by Ariel Vromen (The Iceman). [The Wrap]

• Maika Monroe (Labor Day) will play a tough and capable girl with a gun in the YA alien invasion film The 5th Wave. Monroe will star opposite Chloe Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson (The Kings of Summer), and Alex Roe (The Fugitives) in the adaptation of Rick Yancey’s 2013 novel. Liev Schreiber is also in talks to play the villain in the movie directed by J Blakeson (The Disappearance of Alice Creed) and written by Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) about the last surviving humans on a planet destroyed by a series of alien attacks. [The Wrap]

• Andrew Simpson (Notes on a Scandal) and Josephine de la Baume (Rush) will play a young couple in the French-English suspense thriller Road Games. The film set in rural France about a chance encounter between the pair and a mysterious married couple will mark the feature debut of British director Abner PastollFrederic Pierrot (The Returned), Barbara Crampton (You’re Next), and Feodor Atkine (Populaire) complete the cast. [Variety]

• Kathryn Morris (Cold Case) has joined Sanaa Lathan and Michael Ealy in the thriller The Perfect Guy. Morris will play a friend and confidante to Lathan’s character, a woman stalked by her sociopathic ex (Ealy). Morris Chestnut and True Blood‘s Rutina Wesley will also star in the film from director David M. Rosenthal and writer Tyger Williams. [Deadline]

• Jim Klock (True Detective) will appear in the courtroom drama The Whole Truth starring Keanu Reeves. The film from director Courtney Hunt (Frozen River) and writer Nicholas Kazan (Enough) follows an attorney (Reeves) representing a teen accused of killing his wealthy father. Klock will play the prosecutor going against the teen, played by The Big C‘s Gabriel Basso. [Deadline]

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