Nick Cannon went public with his desire for the role, going so far as to grow out his afro and beard to resemble Pryor’s. Although Mike Epps was ultimately chosen for the part, Marlon Wayans was the next big name in the running to portray the iconic comedian.
In his opinion, Chris Rock thought Marlon would’ve been perfect for the role, telling MTV: “Marlon Wayans screen-tested for it, and it was amazing.”
But in a recent interview, Richard’s widow Jennifer Lee Pryor explained why they chose Epps for the film over other actors in the running:
“I think Mike has a rawness about him that is very similar to Richard’s rawness. You know what I mean? Nick is a delightful person; I think he’s a very nice guy and I think the same of Marlon, but I don’t feel their rawness. That’s not an insult, it’s just a fact. Some people look kind of shattered when they walk into a room, and Mike’s got that vulnerability, and you can identify that. Marlon doesn’t have that; nor does Nick.”
Lucky for us, Marlon’s audition tape has leaked. Now, fans get to be the judge on whether or not he should have been the man for the job. The Richard Pryor biopic release date is still unknown.
In the meantime, check out three other celebs who auditioned for a role and didn’t get the part:
Josh Hutcherson auditioned for the role of Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man. The role went to Andrew Garfield.
Jessica Alba auditioned for the leading lady role in Get Smart, which went to Anne Hathaway.
Scarlett Johansson auditioned for the role of Judy in Jumanji. The part went to Kirsten Dunst.