Richard Pryor’s Widow Supports Mike Epps in ‘Nina’

backstage at the 43rd NAACP Image Awards on Friday, Feb. 17, 2012, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

By// Mariah Craddick

Richard Pryor’s widow Jennifer Pryor has given comedian Mike Epps her blessing to play her late husband in the upcoming Nina Simone biopic, according to TMZ. Epps reportedly reached out to Mrs. Pryor to get her support before signing on to the role.

“That was very sweet and respectful that he called me first. I am happy that they picked him,” she told TMZ. “He is a real good guy.”

Pryor appreciated the call so much that she’s now considering Epps to play Pryor in a future Richard Pryor biopic, saying he’s one of the few actors capable of an “authentic portrayal.” She also noted that she did not want Eddie Murphy for the part of her husband.

“Having Eddie Murphy play Richard Pryor would be like having Al Jolson play Malcolm X,” she told the site.

The long-awaited Nina film has already suffered a great deal of controversy, notably when actress Zoe Saldana was cast as the leading role. Fans of the late soul singer argued that Saldana did not resemble Nina Simone enough to play the singer on the big screen.

Either way, the movie began filming this week and is slated for release next year.