Eddie Murphy Could Be Marion Barry

For Spike Lee

Eddie Murphy Could Be Marion Barry

by James White |
Published on

He may have stepped away from hosting the Oscars and, even while he was promoting that gig he talked about taking things easier, but it definitely looks like Eddie Murphy’s ready to move on from family-friendly fare. He’s currently attached to a biopic of controversial Washington mayor Marion Barry, which Spike Lee is developing.

John Ridley, who wrote Red Tails and has worked on the likes of Three Kings and Steve McQueen’s next film, Twelve Years A Slave, is on script duties for the project, being backed by HBO Films.

He’s drawing on several items of source material, including a 1994 book about Barry called Dream City written by Washington journalists Harry Jaffe and Tom Sherwood.

Barry served as mayor of the city between 1979 and 1991 and then again between 1995 and 1999, with the two terms broken up by a six-month jail term after he was videotaped smoking crack cocaine. To this day, he’s still a member of the Council of the District of Columbia, which proves there are some cities where you really have to do bad things not to get re-elected.

HBO planned a version years ago with Jamie Foxx in the Barry role and Chris Rock as a producer, but it stalled in development. There’s no word on when this might get started, but it certainly sounds like a meaty subject for all three to tackle.

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