Spike Lee and writer John Ridley have signed on to do an HBO biopic of Marion Barry, with Eddie Murphy attached to play Barry. No word on whether Murphy will also play Barry’s Jewish lawyer, his Italian limo driver, and his sassy, 400-pound secretary who constantly argue about boxing, but you’d think that’d be right in his wheelhouse.
Ridley is writing the script based on several pieces of source material, including the 1994 book Dream City by D.C. journalists Harry Jaffe and Tom Sherwood, who will serve as consultants. Lee is on board to direct. The two are executive producing with Murphy. HBO previously developed a Marion Barry biopic a decade ago with Jamie Foxx attached to star and Chris Rock to executive produce, but the project didn’t go forward. Barry, currently a member of the Council of the District Of Columbia, did two terms as a mayor of D.C., from 1979-91 and 1995-99, separated by a six-month stint in federal prison on drug charges that stems from a video of him smoking crack cocaine. [Deadline]
Barry got arrested with a prostitute in his hotel room and went from rising-star politician to prisoner back to mayor again and eventually to City Council. Which sort of mirrors Eddie Murphy’s career path as he went from hot young comedian, then got arrested with a tranny in his car and made Holy Man and Pluto Nash, then starred in The Nutty Professor and Dr. Doolittle on his comeback tour, and eventually ended up in a Brett Ratner film, the movie equivalent of the DC City Council. (I assume the DC Council gets to eat shrimp cocktail at all the official functions).