Nick Cannon Explains Why He Should Play Richard Pryor

The actor has been doing Pryor's routines since he was 11, he tells MTV News.

When Nick Cannon revealed a new look recently, it had people wondering: Why the change?

Is it so he can play Richard Pryor in an upcoming biopic?

“I’m doing the work; I’m working right now;” Cannon told MTV News, without fully confirming that he’s been cast in the film. “The movie is not in production. Let’s just say that.”

Earlier this year, it was reported that Lee Daniels was in talks to direct a biopic on the late comedy great. Though details on the movie are still thin, Cannon feels confident that he’s the right man for the role.

“I started in standup doing Richard Pryor’s material in church,” he recalled, adding that his father, a preacher, was a fan. “That was one of my first impressions that I ever knew how to do, is Richard Pryor, at like 11, 12.”

However, according to TMZ, the late comedian’s children think Marlon Wayans, not Cannon, should play their father.

But that kind of doubt is why Cannon is “doing the work.” But what exactly does that mean?

“Now that I am doing a lot of the research, and actually digging really deep and trying to find every piece of work that he ever laid his hands on, it’s like, ‘Oh, this is stuff that’s kind of already in me,’ ” the “Wild N Out” host explained. “Just as an actor, man, it’s things that you do to actually embody something, and figuring out people’s mannerisms…I’ve read every piece of material, every book. And you understand that he’s definitely a complex individual.”

And since Pryor had such an influence on Cannon — who has branched out from standup to acting, hosting TV shows, and now directing, with his new film, “School Dance,” out this week — he wants to the one to honor him.

“To leave such a legacy, and such an enormous body of work, is to be commended, and his story needs to be told the right way. However it comes out, I know they’ll do it the right way.”