“Tower Heist” star Eddie Murphy, who recently bowed out of the hosting gig for next year’s Oscars, is attached to play scandal-plagued former Washington, D.C. mayor Marion Barry in a biopic that’s being developed by HBO Films, HBO confirms to TheWrap.
Spike Lee will direct the project, while John Ridley (whose resume includes “The Wanda Sykes Show,” the “Barbershop” TV series and “Undercover Brother”) will write the script. Murphy, Lee and Ridley will all serve as executive producers.
The project’s source material will include the 1994 book “Dream City” by Washington, D.C. journalists Harry Jaffe and Tom Sherwood, who will serve as consultants on the project. Also consulting: Dana Flow and Toby Oppenheimer, who made the 2009 documentary “The Nine Lives of Marion Barry.”
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Barry initially served as mayor of D.C. — he was the city’s second mayor — from 1979 to 1991, but his political career was temporarily placed on hold due to a drug scandal during which he was videotaped smoking crack cocaine. After serving six months in federal prison, Barry was elected to the D.C. city council, and was elected mayor again in 1994. He currently serves as a member of the Council for the District of Columbia.