Paramount Network today announced the 2019 film slate for its award-winning I Am documentary franchise. Produced by filmmaker Derik Murray’s Network Entertainment, the three new chapters of the critically-acclaimed franchise will feature Richard Pryor, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Patrick Swayze. These three iconic figures join the prestigious roster who have been featured in past I Am documentaries, including John F. Kennedy Jr., Martin Luther King Jr., Bruce Lee, Steve McQueen, Evel Knievel, Heath Ledger, Paul Walker, Sam Kinison and Chris Farley. I Am Richard Pryor, the first of the three 2019 installments, will make its world premiere at South by Southwest Film Festival on Tuesday, March 12, and will debut on Paramount Network on Friday, March 15 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. Premiere dates for the Jackie O and Patrick Swayze documentaries will be announced at a later date.
I Am Richard Pryor explores and celebrates the life and career of the iconic comedian who lifted himself out of poverty to achieve worldwide success. From his first comedy album until his death of a heart attack in 2005, the revolutionary stand-up comedian dispensed what critics regarded as the most poignant and penetrating comedic view of African-American life ever afforded to the U.S. at large. Volatile yet vulnerable, crass but sensitive, streetwise and cocky, Pryor did not simply tell stories, he brought them to life and was considered a trailblazer for generations of comics to come. The film explores his unusually personal art that was a window into a vulnerable soul, as well as the endless struggle to extend dignity and equality to all.
I Am Richard Pryor includes exclusive interviews with comedians, filmmakers, family, and friends including Sandra Bernhard, Ron De Blasio, Dr. Todd Boyd, Michael Epps, Tiffany Haddish, Henry Jaglom, Howie Mandel, Thom Mount, Ishmael Reed, Scott Saul, Michael Schultz, Greg Tate, Lily Tomlin, Rocco Urbisci, Jimmie Walker, and Jennifer Pryor, who is also featured, and during a moving and poignant moment in the documentary, uniquely honors the life of her husband.
“We are thrilled to bring the stories of these three incredible icons to Paramount Network through the I Am franchise,” said Keith Cox, President, Development and Production, Paramount Network and TV Land. “It’s truly an honor to pay homage to this group of extraordinary people through these inspiring films. We couldn’t be more excited with their inclusion on our 2019 documentary slate.”
“We are committed to delivering an authentic and entertaining portrayal of each of the icons we are honored to portray in our ongoing I Am series of documentary features. Every one of our iconic subjects has made their personal mark on history, and along the way has captured the hearts and minds of audiences and fans around the world,” said Derik Murray, Network Entertainment’s Founder/Producer. “I Am Richard Pryor was made possible by Jennifer Pryor’s resolute conviction to tell Richard’s story with a foundation of truth and respect for his massive legacy. Alongside Jennifer’s revealing interview, we have assembled a brilliant cast that blows open the door on a complex and gifted artist whose profound impact lives on.”
The documentary, directed by Jesse James Miller, is the latest from Network Entertainment’s award-winning filmmaker Derik Murray, who has previously produced films on epochal figures such as John F. Kennedy Jr., Martin Luther King Jr., Heath Ledger, Bruce Lee, Paul Walker, and Chris Farley.