- Associated Press - Friday, December 9, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) - Eddie Murphy may soon play a more serious role, starring as former Washington Mayor Marion Barry in an HBO film project.

Washington journalists Tom Sherwood and Harry Jaffe have optioned the rights for their 1994 book “Dream City: Race, Power and the Decline of Washington, D.C.” Sherwood said Friday that they have a separate contract with HBO to consult on a project if their book is adapted.

An HBO spokeswoman said Friday that the network is working with director Spike Lee and Murphy on the project, though she said it’s in the early stages of development. Lee would direct the project, and Murphy would play the role of Barry.

Nearly 10 years ago, HBO also bought the rights to “Dream City” for a different project, but it was never produced.