Eddie Murphy is in talks to star in a biopic about controversial US mayor Marion Barry.

The comedian - who recently stepped down from hosting The Oscars - is being attached to the family friendly film about the civil rights activist and politician, in development by Spike Lee.

Democrat part representative Marion served as mayor of Washington D.C. between 1979 and 1991 and became hugely controversial when he was videotaped smoking crack cocaine in 1990, which led to his serving a six month jail term. However, this didn't irreparably damage his career and he was re-elected in 1995 and served as mayor for a second time until 1999.

The Script is being written by John Ridley, who previously worked on 'Three Kings' and is helming Steve McQueen's next project 'Twelve Years a Slave'. He, Eddie and Spike will all be executive producers.

Journalists Harry Jaffe and Tom Sherwood have been hired as consultants for the project, and their 1994 book 'Dream City' is being used a source material, as well as 2009 documentary 'The Nine Lives of Marion Barry'.

Sherwood has said of the project: "It wouldn't just be a caricature of Barry. It would be a real serious look at him."

Almost 10 years ago, HBO also bought the rights to 'Dream City' for a different project, which had Jamie Foxx and Chris Rock attached, although it never materialised.

Marion is still involved in politics as a member of the Washington D.C. council, representing one of its poorest wards.