"We figured out a way to connect it," Eddie Murphy said of furthering the story of the 1988 comedy classic Coming to America for modern audiences

By Benjamin VanHoose
December 09, 2019 01:30 PM
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Eddie Murphy
| Credit: Michael Kovac/Getty

Eddie Murphy is practically delirious with excitement over his upcoming Coming to America sequel.

More than 30 years after the original hit theaters and became a comedy classic, the actor, 58, is hard at work on production of the follow-up — and as far as Murphy is concerned, so far so good.

“I’m just over the moon with how it’s turned out,” he said of the film’s progress, while in discussion with Antonio Banderas (his former Shrek voice cast mate) for Variety‘s “Actors on Actors” video series.

Saying he and the crew behind the sequel found a “clever way” to update and continue the story of the 1988 original, Murphy expressed that of all the hits in his filmography, Coming to America seems to be the one fans most associate him with.

“I don’t know what it is about that movie, but that’s the one movie that I’ve done that, like, on Halloween people dress up like the characters, and people always say lines from that movie to me,” said Murphy, who also found box office success with franchises like Beverly Hills Cop and The Nutty Professor.

He added: “We figured out a way to connect it, and that’s what we’re doing now.”

Currently titled Coming 2 America and slated for an August 2020 release date, the project sees the return of cast members like Arsenio Hall and James Earl Jones, while Tracy Morgan, Leslie Jones and Wesley Snipes join as new characters.

Murphy reprises his role as Akeem, who in the previous film was a prince from a fictional African nation, going undercover in New York City’s Queens to find a wife he could truly love, joined by his best friend and personal aide, Semmi, played by Hall.

To helm the sequel, Murphy tapped Craig Brewer, the director of his latest film, Dolemite Is My Namea Netflix movie that scored the actor a Golden Globe nomination on Monday for best actor in a comedy.

“It went so well, we just wound up on this next project together,” Murphy said of collaborating with Brewer, who also directed 2005’s Hustle & Flow.

Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall in 1988’s Coming To America
| Credit: Paramount/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

On Instagram during production on the film, Brewer shared his excitement at tackling the much anticipated sequel, captioning a behind-the-scenes set photo, “If I could only go back in time and talk to myself at 16.”

Back in April, Murphy and Hall, 63, teased fans with a glimpse at their costume fitting for the new film. On her Instagram, costume designer Ruth E. Carter posted photos with the two of them, hot off her Academy Award win for her work on Black Panther.

“??GOOD MORNING MY NEIGHBORS! It’s official! Preliminary fitting for Coming to America 2 with Prince Akeem, Semmi and Oscar,” she captioned the photos, which showed the two actors embracing her golden Oscar statuette.

Dolemite Is My Name is now available to stream on Netflix.