Eddie Murphy is plotting a movie comeback- as one of his most famous characters.
Murphy will star in a sequel to Coming to America, his comedy hit from 1988, Deadline reported Friday. Craig Brewer, of Hustle and Flow, will direct, stepping in for John Landis, who directed the original.
Brewer also directed Murphy in the forthcoming film Dolemite Is My Name.
The original Coming to America came during Murphy’s run as a major movie star in the 1980s. In that film, Murphy starred as Prince Akeem of the fictional African nation Zamunda, who decides to visit New York and search for a bride. In the film, both Murphy and co-star Arsenio Hall played multiple characters behind heavy makeup.
Kenya Barris, the creator of the sitcom Black-ish and also wrote the big hit Girls Trip, will re-write a script by original Coming To America writers Barry Blaustein and David Sheffield.
The plot, according to Deadline, is that “Akeem learns about a long lost son, and must return to America to meet his unlikely heir to the throne of Zamunda.” The film plans to bring back the cast of the original, including Hall, James Earl Jones, John Amos, and Shari Headley.
Murphy’s movie career has been largely dormant in recent years. His only big-screen credit in the last five years is the little-seen 2016 comedy/drama Mr. Church, although a sequel to Beverly Hills Cop has been rumored as in the works for quite a long time, ever since a TV spinoff version didn’t go forward in 2013. In Dolemite Is My Name, which is expected to arrive this year, Murphy plays Rudy Ray Moore, whose Dolemite persona was featured in blaxploitation movies in the 1970s.
The producers of the Coming to America sequel plan to start production this year, Deadline said.
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) January 11, 2019
“After many years of anticipation, I’m thrilled that Coming to America 2 is officially moving forward,” Murphy said in a statement cited by Deadline. “We’ve assembled a great team that will be led by Craig Brewer, who just did an amazing job on Dolemite, and I’m looking forward to bringing all these classic and beloved characters back to the big screen.”
The new film will arrive more than 30 years after the original, but the first was a major hit that has resonated ever since. In addition, the biggest box office hit of 2018, Black Panther, was another film in which the hero was the prince of a fictional African nation.