Thirty years on, Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall are ‘Coming 2 America’

FILE PHOTO: 25th Critics Choice Awards - Show - Santa Monica, California, U.S.
FILE PHOTO: 25th Critics Choice Awards - Show - Santa Monica, California, U.S., January 12, 2020 - Eddie Murphy accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

March 4, 2021

By Alicia Powell

NEW YORK (Reuters) – More than 30 years after Prince Akeem Joffer and his sidekick Semmi first travelled to the United States to find a royal bride, Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall reprise their roles in comedy sequel “Coming 2 America”.

Murphy, creator and star of the 1988 film – which proved more popular with audiences than critics when it came out – returns to the fictional nation of Zamunda, this time as Akeem prepares to become king.

A father to three daughters in a country where only a male heir can sit on the throne, Akeem finds out he has a son in America and returns to Queens, the New York borough he first visited decades ago, to meet him.

“This movie is like the first movie. It’s (an) all black cast and it’s … not about race, and it’s not about civil unrest or social injustice or there’s no preaching,” Murphy told Reuters in an interview.

“(It) is just total escapism … it’s a movie about family and love and tradition and doing the right thing.”

In the first film, the pampered prince foregoes his luxuries to find a woman who will love him for himself.

Most of the original cast reprise their roles in the sequel, which is released on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, including James Earl Jones as King Jaffe Joffer and Shari Headley as Akeem’s wife Lisa. New faces include Murphy’s daughter Bella Murphy.

“Being on the movie set with my daughter was a big deal for me,” Murphy said.

The 59-year-old and Hall revisit the barber shop scene, a fan favourite from the original movie, where the actors portray multiple ageing characters.

“There is a part three that happens in 16 years,” Murphy said, jokingly leaving the door open for a future film. “I don’t think the barbers will be in this one though.”

(Reporting by Alicia Powell; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Mike Collett-White)