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Eddie Murphy Was Forced To Add A White Character To Coming To America

TGO

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Eddie Murphy reveals that Paramount pressured the creators of Coming to America to include a white character in the film. Directed by John Landis, the 1998 romantic comedy starring Murphy was a commercial success, debuting at number one at the box office. It also marked Paramount’s highest-earning film that year. Throughout the past few decades, the film’s popularity has endured, eventually sparking a sequel titled, Coming 2 America, which will be released on Amazon Prime Video on March 5.
The original Coming to America follows Akeem Joffer, the prince of the fictional African country, Zamunda, who travels to the United States in search of a bride. Refusing the wishes of his parents, King Jaffe (James Earl Jones) and Queen Aoleon (Madge Sinclair), who attempt to persuade him to embrace an arranged marriage, he journeys to New York with his personal aide, Semmi (Arsenio Hall). There, he assumes a false identity, searching for someone who will love him regardless of his social status or wealth. He eventually falls in love with Lisa McDowell (Shari Headley), the daughter of Akeem’s new employer, a franchise owner who runs a fast-food chain called McDowell’s. It is at this job that Akeem meets a number of eccentric characters, including his colleague, Maurice, played by comedian Louie Anderson.
According to CinemaBlend, Murphy, while speaking on Jimmy Kimmel Live! with Arsenio Hall, shared that the studio pushed for a white character to join the cast, which was largely comprised of Black actors. Hall noted, “I love Louie, but I think we were forced to put Louie in it. I think we were forced to put in a white person.” Murphy concurred, adding his own explanation for the casting decision:

Paramount was like, because the whole cast was Black and this was back in the ‘80s. So it was like, ‘There has to be a white person in the movie.’ I was like, ‘What?’ So who was the funniest white guy around? We knew Louie was cool, so that's how Louie got in the movie.

Eddie Murphy reveals that Paramount pressured the creators of Coming to America to include a white character in the film. Directed by John Landis, the 1998 romantic comedy starring Murphy was a commercial success, debuting at number one at the box office. It also marked Paramount’s highest-earning film that year. Throughout the past few decades, the film’s popularity has endured, eventually sparking a sequel titled, Coming 2 America, which will be released on Amazon Prime Video on March 5.

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The original Coming to America follows Akeem Joffer, the prince of the fictional African country, Zamunda, who travels to the United States in search of a bride. Refusing the wishes of his parents, King Jaffe (James Earl Jones) and Queen Aoleon (Madge Sinclair), who attempt to persuade him to embrace an arranged marriage, he journeys to New York with his personal aide, Semmi (Arsenio Hall). There, he assumes a false identity, searching for someone who will love him regardless of his social status or wealth. He eventually falls in love with Lisa McDowell (Shari Headley), the daughter of Akeem’s new employer, a franchise owner who runs a fast-food chain called McDowell’s. It is at this job that Akeem meets a number of eccentric characters, including his colleague, Maurice, played by comedian Louie Anderson.


According to CinemaBlend, Murphy, while speaking on Jimmy Kimmel Live! with Arsenio Hall, shared that the studio pushed for a white character to join the cast, which was largely comprised of Black actors. Hall noted, “I love Louie, but I think we were forced to put Louie in it. I think we were forced to put in a white person.” Murphy concurred, adding his own explanation for the casting decision:

Paramount was like, because the whole cast was Black and this was back in the ‘80s. So it was like, ‘There has to be a white person in the movie.’ I was like, ‘What?’ So who was the funniest white guy around? We knew Louie was cool, so that's how Louie got in the movie.

This is far from the first time that studio executives have attempted to reshape a film that heavily focuses on characters of color. During the early-stages of the much-beloved Netflix film, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, author Jenny Han, who wrote the original source material, faced a similar struggle. In an interview, she revealed that producers suggested she alter the lead’s Korean-American ethnicity and instead focus on a white teenager. A similar situation happened to Kevin Kwan, the author of Crazy Rich Asians, while working on the wildly successful film adaptation of the same name. Unfortunately, studio heads are not the only ones. When Halle Bailey was cast to play the lead in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, racist online backlash surfaced in response to the news

In this way, while certainly not surprising, it is still disappointing that Paramount felt compelled to mandate that a white character be added to the storyline of Coming to America. Even now, all-white casts continue to be the norm in the Hollywood industry, perpetuating the idea that these types of stories are “neutral,” while films featuring characters of color must work twice as hard to garner the same level of funding and exposure, because studio executives incorrectly assume they won’t “relate” to mainstream audiences. As has been proven time and again with blockbuster hits like Coming to America, Black Panther, Crazy Rich Asians, and numerous other films, this is far from the truth.

Today they would call that Diversity 🤔
 
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Sevenfold

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This is melting my brain. Who the fuck is Louie?

E: Dammit Louie

 
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OmegaSupreme

basic bitch
Apr 17, 2019
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Black Panther wasn't an all black film either. Martin Freeman was in it prominently.
 

AJUMP23

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Sep 29, 2020
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If there are white people in Coming to America 2, I probably won't watch it.
 

Azzurri

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Jun 13, 2007
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There is no reason for a white dude, unless it's Eddie Murphy playing the white dude. :messenger_tears_of_joy:
 
May 8, 2019
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Why's there a topic on that sloppy, lazy article?



The whole thing was meant as a joke. Why do you guys keep falling for marketing stunt bait that's already been digested and shat out by bad journalists lol
 
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Aug 11, 2019
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Aside from the bathers in he beginning and a few additional fucks, the original isn't too hard-R. Hell if not for the fucks it would even be PG in the early 80s or PG-13 after '84.
Good point. Honestly I haven't watched the original since I was high school so you're probably dead on with this

Watching the new one either way. Shit I would watch it if it were PG out of pure curiosity
 
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quickwhips

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Who cares. This happens the opposite way today. Diversity is stupid but it's not shocking.

I mean talent creates diversity in most job workplaces but in movies especially period pieces is stupid to use diversity.
 
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Wizz-Art

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Aug 20, 2012
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We are not living in the past anymore.

And when they want forced diversity in movies that counts in both ways.
Point is don't force anything in entertainment at all so that it doesn't obviously feel like a "token" character is placed in the movie/tv show because some quotum has to be enforced. Nobody likes being force fed and that goes both ways.
 

GeorgPrime

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Jan 9, 2020
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Point is don't force anything in entertainment at all so that it doesn't obviously feel like a "token" character is placed in the movie/tv show because some quotum has to be enforced. Nobody likes being force fed and that goes both ways.

Tell that the woke people xD
 

Mohonky

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Eddie Murphy should of played the white character just to shit them off