Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall reprise their beloved characters Prince Akeem and Semmi in the comedy “Coming 2 America.”
It’s been more than 30 years since “Coming To America” hit theaters.
While the film was panned by critics upon its release in 1988, it was loved by viewers and became a box office hit – and later a cult classic that is on the list of must-see movies.
Now a sequel – Coming 2 America – is about to be released, but the film’s star and creator, Eddie Murphy, says he never expected it to happen.
The 59-year-old told Sky News, “I didn’t think at all about making a sequel to this movie because the story ended and they lived happily ever after, that was the end and we went on with our lives.
“But then Coming To America, of all the films I’ve made in the last 40 years, Coming To America is the only one that became something of a cult film.
“They show Coming To America so much on TV, it’s always on TV, and little lines from the movie became catchphrases and the mic drop that Randy Watson did became this thing – people drop the mic, and then [people] started dressing up like the characters on Halloween, and VH1 showed Coming To America 24 hours straight on Christmas.”
Murphy says he realized there was an appetite for more of the story, “The movie became kind of a cult film, and that’s when the idea came to me.
“Twenty-five years later, it was like, wow, if we could find a way to connect those dots, we could do [a] sequel to Coming to America, there are people who would watch that.”
In the sequel, Murphy’s character from the first film, Prince Akeem Joffer, is set to become King of Zamunda when he learns he has a son in America and therefore goes back to the country with his best friend Semmi, played by Arsenio Hall.
Despite the popularity of the original film and the inevitable anticipation for the sequel, Murphy says he doesn’t feel any pressure leading up to the release.
He explained, “You feel pressure when there’s no anticipation.
“I felt pressure right before Pluto Nash came out, not with this movie – if they want to see the movie, that’s a great thing, it’s no pressure at all.
“And there was no pressure in the production of the film either because we worked on the script for so long, it’s like we had it on paper before we started, so I never felt any pressure or anything during production or post-production or while we were waiting for the film to come out.
“What I feel more than anything is that I can’t wait for people to see it because I’m so proud of how the film turned out.”
Alluding to a trophy case Murphy sits in front of during the interview, his co-star Arsenio Hall jokes that it’s easier not to feel pressure when you’re the star of the film.
“All those trophies behind him, that’s why he feels that way!
“I don’t have any trophies behind me, so when one person at the mall said, ‘Don’t screw up our movie,’ I thought, ‘Oh, that’s pressure’ – to me, that’s pressure.”
Murphy admits it’s been interesting to watch the reaction of fans as they wait for the sequel.
“When the trailer came out, not the trailer, the first teaser, it was analyzed by all these people on YouTube, they were like, well, what does this mean?” he says.
“I’m stumbling over how much people who have this cult following, how invested they are in the film, that it has to be a certain way and all that.
“But all of that is exciting because I know we delivered and I knew we wouldn’t make the movie if we couldn’t deliver, and we knocked it out of the park.”
With decades between shooting, the actors for “Coming 2 America” arrived on set with a bit more experience.
But Hall admits there were also times when their age showed, “You know, there’s a moment when Akeem was supposed to kick Semmi, and most of the time he was doing it like a stuntman – pulling his kick,” he said.
“One time he made a mistake and kicked me, and I realized I was 64!
“I was off the next day and I was just lying in bed in the hotel room and [Murphy] had the nerve to text me and say, ‘My foot hurts!'”
Coming 2 America can be seen on Amazon Prime Video beginning March 5.