Eddie Murphy & Arsenio Hall Say Paramount Made Them Hire White Actor For ‘Coming To America’ + Murphy Says ‘White Men Run This Business’
Coming To America has been a cult classic since it first premiered in June 1988. As stars Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall gear up for the release of the sequel, they’re revealing secrets about the popular original film.
They said while on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Monday, March 1, that they believe they were forced to bring on Louie Anderson who played Maurice because of Paramount’s effort to include a white actor in the ensemble cast.
Arsenio Hall said,
“I love Louie, but I think we were forced to put Louie in it. We were forced to put in a white person.”
Eddie Murphy added,
“They were 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.”
Arsenio Hall continued and said he was given an actual list of white actors for them to choose from.
“It was official. I had a list. They gave me a list with three white guys. They said, “Who would you rather work with?’ I said Louie.”
It looks like their relationship with Louie Anderson is still going strong as he is also in the sequel, which will premiere on Amazon Prime Friday, March 5th.
In a separate interview, Eddie Murphy spoke on racism in the industry and said not much has changed since the original Coming To America was released more than 30 years ago.
He addressed the lack of diversity in Hollywood and told Radio Times,
“It’s been this way for years and years, but it’s not just African-Americans; it’s also about women and other minorities, too. White men run this business. It’s always been this way.”
He said he hasn’t experienced racism in Hollywood himself, but that he has suffered the inevitable of being a black man in America.
“In terms of my work and my career, race has never been an issue. I’ve been making movies for 40 years and never once could I not get a movie made because I was black. I transcended that stuff. But that’s not to say I walked out of heaven and into Hollywood. I’m a black man who was born in America; I’m African-American. Growing up in this country, there’s no way you’re not going to have to face some s***.”
“Times change and tastes change, but funny is still funny. Right now, we’re going through a period of political correctness and people are a little more uptight about comedy – but there’s no expiration date on funny.”