More than 30 years after “Coming To America” was released, the king has returned.
Essence is celebrating the release of “Coming 2 America” with three special covers featuring the stars of the comedy. The anticipated sequel boasts new and returning faces, including Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, KiKi Layne, Jermaine Fowler, and Murphy’s own daughter Bella Murphy.
While it may seem like a long wait for the sequel, Murphy says it was all about getting the timing right, revealing it took “about four or five years” to get the script into shape.
“‘Coming to America’ is one of my films that has really worked its way into the culture,” he tells the magazine. “People get dressed up as the characters for Halloween, and they still walk around saying catchphrases like ‘Sexual Chocolate’. So many people grew up with ‘Coming to America’ and have a lot invested in it, so I didn’t want to taint that.”
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Murphy’s original co-star Hall agrees: “We’ve been pitched all kinds of ideas, but I remember reading the script in Eddie’s backyard and it was all making sense. That’s when I knew that this was going to be the sequel.”
As the sequel fell into place, so, too, did new additions to the cast, including Wesley Snipes.
“I was like, ‘Whatever the role is, I want to be in it.’ Later, I was told that I was going to be a general—but really, I could have played a zebra and been just fine…” Snipes tells Essence.
It’s a sentiment that is echoed by the other newcomers to the cast, with Layne saying she was “interested in showcasing strong Black women— and being a part of this film was an opportunity to play in such a classic world and also to work with straight-up legends, all the way around.”
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And for Bella Murphy, it was the opportunity to share the screen with her dad in her acting debut.
“Being able to do my first film with my dad is really special…I’m over the moon,” the actress says, describing her character as “super-smart, a little bit of a badass, and she’s super-cool.”
Fans of the original movies, like Fowler, can expect plenty of laughs when the now-King of Zamunda returns.
“I just laughed my ass off and thought, All right, let’s do it“, he says of his role in the comedy.
“Coming 2 America” will premiere on Amazon Prime Video Canada on March 5. For more on this interview, visit ESSENCE.com or pick up the March/April issue on newsstands next week.