Eddie Murphy is gearing up to take audiences back to the world of Zamunda in the iconic role of Prince Akeem Joffer in the upcoming Coming 2 America. Arsenio Hall is also a part of the sequel, reprising the role of Semmi, Akeem's best friend and aide. In an interview with Complex, Hall revealed the moment he realized he needed to take the legacy of the previous movie extra-seriously thanks to a fan's Tweet.
"When you do something like this, it's really all about storytelling. The story, the continuation of the story, is really perfect and wonderful. I love that. I'm a big social media nut. Eddie's not so much into social media. One day we're sitting at his house, and I'm looking at something. I'm reading different stuff. I guess I said something like, 'Wow.' He said, 'What?' It was somebody tweeting saying, 'Don't y'all fuck it up.' I was like, 'I never thought about it that way.' I never thought [about it like that]. Here's what I got out of the entire tweet: 'That's our movie. My daddy used to make us watch that once a year like The Wizard of Oz at the house. Don't y'all fuck it up...' I had never thought about the fact that it means a lot to people, and they put that in our arms and say, "Care for it and do it right, y'all." That shook me up, but I'll tell you what it did. It made me go read the script three more times in a row and say, "Let me get ready for this shit."
When Coming to America released in theaters back in 1988, telling the story of the crown prince of the fictional African nation of Zamunda, who travels to the United States in the hopes of finding a woman he can marry, there had never been anything quite like it in Hollywood before. Featuring a superstar Black actor in the lead, with a mostly Black supporting cast, and with a backstory that showcased major elements of African culture, Coming to America these days is often described as the Black Panther of its times.
Reading the Tweet from the fan made Arsenio Hall realize that audiences were expecting something more than a regular comedy with Coming 2 America. As such, Hall explained that he and the rest of the cast and crew of the film made a conscious effort to make a film that honors the legacy of Coming to America and adds something new to the mix.
"You want the surprise of the barbers and all that kind of stuff, and how old they are, and what they're doing now, but you also, if you can, want to slide something new in on them. I started looking for that opportunity. Basically, that tweet made me say, 'Get ready, motherfucker. You got to do this.' I wanted to put my foot in this one. Everything worked out good. Everybody brought their A-game every day, giving 100 percent, on time. When you see the outtakes, you'll realize how much fun we had. You'll watch the outtakes and say, 'They shouldn't have even paid them, because they had too much fun. That's not no job.'"
Directed by Craig Brewer, Coming 2 America stars Eddie Murphy as Akeem/Randy, Arsenio Hall as Semmi, Jermaine Fowler as Lavelle, Leslie Jones as Lavelle's mother, Tracy Morgan as Reem, James Earl Jones as Jaffe Joffer and Louie Anderson as Maurice. The film arrives on Amazon Prime Video on March 5, 2021. This news comes from Complex.