Thandie Newton claims that Eddie Murphy was hardly ever on the set of 2007's Norbit. The actress opened up about a variety of topics in a new interview, including working with Tom Cruise on Mission: Impossible 2. While Murphy reportedly wasn't around, it sounds like Newton would have preferred Cruise took the same road since they really didn't get along too well. Murphy and Cruise are superstars, so it's not surprising that they might have some different approaches to their respective crafts.
In order to get the role of Kate Thomas in Norbit, Thandie Newton had to jump through some hoops. Apparently the producers weren't sure that she could give the comedic performance that the part demanded. In the end, Newton was able to win them over and looked forward to working with Eddie Murphy. She had this to say about "working" with Murphy on Norbit.
"The only movie my kids have seen that I'm in. They made me jump through hoops for it, too. 'Can you really be funny?'...I remember when we first did it, the background to Eddie writing the script was that he found himself watching these online home movies where really large women, African-American women, would beat up their tiny husbands... Eddie found them hilarious... Eddie was hardly ever there, which was really sad. He has the best stand-ins you've ever seen. Literally, from five feet away, you would think they were Eddie. I think I probably did most of the movie with his stand-ins."
Norbit was not received well by critics upon its release. Eddie Murphy earned three Golden Raspberry Awards, out of the movie's eight total nominations. While it was roasted by critics, the comedy received an Academy Award nomination for Best Makeup, which blew a lot of people away at the time. Despite the negative reviews, Norbit was a commercial success, earning a total of $159 million worldwide, against an initial production budget of $60 million.
Since Norbit's theatrical run, the comedy has become a cult classic. Eddie Murphy wrote the story with brother Charlie Murphy, who sadly passed away in 2017. The screenplay was written by the Murphy brothers along with Jay Scherick and David Ronn. Even with the cult following and the writing talent behind it, the comedy currently has a 9% Fresh Rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
While Norbit isn't the greatest comedy Eddie Murphy put out, it still has a cult audience. Fans of the movie might go back to watch to see if they can point out where Murphy was portrayed by a stand-in, like going back to watch Back to the Future to spot Eric Stoltz frames. Whatever the case may be, Thandie Newton is at the top of her game at the moment, thanks in part to her role on HBO's hit series Westworld. The interview with Thandie Newton was originally conducted by Vulture.