A 1990 interview with Eddie Murphy has taken the internet by storm.
Writer Nti Aning tweeted a free-wheeling 1990 Playboy interview by David Rensin with Eddie Murphy. In the interview, Murphy talked about his time filming Coming to America with director John Landis, who he compelled Paramount to hire even though Landis had gone to court for a deadly helicopter crash on the set of his 1982 film, Twilight Zone: The Movie. The crash killed actor Vic Morrow and child actors Myca Dinh Le and Renee Shinn Chen. Both child actors were also hired in violation of California’s child labor laws. Landis and four others, including the pilot and the special effects coordinator, were acquitted of involuntary manslaughter, but the accident led to new safety standards for using helicopters during filming.
When asked by Playboy why he gave the directorial job to Landis instead of directing Coming to America himself, Murphy said, “I wanted to help out…Landis. I figured I’d give this guy a shot because his career was [expletive]. But he wound up [expletive] me.” But, Murphy continued, Landis became a horror on set to Murphy. “As it turned out, John always resented that I hadn’t gone to his Twilight Zone trial. I never knew that; I thought we were cool. But he’d been harboring it for a year. Every now and then, he would make little remarks, like, ‘You didn’t help me out; you don’t realize how close I was to going to jail.’ I never paid any mind.”
“I don’t want to say who was guilty or who was innocent,” Murphy continued regarding Landis’ trial. “But if you’re directing a movie and two kids get their heads chopped off at [expletive] twelve o’clock at night when there ain’t supposed to be kids working, and you said, ‘Action!’ then you have some sort of responsibility. So my principles wouldn’t let me go down there and sit in court. That’s just the way I am.”
Murphy claimed Landis tried to bully him on set, by telling Murphy’s co-star Shari Headley that he was only trying to have a get-to-know-you dinner with the cast to try to sleep with her. He also accosted two of Murphy’s writers on set.
“They were writing a TV show called What’s Alan Watching? that my company was producing,” he said. “They were at our location in New York, and Landis was asking them, ‘Why are you guys here?’ They said, ‘We’re working on something for Eddie.’ And he said…, ‘The production’s not picking that up.’ And they said, ‘No, we’re working through Eddie’s company. Right now we’re waiting for the deal to go through.’ And Landis said, ‘So you’re not being paid yet? That company should be paying you! Don’t come to New York unless you’re being paid.'”
“The whole crew was standing around–extras and actors–and Landis started screaming. ‘Don’t be afraid to ask Eddie Murphy for his money,'” he continued. “You go up and ask for your [expletive] money!’ I walked in and he said, ‘Eddie! Your company is [expletive] these guys out of their money! Guys, don’t be afraid to go up to Eddie and say, ‘[expletive] you!'” He’s screaming about my deal making in front of the cast.”
Murphy said that he “playfully” grabbed him by the throat and put his arm around him before asking one of his people, Fruity, “What happens when people put my business in the street?”
“And Fruity said, ‘they get [expletive] up.’ I was kind of half joking,” said Murphy. He said Landis reached down to grab Murphy’s genitals, “like he also thought it was a joke.”
“[A]nd I cut his wind off,” he said. “He fell down, his face turned red, his eyes watered up…and he ran off set.”
The story continues later when Landis comes to Murphy’s trailer after the incident to make, as Murphy put it, “this big speech.”
“His voice was trembling,” he said. “And it all came out: that he didn’t think I was talented, that the only reason he did Coming to America was for money, that he didn’t respect me since I hadn’t gone to his trial and all this [expletive]..Called me ignorant, an [expletive]…I’m sitting there shattered; I’m thinking, This [expletive] guy. I bent over [expletive] backwards to get this guy a job. He probably won’t even acknowledge what happened. He didn’t realize that his [expletive] career was washed up.”
Murphy said, in expletive-filled language, of course, that the next time he tried something with him, he would beat him up.
“‘Your’e gonna have to give me either some fear or some respect. I want one of them, because this is my [expletive] and you’re working here.”
You can read the entire interview, complete with all of the curse words and Landis’ dig at Michael Jackson, below.
Eddie Murphy did an interview in 1990 about John Landis and COMING TO AMERICA and it is wild. pic.twitter.com/DO9eZsa66H
— Nti Aning (@NtiAning) July 10, 2019
One would think that the Coming to America 2 set will be a lot less traumatic, seeing how Craig Brewer will be helming the film. The sequel will be in theaters in December 18, 2020.