Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall ‘forced’ to put white actor in Coming to America so film didn’t have all-Black cast

‘They gave me a list with three white guys. They said, ‘Who would you rather work with?’

Isobel Lewis
Wednesday 03 March 2021 10:24
Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall ‘forced’ to cast white actor in Coming to America
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Eddie Murphy says he was forced to cast a white actor in Coming to America so the film didn’t have an all-Black cast.

The comedian starred in the comedy film as an African prince who travels to the US in search of a wife in 1988. A long-awaited sequel titled Coming 2 America is out later this week.

Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! alongside his co-star Arsenio Hall, who will reprise the role of Semmi in the Coming to America sequel, on Monday (1 March), Murphy discussed white comedian Louie Anderson’s appearance as Maurice in the original film.

“I love Louie, but I think we were forced to put Louie in it,” Hall told Kimmel. “We were forced to put [in] a white person.”

Murphy and Hall in Coming to America, released in 1988

“The whole cast was Black and this was back in the Eighties, so it was like ‘We have to have a white person, there has to be a white person in the movie,” Murphy recalled.

Read more: Eddie Murphy says race has ‘never been an issue’ in his career

“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.”

Hall continued: “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.’”

The Independent has contacted Paramount Pictures for comment.

Coming 2 America is released on Friday 5 March on Amazon Prime Video.

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