As the release of the highly-anticipated sequel to the 1988 classic “Coming to America” draws closer. The movie’s stars Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall, reveal new details regarding the original movie’s cast. The LA Times reported that Murphy and Hall told Jimmy Kimmel that Paramount Pictures insisted that the film have a white character.
Comedian Louie Anderson portrayed Maurice, the seemingly out-of-place white fast-food worker at the fictional McDowell’s restaurant.
The two men talked about the awkward ask from the studio.
“I love Louie, but I think we were forced to put Louie in it,” Hall divulged “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” “We were forced to put a white person.”
“[T]he whole cast is Black — and this was back in the ’80s — so [Paramount] was like, ‘We have to have a white person! There has to be a white person in the movie,’” Murphy added. “So it was, ‘Who’s the funniest white guy around?’ And Louie, we knew him. We was cool with him. So that’s how Louie got in the movie.”
Hall elaborated even further, telling Kimmel that Paramount gave him a list of three white performers to choose from.
“Who would you rather work with,” he said the studio asked.
Kimmel asked if he remembered the other two options. Hall laughed and said, “Oh, yeah. But I can’t say.”
On Feb.24, Anderson wrote a funny joke on Twitter after hearing the same anecdote, implying that he just found out the movie fact that day — or he was being sarcastic.
“Wait, what,” he penned.
— Louie Anderson (@LouieAnderson) February 24, 2021
“Coming 2 America,” the sequel, reprises the roles of Prince Akeem and Semmi– played by Hall and Murphy. The majestic saga will continue as the duo returns to Queens to find Akeem’s male heir.
“Coming 2 America” debuts this Friday on Amazon Prime.