When it comes to comedic royalty, Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall are the kings of the multi-performance. With an array of beloved Coming to America characters between them—including but not limited to Prince Akeem, Randy Watson, Semmi and Baba—you never know which of the many faces you’ll see these two actors don next.
In the upcoming sequel Coming 2 America, Murphy and Hall keep that same energy.
In case you didn’t know about the 33-years-in-the-making follow-up, Coming 2 America, here’s the scoop via press release sent to The Root:
Set in the lush and royal country of Zamunda, newly-crowned King Akeem (Eddie Murphy) and his trusted confidante Semmi (Arsenio Hall) embark on an all-new hilarious adventure that has them traversing the globe from their great African nation to the borough of Queens, New York – where it all began. Original cast favorites from Coming to America return including King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones), Queen Lisa (Shari Headley), Cleo McDowell (John Amos), Maurice (Louie Anderson) and the motley barbershop crew. Joining this star-studded ensemble are Wesley Snipes, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, Jermaine Fowler, Bella Murphy, Rotimi, KiKi Layne, Nomzamo Mbatha and Teyana Taylor, making Coming 2 America the most anticipated comedy film of the year.
Coming to America is the type of film that still has fans quoting it over three decades later. Hell, the film is definitely part of the “Black Card” intake process. Some of the most memorable and beloved characters in the film are actually side characters, such as Randy “Sexual Chocolate!” Watson. I recently sat down with Murphy and Hall to reminisce on those characters.
“Those characters that require a lot of makeup, they’re not fun to play because you’re sitting in the makeup chair for five to six hours. The one that’s most fun to play is Akeem because he’s the easiest!” Murphy told The Root. “The ones that get the biggest reaction? Those are not fun, you have to put in so much work...”
Murphy also said that he was originally going to portray the witch doctor Baba, but Hall volunteered for the job. Whew, he was in for a doozy!
“Four o’clock in the morning, you wrap and it takes an hour to get all that stuff off. And then you wake up the next day and there’s little brown glue and stuff all over your pillow and bed. It’s the gift that never stops giving,” Hall laughed. Murphy added with a chuckle that they’d find “sticky shit” even weeks later. As someone who has played masquerade for various carnivals and still recovers feathers and glitter to this very day, I can kind of relate, fellas.
The two men also talked about the significance of filming Coming 2 America at Tyler Perry Studios, including Murphy’s street and John Amos’ experience walking around the lot in awe. Hall was recently in the news recalling on The Jimmy Kimmel Show that Louie Anderson’s participation in the original film was due to studio pressure to cast a white person, so now knowing that context—being able to film the sequel in a Black-owned production studio lot has even more weight.
Coming 2 America will bring Zamunda to Amazon Prime Video when it debuts on Friday, March 5.