Dolemite is his name and fuckin’ up motherfuckas is his game.
Before there was Beyoncé’s Sasha Fierce, there was Rudy Ray Moore’s Dolemite. Now, the eccentric comedian’s real-life story is being told in true blaxploitation fashion with Netflix’s upcoming film, Dolemite Is My Name.
Stung by a string of showbiz failures, floundering comedian Rudy Ray Moore (Academy Award nominee Eddie Murphy) has an epiphany that turns him into a word-of-mouth sensation: step onstage as someone else. Borrowing from the street mythology of 1970s Los Angeles, Moore assumes the persona of Dolemite, a pimp with a cane and an arsenal of obscene fables. However, his ambitions exceed selling bootleg records deemed too racy for mainstream radio stations to play. Moore convinces a social justice-minded dramatist (Keegan-Michael Key) to write his alter ego a film, incorporating kung fu, car chases, and Lady Reed (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), an ex-backup singer who becomes his unexpected comedic foil. Despite clashing with his pretentious director, D’Urville Martin (Wesley Snipes), and countless production hurdles at their studio in the dilapidated Dunbar Hotel, Moore’s Dolemite becomes a runaway box office smash and a defining movie of the Blaxploitation era.
Other than the obvious appeal of Murphy’s big comeback era (seriously, whether it’s the buzz of Coming 2 America or his rumored multi-million dollar Netflix comedy special deal, that nigga is thriving right now), Dolemite will feature an intriguing ensemble cast including Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Snoop Dogg, Ron Cephas Jones, Barry Shabaka Henley, Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris, Luenell and Tasha Smith.
Yeah, I’m sold on the potential outrageous performances alone.
Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) will helm the film, with Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski as the screenwriters.
Dolemite Is My Name struts onto Netflix and into select theaters this fall.
Updated: 8/14/2019, 10:39 a.m. ET: A previous version of this story did not include the screenwriters of the film. It has now been updated to reflect their names.