It’s an old adage that it is always better to be late than to never arrive. We may very well see that accepted wisdom tested as the long, long, long belated sequel to Eddie Murphy’s comedy classic, Coming to America, moves forward at Paramount. Back in the spring, The Tracking Board broke the news that the studio has tapped Barry Blaustein and David Sheffield, two of the three writers on the 1988 comedy classic (the third being Murphy himself), to write Coming to America 2. Now The Hollywood Reporter has word that Black-ish creator Kenya Barris will re-write their screenplay with Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies, 50/50) coming on board to direct.
Currently, there are no details on the sequel other than Kevin Mishner is producing and that Murphy is expected to take a starring role in Coming to America 2. Just speculation, but it is easy to imagine that Murphy’s lovable Prince Akeem is now a ruler himself in the fictional land of Zamunda, and he has a son who might be in need to sow his oats in the United States.
In the original film, which was directed by ‘80s comedy stalwart John Landis (The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London, Trading Places), Murphy played a fresh-faced Prince Akeem, son of King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones). Along with his personal assistant Semmi (Arsenio Hall), Akeem travels to the only place in America perfect for finding a modern 20th century girl destined for monarchy: Queens, New York. Once in the outer-borough plenty of fish out of water comedy ensues that includes Murphy and Hall first doing the “multiple roles” shtick that would become synonymous with the former’s later comedy movies, as well as playing off John Amos, Shari Headley, Paul Bates, and a then very-unknown Samuel L. Jackson.
Presumably a lot of the humor, very much a product of 1980s sensibilities, will have to be updated for the 21st century.