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'We were forced to put in a white person': Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall reveal Paramount Pictures 'made them cast Louie Anderson in the original Coming to America'

 Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall have claimed that Paramount Pictures forced them to cast a white man in their 1988 hit comedy film Coming to America.

The stars of the upcoming sequel, which is titled Coming 2 America, revealed that the edict from the studio is what led comedian Louie Anderson to be cast in the role of Maurice.

‘I love Louie, but I think we were forced to put Louie in it,’ Hall told Jimmy Kimmel Live as he appeared remotely alongside Murphy to promote the highly anticipated sequel, which will be released digitally by Amazon on Friday.

‘We were forced to put in a white person.’

Murphy told Kimmel that Paramount was adamant that the cast of the film, which included James Earl Jones, Shari Headley, John Amos, and Samuel L. Jackson, not be comprised exclusively of African Americans.

COMMENTS ABOUT CASTING OF LOUIE ANDERSON START AT 8:20 MARK 

Coming 2 America stars Eddie Murphy (left) and Arsenio Hall (right) told Jimmy Kimmel Live on Monday that Paramount Pictures 'forced' them to cast a white actor in the original 1988 hit film Coming to America

Coming 2 America stars Eddie Murphy (left) and Arsenio Hall (right) told Jimmy Kimmel Live on Monday that Paramount Pictures 'forced' them to cast a white actor in the original 1988 hit film Coming to America

The duo revealed that the edict from Paramount resulted in comedian Louie Anderson (seen right next to Murphy in a scene from Coming to America) being cast in the original hit film. He played Maurice, the fast food worker at the fictitious McDowell's restaurant

The duo revealed that the edict from Paramount resulted in comedian Louie Anderson (seen right next to Murphy in a scene from Coming to America) being cast in the original hit film. He played Maurice, the fast food worker at the fictitious McDowell's restaurant

Murphy and Hall return as King Akeem (left) and his servant, Semmi (right), in the sequel, Coming 2 America, which debuts on the Amazon Prime streaming service on Friday

Murphy and Hall return as King Akeem (left) and his servant, Semmi (right), in the sequel, Coming 2 America, which debuts on the Amazon Prime streaming service on Friday

Coming 2 America trailer stars Eddie Murphy as King Akeem
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The actor appeared to imply that given it was the late 1980s, the studio felt the film would be more marketable to white audiences if there were a white actor cast in one of the supporting roles.

‘They were like, “There has to be a white person in the movie”,’ said Murphy, who plays the lead role, King Akeem, in the sequel, as well as a host of other characters in disguise.


‘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 said that Paramount gave him a list of three white actors to choose from.

‘It was official,’ said Hall, who will reprise his role in the sequel as Semmi, Akeem's loyal servant. 

Big hit: The original movie earned $128.1 million at the domestic box office, good for the third highest grossing movie of 1988, behind Who Framed Roger Rabbit? ($156.4 million) and Best Picture winner Rain Man ($172.8 million)

Big hit: The original movie earned $128.1 million at the domestic box office, good for the third highest grossing movie of 1988, behind Who Framed Roger Rabbit? ($156.4 million) and Best Picture winner Rain Man ($172.8 million)

Anderson (pictured above in New York in 2019) will also make a cameo in the sequel

Anderson (pictured above in New York in 2019) will also make a cameo in the sequel

‘I had a list. They gave me a list with three white guys.

‘They said, “Who would you rather work with?”

‘I said, “Louie”.’

Kimmel asked Hall to name the other two white actors who were passed over, but Hall declined.

DailyMail.com has reached out to Paramount’s parent company, ViacomCBS, and Anderson’s representatives for comment.

Anderson, 66, portrayed fast food worker Maurice in the original comedy classic.

'You know what I really had fun doing on Tuesday? Shooting Coming 2 America,' Anderson said in August 2019.

When asked who he's playing, Anderson said, 'I can't say,' though it certainly seems likely that he's reprising his role as Maurice, who worked at the McDowell's fast food restaurant alongside Akeem (Murphy) and Semmi (Hall).

'I can't say any specifics because you know I signed a thing, but I can just tell you that Eddie is a great guy, Arsenio,' Anderson said in 2019.

He added that he, 'shot a big scene' while adding, 'if you know the first part I played, it would make sense that that guy might return.'

'I can't say anything except it was a greatest experience, it's such a great movie, people are going to go crazy for it,' he added, before making a bold prediction.

'I think it's gonna do a billion dollars! Honest to God, I think it's gonna do a billion dollars,' Anderson proclaimed.

'It's such a good script,' he added, adding that their costume designer, Ruth E. Carter, recently won an Oscar for her work on Black Panther, predicting she'll 'win another Oscar' for her work in Coming 2 America.

The sequel will also reunite Murphy with his on-screen love interest from the original, Shari Headley, who plays Lisa McDowell

The sequel will also reunite Murphy with his on-screen love interest from the original, Shari Headley, who plays Lisa McDowell

Viewers will also be introduced to Akeem's daughter, played by Kiki Layne (left)

Viewers will also be introduced to Akeem's daughter, played by Kiki Layne (left)

He added that the whole cast, 'really had a blast,' and that he was 'emotionally touched' to be brought on to the cast.

'It was 30 years of full circle. For 30 years, people have been saying to me, "When are they doing Coming to America 2?" So they can stop saying that now,' he added.

Also returning from the original 1988 classic is Headley as Lisa McDowell, the love interest of Murphy's Akeem; Jones as Jaffe Joffer, Akeem's father; Amos as Cleo McDowell, Lisa's father; and Vanessa Bell Calloway as Imani Izzi.

New cast members coming aboard for the sequel include Saturday Night Live alum Leslie Jones, Wesley Snipes, Kiki Layne, Tracy Morgan, and Jermaine Fowler.

Craig Brewer (Hustle and Flow) is directing from a screenplay by Black-ish creator Kenya Barris.

Initially, Paramount set a December 18, 2020 theatrical release date, but then sold the rights to the move to Amazon for $125million in light of the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The original movie earned $128.1million at the domestic box office, good for the third highest grossing movie of 1988, behind Who Framed Roger Rabbit? ($156.4million) and Best Picture winner Rain Man ($172.8 million).  

Coming 2 America reverses the fish-out-of-water plot to bring Queens to Zamunda after Akeem learns he fathered a son (Fowler) on his first visit to New York. 

The sequel wouldn't be complete without scenes from the local barber shop in which Murphy and Hall play several characters at once. Hall is seen left, Kevin T. DeWitt is seen center, and Murphy is seen right

The sequel wouldn't be complete without scenes from the local barber shop in which Murphy and Hall play several characters at once. Hall is seen left, Kevin T. DeWitt is seen center, and Murphy is seen right

At the barber shop, the conversation bounces from Teslas to transgender people

At the barber shop, the conversation bounces from Teslas to transgender people

Some elements have been updated. There's a plot of female empowerment; Layne plays Akeem's daughter. 

At the barbershop, where Murphy and Hall also reprise their characters, the conversation bounces from Teslas to transgender people.

'We had a draft where they had on MAGA hats and they were Republicans,' Murphy told The Associated Press. 

'It was funny but it was like, eh, let's not even go there.'

Instead, Murphy and his collaborators - including writers Barry W. Blaustein, David Sheffield and Barris - felt the core appeal of Coming to America lies in its fairy tale premise.

'This is the only movie I've ever done that had a cult following,' said Murphy. 

'We had totally forgot about Coming to America. Then this movie took on this life in the culture. It became like a cult movie. 

'Lines from the movie became catchphrases. People do the mic drop now. 

'The very first mic drop is Randy Watson from Coming to America.' 

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