With Coming 2 America coming out soon, it is the perfect time to revisit a story Eddie Murphy told about the first film’s director, John Landis, that went viral last year. The expletive-filled Playboy brought back a lot of issues that some people may not have known about or had forgotten.
Eddie Murphy helped John Landis get the ‘Coming 2 America’ director’s job
Last year, a writer tweeted screenshots of a 1990 Playboy interview with Eddie Murphy done by David Rensin. Murphy discussed his time filming Coming to America with director John Landis. Murphy actually went to bat for Landis and vouched for him. Paramount tapped him as the director even though Landis had gone to court for a deadly helicopter crash during the filming of his1982 film, Twilight Zone: The Movie. Actor Vic Morrow was killed in the crash alongside child actors Myca Dinh Le and Renee Shinn Chen. It came out that the two child actors were also hired in violation of California’s child labor laws.
Four people, including Landis, the pilot and the special effects coordinator acquitted. Still, this had a major impact on Hollywood as safety standards for using helicopters in the industry were revamped. Murphy explained to Playboy why he wanted the job to go to Landis instead of doing it himself, “I wanted to help out…Landis,” he said. “I figured I’d give this guy a shot because his career was f****d. But he wound up f*****g me.” But, Murphy continued, Landis became a horror on set to Murphy. “As it turned out, John always resented that I hadn’t gone to his Twilight Zone trial. I never knew that; I thought we were cool. But he’d been harboring it for a year. Every now and then, he would make little remarks, like, ‘You didn’t help me out; you don’t realize how close I was to going to jail.’ I never paid any mind.”
“I don’t want to say who was guilty or who was innocent,” he continued. “But if you’re directing a movie and two kids get their heads chopped off at f*****g twelve o’clock at night when there ain’t supposed to be kids working, and you said, ‘Action!’ then you have some sort of responsibility. So my principles wouldn’t let me go down there and sit in court. That’s just the way I am.”
Eddie Murphy detailed his issues with John Landis
Murphy also alleged that Landis was a bully on set and that he tried to bully him. The claims also include that he tried to have a cast dinner so he could try to sleep with star Shari Headley, as well as acosting some of Murphy’s writers.
“They were writing a TV show called What’s Alan Watching? that my company was producing,” Murphy continued. “They were at our location in New York, and Landis was asking them, ‘Why are you guys here?’ They said, ‘We’re working on something for Eddie.’ And he said…, ‘The production’s not picking that up.’ And they said, ‘No, we’re working through Eddie’s company. Right now we’re waiting for the deal to go through.’ And Landis said, ‘So you’re not being paid yet? That company should be paying you! Don’t come to New York unless you’re being paid.’”
He continued, “The whole crew was standing around–extras and actors–and Landis started screaming. ‘Don’t be afraid to ask Eddie Murphy for his money. You go up and ask for your f*****g money!’ I walked in and he said, ‘Eddie! Your company is f*****g these guys out of their money! Guys, don’t be afraid to go up to Eddie and say, ‘F**k you!’ He’s screaming about my deal-making in front of the cast.”
Murphy went on to say that he “playfully” grabbed Landis by the throat before asking someone on his time. “What happens when people put my business in the street?”
Eddie Murphy says he ‘playfully’ grabbed John Landis’ throat
Murphy said that he “playfully” grabbed him by the throat and put his arm around him before asking one of his people, Fruity, “What happens when people put my business in the street?” “And Fruity said, ‘they get f****d up.’ I was kind of half joking,” Murphy continued. “He said Landis reached down to grab Murphy’s genitals, “like he also thought it was a joke. And I cut his wind off,” he said. “He fell down, his face turned red, his eyes watered up…and he ran off set.”
Landis then allegedly went. to Murphy’s trailer after this. “His voice was trembling,” he said. “And it all came out: that he didn’t think I was talented, that the only reason he did Coming to America was for money, that he didn’t respect me since I hadn’t gone to his trial and all this bulls**t…called me ignorant, an a**hole…I’m sitting there shattered; I’m thinking, This f*****g guy. I bent over f*****g backwards to get this guy a job. He probably won’t even acknowledge what happened. He didn’t realize that his f*****g career was washed up.”
It seems like Murphy got his point across. “You’re gonna have to give me either some fear or some respect,” he continued. “I want one of them, because this is my s**t and you’re working here.”
Since Coming to America, Landis later directed Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop III. His most recent directorial effort was the film Burke & Hare. He also directed some episodes of the television series Psych.
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