Craig Brewer talks about ‘Coming 2 America,’ new film with Eddie Murphy

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Movie fans listen up — “Coming 2 America,” the long-awaited sequel to Eddie Murphy’s hit 1988 romantic comedy will be released Friday, and the man Murphy entrusted with the task of making movie magic is Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer.

WREG’s Alex Coleman talked one-on-one with Brewer about reuniting with Murphy and the pressure to pull off a stellar and funny sequel.

“I actually think we made a really good movie, which is a celebration not just to the original, but to fans themselves,” Brewer said.

“Coming 2 America” stars Murphy as King Akeem, the ruler of Zamunda, and Arsenio Hall, his best friend and advisor, Semmi.

Brewer, known for his Oscar-winning movie “Hustle and Flow,” and recently Eddie Murphy’s “Dolemite Is My Name,” talked about teaming back up with the comedy icon.

“Eddie was like, ‘What do you think about doing ‘Coming to America 2?’ He had been working on developing a script and I said, I think it’s a great idea.”

He admits making the sequel to a cultural phenomenon was daunting.

“I knew people would have a great time knowing a sequel is coming out and knowing I’d get a lot of threats. ‘Don’t mess up my movie, it’s my favorite movie,’” Brewer said, laughing. 

Set in the lush and fictional country of Zumunda, Akeem and Semmi must travel back to Queens so that Akeem can find his son, the heir to the throne.

The son’s mother is played by former Memphian Leslie Jones.

“I think she’s the kind of character that we all need in our lives and someone who says, ‘I know I had a baby with your man, but why can’t we be friends?” Brewer said.

The new film takes us back to the barbershop where we find Clarence, Saul and Morris the barber.

Arsenio Hall, from left, Eddie Murphy and Clint Smith appear in a scene from “Coming 2 America.” (Quantrell D. Colbert/Paramount Pictures via AP)

Murphy and Hall, under the extensive makeup and wigs, also bring back Rev. Brown and singer Randy Watson and Sexual Chocolate.

“I kinda wish I could go back in time and tell my high school self to hang in there,” Brewer said. “Being a film nerd may not necessarily make you popular but you’re gonna have a great day one day with Randy Watson.”

The film also stars Tracy Morgan, Wesley Snipes and most of the original cast.

“You get that same thrill watching Eddie and Arsenio, John Amos, James Earl Jones, Shari Headley. It’s like all the same cast and they’re doing a fantastic job and it puts big smile on your face,” Brewer said.

The movie gives fans an opportunity to reunite with characters they first met 30 years ago.  

“They loved the fairytale aspect of trying to find true love of not necessarily sticking to old traditions and customs they hold people back.”

“Coming 2 America” arrives only on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, March 5. 

“I want Memphis to watch this movie with that in mind. They’re doing a watch party, Amazon at 7 o’clock Memphis time we’re all starting the movie at the same time and we are all gonna be on Twitter with the hashtag coming2america and we’re all going to enjoying it together,” Brewer said.

Thursday and Friday morning on WREG Live At 9, you can watch the full interview with filmmaker Craig Brewer about directing the Eddie Murphy sequel.

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