Eddie Murphy is a Hollywood legend. The man made his bones with comedy classics like TRADING PLACES, BEVERLY HILLS COP, and COMING TO AMERICA. Murphy’s also proven to be quite adept in dramatic roles. He earned an Oscar nomination for 2006’s DREAMGIRLS and this year’s DOLEMITE IS MY NAME may be his most impressive acting work to date. Throw in a triumphant return to Saturday Night Live this past weekend and it’s safe to say that Eddie Murphy still possesses enduring star power.
Yet despite all of his success, Murphy like many actors laments about the role that got away. Whether it’s Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones or Emily Blunt as Black Widow, Hollywood is replete with stories of “what might have been.” Eddie Murphy is no different.
In a recent interview on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, Eddie Murphy discussed a variety of topics including an intense dinner with Marlon Brando and a rollerskating escapade at Prince’s house. Not surprisingly the conversation eventually turned to Murphy’s illustrious film career. Murphy revealed that both Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis wanted him to star in the original GHOSTBUSTERS, however due to a scheduling conflict with BEVERLY HILLS COP he was forced to turn it down. In fact there’s only one movie role that Eddie Murphy ever regrets turning down and it involved a very high-strung animated rabbit:
“The only movie that I have turned down that became a big hit was ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’…I was going to be the Bob Hoskins dude. I was like, what? Animation and people sounds like bullshit to me. Now every time I see it, I feel like an idiot.”
While the concept of Eddie Murphy playing jaded police detective Eddie Valiant is decidedly intriguing, Bob Hoskins’ portrayal is iconic. At this point I can’t imagine anyone else having played that role. I keep trying to picture Eddie Murphy in the part and I just can’t quite get there. It’s like turning the Baby Herman character human and having Robert De Niro play him. Simply inconceivable.
Well despite turning down a part where he would have played opposite a cartoon rabbit, Eddie Murphy‘s since gone on to star in a variety of successful roles. The fifty-eight year old actor shows no signs of slowing down either. He’s got next year’s COMING 2 AMERICA set for release in December, a couple of stand-up specials on the way, and a possible fifth SHREK film in the works. Presently you can catch Murphy in the aforementioned DOLEMITE IS MY NAME currently streaming on Netflix.