Although Eddie Murphy’s name still carries weight in the Hollywood sphere, it’s been a while since he’s been directly in the public eye, but that’s soon changing. Along with Coming to America 2 arriving in December 2020, last year he struck up a partnership with Netflix to start in Dolemite Is My Name, the biographical comedy about comedian and actor Rudy Ray Moore.
Now you can watch the first trailer for this Netflix original that shows off Murphy alongside a heavy-hitting cast. Take a look!
As you can see, Netflix, Eddie Murphy (who also produced the movie) and director Craig Brewer (who’s also working with Murphy on Coming to America 2) did not skimp on the talent for Dolemite Is My Name. Murphy is accompanied by the likes of Wesley Snipes, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Titus Burgess, Da’vine Joy Randolph and Snoop Dog, as well as T.I., Chris Rock and Ron Cephas Jones, who weren’t present in this trailer.
Wow, what a stacked lineup!
As for the premise, Dolemite Is My Name (written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski) follows Rudy Ray Moore’s journey to becoming a comedy star, initially hoping to accomplish that by putting out a comedy record. To that end, he creates the pimp character Dolemite, who loves to rhyme and spout out raunchy routines (“Dolemite is my name, and fucking up motherfuckers is my game!”).
Unfortunately for Rudy Ray Moore, while folks seem to like his live Dolemite shows, when it comes time to put out that comedy record, naturally it’s incredibly difficult to sell and promote in 1970s America given the filthy material. Not to be deterred, Mr. Moore decides to bring Dolemite to a cinematic setting, though that’s hardly an easy endeavor either. For instance, the only way he can gets Wesley Snipes’ D’Urville Martin to come aboard is if he also gets to direct.
From the blaxploitation to the kung-fu action, both of which were all the rage in the ‘70s, those Dolemite movies are wild, though hardly fine examples of smooth productions. In any case, it’s good to see Eddie Murphy back in a comedic role that simultaneously shines a light on a 20th century entertainer some folks might not have heard of before.
It’s safe to say that Netflix has had a mixed record when it comes to its original movies, certainly when compared to its TV offerings. Still, Dolemite Is My Name looks to be something special, and if it ends up being critically well-received, perhaps this could translate to awards consideration, namely for Eddie Murphy. He was previously nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as James “Thunder” Early in 2006’s Dreamgirls.
Dolemite Is My Name doesn’t have an official Netflix release date yet, but it will premiere on the streaming service and in select theaters this fall, as well as be shown at the Toronto International Film Festival next month. If you’re curious about what’s hitting the big screen for the rest of the year, look through our 2019 release schedule.
After premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival at the beginning of September and getting a limited theatrical release earlier this month, Dolemite Is My Name, Eddie Murphy’s first R-rated comedy in 20 years, is finally available on Netflix for all to enjoy. While Murphy is front and center in this hilarious biopic about filmmaker Rudy Ray Moore, he and the other talent want to make sure that people know this movie wouldn’t exist without his late brother, Charlie Murphy.
As such, Dolemite Is My Name includes a dedication to Charlie Murphy, who passed away from leukemia in 2017. Here’s what director Craig Brewer had to say about making sure Eddie Murphy’s brother was properly recognized:
For those unaware, ‘Signifying Monkey’ refers to the famous speech that Rudy Ray Moore gave in the original Dolemite, which came out in 1975. Dolemite Is My Name chronicles Moore’s rise to stardom and the making of that blaxploitation movie, but it this project wouldn’t have gotten off the ground if he hadn’t heard the Charlie Murphy interview.
As far as Eddie Murphy’s concerned, he remembers Charlie Murphy constantly quoting Rudy Ray Moore’s lines from the Dolemite movies when they were growing up. Decades later, with Murphy now a bonafide movie star, he wanted to delve into Moore’s life on the big screen, and after spending over a decade in development, the fruits of that particular labor are finally on display to the public.
Charlie Murphy was a comedy powerhouse in his own right, with his most notable credits including Chappelle’s Show, The Boondocks and Black Jesus. Charlie also appeared in two of Eddie Murphy’s movies, Harlem Nights and Norbit. While Charlie’s level of fame never reached the heights that his brother’s did, Craig Brewer wants people watching Dolemite Is My Name to know that he was nonetheless talented. Continuing in his interview with Business Insider, Brewer said:
Co-starring alongside Eddie Murphy in Dolemite Is My Name are Wesley Snipes, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Titus Burgess and Aleksandar Filimonovi, among others. Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski wrote the script. The movie ranks at an astounding 98% among critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
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