Fans have been waiting a long time for an Eddie Murphy comeback. In the 1980s, Murphy was both one of Saturday Night Live’s greatest performers and the decade’s top comedy movie star, appearing in such classic movies as Coming to America, Trading Places, 48 Hours and the Beverly Hills Cop series.
Despite occasional bright spots — like Bowfinger and his Oscar-nominated turn in Dreamgirls –– the last two decades have been a fallow period for the now-55-year-old star. Murphy has toggled between family-friendly films (the Shrek series, Imagine That), flops (Meet Dave), and projects that never got off the ground. Now, Murphy’s eying another attempt at a high-profile comeback.
According to Deadline, Murphy is in talks to appear in Soul Soul Soul: The Murray Murray Story, a mockumentary for Netflix. Murphy will star in the film for director Brett Ratner and writer Chris Case. In the film, Murphy would play Murray Murray, “a legendary soul singer from the early 1960s… a legend in his own mind, [Murray] puts his old band back together and tries to take down hip-hop when a hot artist samples his hit song from 1962.”
The role is reminiscent of Murphy’s Dreamgirls performance, one that some might say was the actor’s best of the last 20 years. In that film he played a legendary soul singer from another era, which was itself an echo of his old James Brown impression from his SNL days. Netflix projects have reinvigorated acting careers in the past, so perhaps a move to the streaming service is just what the actor needs.
While the project sounds promising, it still faces some challenges. The basic premise of the film could be considered played out. The battle between generations is certainly an aspect many films have taken in the past, so this venture will need to dig deep to make it seem fresh and relevant rather than a rehash of similar comedies. Meanwhile, the mockumentary subgenre won critical praise recently with Lonely Island’s recent Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, but the film failed to connect with audiences. Moreover, Soul Soul Soul’s Brett Ratner is still a divisive name amongst cinephiles, who despite having hits like Rush Hour and Red Dragon on his resume is most often remembered (especially around these parts) as having directed X-Men: The Last Stand. Still, Murphy and Ratner did work together on Tower Heist in 2011, so perhaps the second time is the charm.
Screen Rant will have more information regarding Soul Soul Soul: The Murray Murray Story as it is made available.