Check out the recap of the virtual press conference featuring the cast of Coming 2 America, the long-awaited sequel to the classic film Coming to America!
It’s been thirty-three years since the world was first introduced to the world of Zamunda and Prince Akeem Joffer in the comedy Coming to America. Now after a delayed release due to the Covid-19 pandemic the long-awaited sequel titled Coming 2 America will debut on Amazon next month (March 5th), in which the Coming to America leading cast Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Shari Headley, James Earl Jones, John Amos, Vanessa Bell Calloway, and others are reprising their roles, while joined by new characters played by Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Wesley Snipes, Tracy Morgan, Teyana Taylor, Luenell and Nomzamo Mbatha.
The sequel follows Murphy’s Prince Akeem’s journey back to America to find his long-lost son played by Fowler leading to a story of father and son bonding and familial discovery. The cast took part in a virtual press conference to discuss the film.
Murphy who is also the Executive Producer of the film said during the conference of finally getting things right with the sequel, “Well it was maybe three drafts of the script in we got it to where the structure and narrative thread was strong enough [to say okay we have a movie here] now we just have to bring a younger writer in and put that modern spin on it. Enter Kenya Barris.” Aside from playing Prince Akeem as in the first film Murphy is portraying multiple characters from the original. Murphy also spoke about easing the burden of playing multiple characters by passing on one extra character to his co-star saying, “Originally I was gonna play the Witch Doctor and I was gonna play Wesley’s character the General Izzi. But then I started thinking how long it would be to do all these makeups and the Witchdoctor would take six hours to do. Then Arsenio[Hall] was like I’ll do it. So we’re doing the movie and one night after everybody was leaving he had that makeup on for six hours and it was 4:30 in the morning and he had two hours of breakdown, they had to take it off for two hours and he’s sitting in the makeup chair and he had a tissue and I said what’s wrong. He said my eye is tearing. He was crying, he had the contact lens in and he was crying at Tyler Perry Studios at 4:30 in the morning.”
While Murphy and Hall had a lot to share about getting back into character after thirty years, the newcomers to the series had a lot to share about their early memories of the original film as well as the themes this time around for the sequel. Jermaine Fowler who plays Prince Akeem’s long-lost son in the sequel said about his favorite memory from the original, “It’s gotta be Clarence. All the barbershop scenes, those are a staple for me. I quote them all the time, him getting punched in the chest because MLK thought he was someone else.” Tracy Morgan who was added to the sequel chimed in that his favorite part of the original film is when Prince Akeem’s mother told King Jaffe Joffer (played by James Earl Jones) to put a sock in it. Touching upon the themes in Coming 2 America, Nomzamo Mbatha who plays Mirembe spoke about Craig Brewer’s direction giving agency to women in the film to express female empowerment and give a voice to women while being able to bring her background as a native African woman to the role.
Speaking on her experience joining the iconic cast Leslie Jones said, “Well first of all I don’t know what comedian didn’t write themselves into the original Coming to America so I was already in the movie. I had done a whole different character, I was like Samuel L. Jackson’s sister and we decided to get a job at McDowell’s but they decided to write it this way. That’s cool it worked out anyway. The first day of shooting for me was the day that put the goosebumps on me when Eddie walked in dressed like a king. It was almost like the movie had just continued like he walked in like he had just walked off another scene from the original movie. And that’s when it really started becoming really real.”
As for the film series enduring legacy Murphy said, “The original Coming to America the very first one is the first movie in the history of movies that had a black cast that was successful all around the world. The very first one ever and there are just a handful of movies that have had an all-black cast that has been successful around the world. It’s actually, you can count them on one hand and you’ll have fingers left over and two of those movies are Coming to America and Coming 2 America. The legacy of this movie is it’s accessible to all audiences. The reason why our movies don’t go around the world is because our story is provocative to us. Most of our movies shine a light on some social injustice or civil unrest. Coming 2 America is not about any of those things it’s about family and love, and doing the right thing and tradition. That’s what the movie is about, and these amazing images of black kings and queens and princesses. Black Panther did it, it’s the second movie that had black kings the very first one is Coming to America and the third one is Coming 2 America; the only time we’re seen like this [with] just some people in the movie telling this story about human being stuff that everybody can relate to. The themes are timeless, love and marrying someone who you really love. Fiddler on the Roof has a lot of stuff that’s similar themes to Coming to America.”