Coming to America, is coming back! The long-awaited sequel to the famous 1988 movie is premiering on Amazon Prime Video on March 5th. The Knockturnal got a chance to speak exclusively with the stars of the new sequel, arriving 33 years after its predecessor Coming to America.
This film reunites the original cast members Eddie Murphy, Arsenio, James Earl Jones etc. with new stars like Rotimi and Teyana Taylor. We spoke with Arsenio Hall, notably known for The Arsenio Hall Show which ran from 1989 to 1994. Hall plays “Semmi” in both original and sequel, the assistant and best friend to Prince Akeem played by Eddie Murphy. Hall says that he knew another film would happen; he just wasn’t sure when. “We always thought, there was one movie that would remain,” Hall says “Then, story [and] writing. You know what that’s all about. You hear an idea and the original writers craft an incredible story and before you know it Kenya Barris is working on taking that story and giving it everything from more humor to female empowerment. Hall admits he and Eddie Murphy had their skepticism about making a sequel to the legendary film. “He had told me not to read it [the script] at first because he didn’t like it and it needed work. It took four years for the script to evolve to him saying ‘read it now man, I love it’”.
In the sequel, Semmi still has the same zest for life, quick-witted responses and the ability to draw laughter from the audience. Hall says this is the first of many projects and he’s back working. “Here I am back, trying to play barbers, preachers and 100 year old witch doctors.”
A new character emerges in this movie, 32- year old actor, singer/songwriter, Rotimi. Rotimi plays “Pretty Iddi”, the son of the now King Akeem’s nemesis. Although a brief role, Rotimi says he enjoyed working with legends like Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall and Wesley Snipes. “You know it [filming] was humbling, it’s so many things. It’s humbling, it’s motivating, it’s inspiring. It’s like, you want to be that…I had the luxury of working hand in hand with Wesley Snipes, who I think is one of the most talented actors of all time.” In the sequel, Iddi’s father – general Izzy, is played by Wesley Snipes. General Izzy plays a comedic general of a neighboring African country rivaling Zumunda’s government trying to do everything in his power to undermine it. Snipes fit the role, speaking to The Knockturnal in a perfectly crafted African accent about if the fictional African country would have better Jallof, a popular West African rice dish. “Well you know if you put some fish, some pepper fish in it then it’s okay. You put some fish, some tomato, and some onion, then it’s okay. But Nextdoria is seriously number one.”
You can watch Coming 2 America on Amazon Prime Video on March 5th.