Netflix has released the Dolemite Is My Name trailer. Directed by Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) and written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (The People vs. O.J. Simpson), the film follows struggling comedian Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy), who comes up with the comic persona Dolemite and works to become a Blaxploitation success at the box office.
It’s been a minute since Eddie Murphy led a great movie (I’d say you’d have to go all the way back to 1999 with Bowfinger), but this looks like a terrific role for the actor and an interesting story. It seems like the film has shades of Mario Van Peebles’ Baadasssss!, which was about the making of Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. I think Brewer is an underrated talent, and I’m eager to see what he does here with the material, especially since it’s from strong writers like Alexander and Karaszewski, who tend to find compelling stories about unusual figures like Ed Wood and Larry Flynt. I’ll definitely be checking out this film when it comes to TIFF next month.
Check out the Dolemite Is My Name trailer below. The film arrives on Netflix and in theaters this fall and also stars Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Kodi Smit-Mcphee, Snoop Dogg, Ron Cephas Jones, Barry Shabaka Henley, Tip ‘TI’ Harris, Luenell, Tasha Smith, and Wesley Snipes.
Here’s the official synopsis for Dolemite Is My Name:
Stung by a string of showbiz failures, floundering comedian Rudy Ray Moore (Academy Award nominee Eddie Murphy) has an epiphany that turns him into a word-of-mouth sensation: step onstage as someone else. Borrowing from the street mythology of 1970s Los Angeles, Moore assumes the persona of Dolemite, a pimp with a cane and an arsenal of obscene fables. However, his ambitions exceed selling bootleg records deemed too racy for mainstream radio stations to play. Moore convinces a social justice-minded dramatist (Keegan-Michael Key) to write his alter ego a film, incorporating kung fu, car chases, and Lady Reed (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), an ex-backup singer who becomes his unexpected comedic foil. Despite clashing with his pretentious director, D’Urville Martin (Wesley Snipes), and countless production hurdles at their studio in the dilapidated Dunbar Hotel, Moore’s Dolemite becomes a runaway box office smash and a defining movie of the Blaxploitation era.
Comics and rappers have praised Moore as a pioneering influence over the past few decades, and Dolemite Is My Name is a hilarious celebration of a singular talent who made his own legend. From director Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Empire); Emmy and Golden Globe-winning writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (Ed Wood, The People vs. O.J. Simpson); and the producing team of Oscar and Golden Globe nominee John Davis (Ferdinand, Joy), Golden Globe nominee John Fox (Joy) and Murphy; the film features an all-star supporting cast — including Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Snoop Dogg, Ron Cephas Jones, Barry Shabaka Henley, Tip ‘TI’ Harris, Luenell, Tasha Smith — plus costumes designed by Academy Award winner Ruth E. Carter (Black Panther).