The level of optimism for Eddie Murphy’s career is high right now—the highest since at least since Dreamgirls, maybe in over a decade. Tower Heist doesn’t look god-awful. The live Oscar stage could reinvigorate the former stand-up. And recently, Murphy denounced his recent work in family films. (Notwithstanding A Thousand Words, finally coming out in March after years on the shelf.) That leaves the question of what he would like to pursue going forward.
It’s worth noting that Tower Heist was originally conceived for a cast of black comedians such as Chris Rock, Dave Chapelle, Tracy Morgan, and Martin Lawrence. The development process whitewashed the project (Ben Stiller and Matthew Broderick seem absurdly white in this context), but Murphy hasn’t abandoned the central idea. Murphy says he is writing an alien abduction comedy he whimsically refers to as Jamal and Tyrell and Omar and Brick and Michael’s Wack-Ass Weekend. More after the jump.
“I still want to do something like that,” Murphy says, adding that he had Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan and Martin Lawrence all lined up for that first incarnation of Tower Heist. “I have this idea called Jamal and Tyrell and Omar and Brick and Michael’s Wack-Ass Weekend about this group of guys who get abducted by aliens on the way to the fights. I’m writing that now.”
Jamal, Tyrell, Omar, Brick, Michael. That’s five names. Are Murphy, Chappelle, Rock, Morgan, and Lawrence the guys? If Wack-Ass Weekend brings Chappelle back into our lives, it will be worth it.
Outside of that possibility, the idea is independently intriguing. To my mind, it shows Murphy is thinking creatively. (Although, Murphy’s last extraterrestrial interactions resulted in The Adventures of Pluto Nash and Meet Dave, so…)