26 October 2019 04:38
I usually always dedicate my movies to someone, so I went to Eddie and said the first time I ever heard Charlie Murphy was in an interview on the radio where he did the whole act of 'Signifying Monkey.' He had recently passed and so when Eddie and I started talking about that, it seemed like the natural thing to do was dedicate the movie to Charlie because Charlie introduced Eddie to Rudy Ray Moore's world. The N.A.A.C.P., Jesse Jackson and others campaigned for more "positive" portrayals on screen — like, say, "Cornbread, Earl and Me" or the rural family drama "Sounder." Even some of the stars of the genre expressed a measure of regret over their participation: "The stereotypes that we have are often what we perpetuated ourselves," Pam Grier, the star of "Foxy Brown," said in the 2002 documentary "BaadAsssss Cinema." "I broke them, but I also created some, because everyone thought a black woman is a whoop-your-butt sister all the time." Audiences were seeing more black people on screens than ever before, and thanks to characters like John Shaft, Foxy Brown and Youngblood Priest in "Super Fly," they were finally the heroes (and antiheroes). An entire generation of black artists have recalled fond memories of watching wild movies like "Dolemite" as children, and have lovingly spoofed the genre in their own films ("I'm Gonna Git You Sucka"; "Undercover Brother"). Instead, he hopes his comedy will "connect him with the people." (Presumably, "the people" are not white or the black intelligentsia.) He's not concerned about stereotypes — again, his character Dolemite is a pimp — but he does have an innate desire to inspire others like him, who might have the odds stacked against them. But what it does conjure up is a re-evaluation of whose life gets to be the subject of dramatization — Rudy Ray Moore wasn't a civil rights leader ("Malcolm X," "Selma"), nor was he an extraordinarily talented performer or athlete (the James Brown biopic "Get On Up," "Ali").
And how: The recreation of the "Dolemite" scenes are silly, but Mr. Moore's ambitions are taken seriously in "Dolemite Is My Name." In Mr. Murphy's performance the Blaxploitation star is never treated as caricature, but with respect and empathy (when that movie producer comments that Rudy looks "doughier" than the typical black leading man, pain briefly flickers across his face). If you have yet to see the trailer for Dolemite Is My Name, the crowd-pleasing biopic written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski is about a struggling comedian Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) as he struggles to break through as an entertainer any way he can. It's an incredible true story, a fantastic film, and Eddie Murphy hasn't been this good in years. During the interview, Brewer shared some great stories about the making of Dolemite, how they wanted to make a film that Rudy Ray Moore would've appreciated, how Murphy sold Netflix on making the movie, his editing process, deleted scenes, casting Wesley Snipes (who is fantastic in the film), and more. It's weird because I refer to Wesley as the General on set because he plays this really crazy character on Coming 2 America.
It's funny, what made me think about that was… not that, oh, the way to do it is get me and Larry… what I mean by that is the movie needs to almost feel like it felt for me sneaking in and listening to Rudy Ray Moore records and watching something like Dolemite. I loved watching the fight scene when they're making the film." I was like, "That's what I want to happen. I heard… and I'm not sure if it's 100% true… but is it true that you guys, when you went in to pitch Netflix, that Eddie basically did Rudy in the room? They went in and, literally, as they inhaled to pitch, Eddie walks in, does 20 minutes of Rudy Ray Moore, leaves, and they said, "Well, get to writing." They didn't say a damn thing. Just Eddie came in and did it and they were like, "Well, obviously, we're making this movie.
That's Whoop That Trick." Black Snake Moan would be like what's that really difficult song that we had to do with Sam Jackson and Christina Ricci and have to spend probably a week on this one sequence, just this one sequence right here that we were like, "This is going to be the hard one." What's the one where we need to get everybody excited and see the creative process happening, when the blood starts pumping into the audience? What we found, though, is that there was this one day… and I'm going to get emotional talking about this day… but there was this one scene in the movie where Eddie is on the phone getting rejected. Then, you start seeing what the movie is, which is, like you said, it's the next draft of the story. One of the things about Netflix, which I'm wondering when it's going to happen, is they have all this great technology, but they never release deleted scenes. Nick Nezbit and all the great people at Netflix, they're like, "Well, we think the scene works. Whereas I thought commentaries would be the thing that really makes people buy Blu-rays or DVDs, it's actually the deleted scenes. BREWER: Like the kung-fu scene where he's doing the really whack kung-fu. It was like, what, 30, 40 years later that he's at that same house and here's Eddie Murphy re-creating something that he shot way back then? Did you find that with this movie a lot of people wanted to visit set because it's Dolemite and it's Eddie Murphy? What do I have to do?" So, to some extent, having that abundance of riches of talent knocking on the door, we had to be very cautious about how we did it because, one thing that I'm particularly proud about the movie is that we have a lot of these funny people, but we're not milking them to be funny in every moment. I remember telling Eddie, I go, "Eddie, I don't feel good about these younger, newer, fresher faces doing this movie, which is essentially about people who have been around and now are doing one last hurrah." I go, "I need someone who's going to share a frame with you. It's none of these people that we put before you." I was like, "Yeah, but this is who we're going with." Now, he's amazing. BREWER: So, a lot of that energy that was coming towards us, of people that wanted to be in it, it also gave us the opportunity to go, "Okay, but what's the right decision?" BREWER: I think that they kind of saw that the spirit of the movie was kind of in my wheelhouse a little bit. It's both exciting and daunting, but I feel like we're doing the right thing with it. To see King Joffer again… you got to remember, the thing that I think what I hope people will like when they ultimately see Coming 2 America is that it's 30 years after that fairytale ended. Fact-checking 'Dolemite Is My Name': Rudy Ray Moore's true story really is that wild LOS ANGELES – Eddie Murphy has always wanted to do a story about the unbelievably outrageous career of Rudy Ray Moore – even if many people wouldn't know who the comedian and filmmaker is. "I would say, 'I would like to do the Rudy Ray Moore story,' " says Murphy, pretending to give a pitch to movie executives. However wild the comedy is, Murphy, who had met with Moore decades before to discuss making a movie about his life, says it's "really close to what happened." " And Eddie Murphy did an excellent job capturing the man and telling the story of what Rudy Ray Moore went through." Moore had no experience making films, but made his first movie, 1975's "Dolemite," with $100,000, utilizing UCLA film students as the crew and featuring D'Urville Martin (played by Wesley Snipes), an actor who had starred in films such as "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" It's like what the (expletive) am I watching, what is happening?" Murphy says. "We realized a lot of the fans' favorite scenes are from 'Human Tornado.' And we figured Rudy Ray Moore is only going to get a biopic once," Alexander says. "People will assume we made that up," says "Dolemite Is My Name" director Craig Brewer.