Eddie Murphy doesn’t do a lot of interviews these days, so when Rolling Stone got the comedian/actor to sit down for a lengthy chat about his life and career recently, no one was sure what to expect. Turns out, Murphy’s still a funny and engaging guy (despite what a string of appearances in dismal family movies might have you believe) – and he dropped some bombshells about his plans for the future too.
At the age of 50, Murphy seems at once reflective about his career and still planning its course. He tells the magazine that he’s “a semi-retired gentleman of leisure,” but for a guy who’s more interested in staying home and playing his guitar, he’s got a lot of plans for work in his near future.
The funnyman denies rumors that he’s a recluse, saying “I leave my house all the time, but I'm not at all the Hollywood parties. I'm grown, and where else am I supposed to be? I'm supposed to be home . . . If I were out in the clubs every night, they'd be saying, 'That's a shame, look at him, 50 years old, he's still out at these clubs.' Recluses are nasty, with long nails, don't wash their ass. . . . I'm too vain to be a recluse. But homebody, absolutely. I'm 50 years old, beautiful house, I'm supposed to be home, chilling."
What Murphy does in all that free time is think about his future and his past – of a career that started out on Saturday Night Live and with two classic stand-up comedy specials and nearly de-railed thanks to a decision to make a number of family-friendly films that weren’t particularly suited to his comedic talents.
Murphy says he’s done with the family films, “I don't have any interest in that right now.” Instead, he’s working on what he calls “edgy stuff,” which should have fans of his early work intrigued. If that doesn’t pan out, the actor swears he’s content to be retired.
Many thought that some of that “edgy stuff” could take the form of Beverly Hills Cop 4, a long-in-development sequel to the franchise that catapulted Murphy into the rarified air of superstardom. Alas, that’s not to be. Murphy says “they’re not doing it” when the topic comes up, but also reveals his plans to produce a television series based on the franchise.
“What I'm trying to do now is produce a TV show starring Axel Foley's son, and Axel is the chief of police now in Detroit. I'd do the pilot, show up here and there.”
As to why the third sequel isn’t happening, he explains “None of the movie scripts were right; it was trying to force the premise. If you have to force something, you shouldn't be doing it. It was always a rehash of the old thing. It was always wrong."
If television doesn’t pan out, Murphy says he’s also felt the itch to return to stand-up comedy. “If I ever get back onstage, I'm going to have a really great show for you all," he says. "An hour and a half of stand-up and about 40 minutes of my shitty band . . . But I haven't done it since I was 27, so why f*ck with it? But that's just weighing both sides. It comes up too much for me to not do it again. It's like, when it hits me, I'll do it, eventually."
Hopefully, this urge to do stand-up and television might lead to the actor finally returning to his SNL roots. Murphy says he’s gotten over the longstanding grudge he held against the show for taking what he perceived to be cheap shots at his career after he left. Seeing Murphy guest host would certainly be something we’d tune in to watch.
Those are all just ideas in the performer’s head, though – what we do know is that Murphy begins this “next phase” of his career by hosting the Academy Awards next year. As his work in Dreamgirls demonstrated, Eddie Murphy can still do great work – so a career renaissance for the comedian is certainly a possibility. Check out the Rolling Stone interview for even more details about Murphy’s life and career plans.