Dave Chappelle Wanted to Play This ‘Coming 2 America’ Character Until Eddie Murphy Let Arsenio Hall Replace Him

The Coming to America sequel Coming 2 America doubled the cast. Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall and Shari Headley return in the comedy, but Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, Jermaine Fowler and many more join them. Dave Chappelle wanted to join Coming 2 America too, but the role he was going to play ended up going to Hall.

Dave Chappelle Sticks and Stones standup special
Dave Chappelle | Lester Cohen/Netflix

Murphy and Hall spoke about the Coming to America sequel at a press conference. They revealed the role Chappelle wanted. We’ll have more with the cast and director of Coming 2 America here on Showbiz Cheat Sheet before it premieres March 5 on Amazon Prime.

Dave Chappelle wanted to be in the ‘Coming to America’ sequel 

News of a Coming to America sequel broke in 2017. Chappelle wanted in.

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“I think you were at one of Dave’s shows,” Murphy said to Hall. “Chappelle played Cleveleand and Arsenio and Chris Rock were on the show. He told Dave, ‘Yeah, we’re going to do a Coming 2 America.’ Dave was like, ‘What? If you guys do Coming 2 America, I want to be in it.’ Then it didn’t work out because of schedule and all that stuff. We thought he was for a sec.”

The new ‘Coming to America’ character Dave Chappelle would have played

The Coming to America sequel introduces more characters in the royal court of Zamunda. King Jaffe (James Earl Jones) has a witch doctor advising him. It is a heavy makeup character like the barbers and customers in the barbershop, but Chappelle would have played the witch doctor had he been available.

Coming 2 America witch doctor Arsenio Hall with Jermaine Fowler and Eddie Murphy
L-R: Arsenio Hall, Jermaine Fowler and Eddie Murphy | Quantrell D. Colbert/Paramount Pictures/Amazon Studios

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“The problem with him being the witch doctor is you wouldn’t have known it was Dave,” Hall said. “It’s kind of getting Dave but not getting Dave. He has the third one in his mind.”

Eddie Murphy almost played the witch doctor himself

When Chappelle couldn’t make the schedule work, Murphy almost played the witch doctor himself. When Hall offered to play him, Murphy saved himself the hassle. 

“Originally, I was going to play the witch doctor and I was going to play Wesley [Snipes]’s character, General Izzi,” Murphy said. “Then I started thinking about how long it would be to do these makeups. It takes six hours to do and Arsenio was like, ‘Well, I can do it.’ All right, you go do it. He said, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it.’ I said okay.”

Coming to America stars Arsenio Hall and Eddie Murphy return
L-R: Arsenio Hall and Eddie Murphy | Quantrell D. Colbert/Paramount Pictures/Amazon Studios

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Murphy enjoyed teasing Hall about his complaints about the heavy makeup on Coming 2 America.

“So we’re doing the movie and one night after everybody was leaving, he had the makeup on, six hours to put it on,” Murphy said. “It’s 4:30 in the morning and everybody’s leaving. He has two hours of breakdown. They’ve got to take it off for two hours. He’s sitting in the makeup chair and he had a tissue. He said the contact lenses, water was running out but he was crying. He was crying at Tyler Perry Studios at 4:30 in the morning. You did a wonderful job as the witch doctor, Arsenio. He cried over it.”