Eddie Murphy Reveals the Original ‘Coming to America’ Film Was Inspired By a Breakup

Eddie Murphy’s cult classic Coming to America has seen a resurgence in popularity since the recent release of its sequel Coming 2 America. Set more than 30 years after the events of the first movie, the film includes many of the same characters as the first, including actor Arsenio Hall.

Even though Coming to America has been an extremely popular flick for more than three decades, many people still don’t know the story behind the movie. Murphy recently revealed that the original Coming to America story idea came from a relationship breakup Murphy went through earlier in his career. 

‘Coming to America’ was inspired by one of Eddie Murphy’s past breakups 

Eddie Murphy attends SAG-AFTRA Foundation's Conversations with "Mr. Church" at SAG
Eddie Murphy attends SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Conversations with “Mr. Church” at SAG Foundation Actors Center | Vincent Sandoval/Getty Images

RELATED: Eddie Murphy Says He Isn’t Doing Any More ‘Money Grabs’ in the Movie Business — ‘The Script Has To Be Right’

Murphy shared the details behind the inspiration for Coming to America during a recent interview with Kelly Clarkson

“Well, the initial idea, I got on a tour bus,” Murphy said. I broke up with somebody and got into a conversation about being able to find a girl that liked me just for [me],” Murphy said. “You know, didn’t know I was in—this was back when I was in the leather suit days, ‘What if a girl didn’t know about these leather suits and just thought I was a regular person?” 

At the time, Murphy was having a hard time adapting to the challenges of dating as a famous person.  

“Well, it’s new when the fame is all new and you’re in your twenties and you’re trying to get your feet solid underneath you … You just want to meet somebody that didn’t know about all that other stuff,” Murphy said. “I think everybody goes through that.”

‘Coming to America’ became a cult classic

Even though Coming to America started as a joke, the movie was seriously successful. Years after its release, Murphy realized just how influential the movie was. 

“The movie became this cult movie, like, you know, of all the movies that I’ve done, Coming to America is the one that like, worked its way into the culture in all these different ways, little catchphrases from the movie,” Murphy told Jimmy Fallon

He wanted the ‘Coming to America’ sequel to be as great as the first 

After seeing how Coming to America continued to resonate with viewers, Murphy figured it was time to work on a sequel. However, because Murphy wanted the film to be of high quality, Coming 2 America took many years to make. 

“That’s why the script took so long,” Murphy added. “Took four years because the script just wasn’t right. Same thing with Beverly Hills Cop, they’ve been trying to get a Beverly Hills Cop together for 10 years. But the script has to be right.”

At this point in his career, Murphy has no interest in making low-quality movies for a ton of money. 

“I told you guys, I’m not doing any more money grabs, I’m not doing any more movies that’s like, ‘Oh, he clearly just did this movie for a check.’ I’m not doing any of those. Only when it’s right. And this thing took four years to get right.” 

Coming 2 America is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.