Eddie Murphy Once Shared He Didn’t Think He’d Ever Make a ‘Serious Movie’

Eddie Murphy has starred in several blockbuster hits in his career. Although he proved himself as a commercial draw for more comedic films, he also expressed interest in doing dramas. But at the same time, the star didn’t think he’d ever really make a serious movie.

Eddie Murphy got into singing to show a more serious side of himself

Eddie Murphy sitting down smirking while wearing a suit.
Eddie Murphy | Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Murphy has featured in a couple of dramas over the years. Films like Dreamgirls and the biopic Mr. Church have both showcased the comic’s more serious side. But at the peak of Murphy’s comedic career, the actor didn’t see himself ever tackling a truly serious film. This was despite the fact that Murphy himself asserted his comic persona that fans were drawn to was all for show. In fact, the Coming to America star admitted he was more sensitive than others might have given him credit for.

“Offstage, I’m not hard and nasty and unfeeling. I believe in God–strongly. I get hurt over women leaving me, just like everybody else. I’m basically a sensitive person,” Murphy once told the LA Times.

One of the reasons Murphy shared he dabbled briefly in singing as a career was to tap into his more serious side.

“Look at the lyrics I wrote,” he said about his album How Could It Be. “There’s feeling in them. They’re not funny. They tell how I feel about certain things. I like the fact that album is out there for people to see there’s more to me than the brash comedian.”

Eddie Murphy didn’t think he’d ever make a serious movie

Although music provided him an outlet to showcase a wider range of emotions, it was suggested that film could do the same. But the Beverly Hills Cop actor initially rejected the idea of doing dramatic roles to show his more serious side. If only because he didn’t believe a serious Murphy was something people wanted to see.

“My fans want to see me be funny. They don’t want me to be serious. I couldn’t do that to my audience,” he asserted.

He also felt the stakes were higher starring in a serious film than they were starring in a comedy.

“If a comedian stars in a serious movie, it doesn’t make money,” he continued. “It might get critical acclaim, but it won’t be a hit. Not too many people want to see a comedian be serious.”

Murphy felt that comedians have a lot of the ingredients needed to turn out good acting performances. But still, he didn’t see himself ever tackling dramatic roles himself.

“Comedians are good actors. They’re very sensitive people. A lot of us have a lot of hatred and pain in us, all the things that make a good actor. I could be a good serious actor, but I don’t think I’ll ever make a serious movie,” Murphy added.

Eddie Murphy was excited to do ‘Mr. Church’ because it was a more dramatic role

As most know, Eddie Murphy took a five-year hiatus from the movie industry. This was because Murphy felt he had oversaturated himself to his audience.

“I got on Saturday Night Live when I was 18 or 19, so it’s been 35 years of my face,” Murphy said in another interview with the LA Times. “You get sick of looking at people’s faces – I know I do.”

But he also made a promise to himself when he took this hiatus.

“Five years ago, I was like, it’s time to do stuff that I feel good about and that I get – I don’t have to do these movies just for this big check,” he said.

He returned to Hollywood years later with Mr. Church. Murphy explored another serious role by playing the titular character in the heartfelt drama. The film centered around a family’s personal cook who watches over three generations of women, and appealed to Murphy because it was different than anything he’d ever done.

Dreamgirls has some dramatic things but it was a really showy role and it’s got funny stuff in it,” Murphy said. “What was exciting for me about Mr. Church was you have to have this whole performance where everything is the opposite of what I usually do. I don’t get offered stuff where it’s just about relationships and family and love. It’s like, ‘It’s about a family.’ ‘OK, and are there any animals talking in it?’”

Murphy also felt that doing a film heavy in drama would be good for audiences “because I’m doing something that people have never seen me do.”

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