Why Eddie Murphy Plans to Leave Acting Behind Soon

Eddie Murphy is back in the public eye thanks to Dolemite is My Name and filming for Coming to America 2. He’s busy with film and TV projects slated to hit the screen between now and the end of next year. Though Murphy got his start doing stand-up comedy, the past few decades have seen his focus steer almost exclusively toward acting. But that can all change if things all go according to plan.

Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix

Why Murphy wants to switch up

From the sound of things, Murphy wants to retire from his acting career really soon. The 58-year-old will forever be in the books as a comedic legend, but he plans on going out entirely on his own terms. He recently spoke with Nelson George for the Wall Street Journal about how he wants his movie career to wrap up.

He told George he didn’t want his last film to be Mr. Church, and the timing for three other movies to come to fruition worked out to be perfect. But he said he feels most at home on stage:

“Once I get back onstage, I kind of feel like that’s what I was born to do more than anything. When I get back on the stage, I can’t imagine wanting to do movies again.”

This might come as a shock to Murphy’s fans, but if you’ve been paying attention to his work over the past few years—and months, it makes sense. He told George doing reboots of some of his most beloved films—and Dolemite—feels like a bookend.

Murphy expounded on the need to put movies in his rearview

When asked about the role movies will play in his life when stand-up is on his roster again, he shared this:

“What I like to do more than anything is just be home with my family, chilling. It’s really easy to feel like you’re working when you make a movie. You’ve got to get up at five, six in the morning. I started making movies when I was 20 years old, when I made 48 Hrs. That’s f****** 38 years. You’ve been on a movie set, you see how this sh** is. It’s not a fun process. Once I get back onstage again, I want to do whatever, be funny—I can do that whenever I want to. You know? But making movies? Being an old dude in the movies? That’s not it. Let them watch me get old, get all old looking. Like, ‘You see Eddie’s new movie? He looks terrible.’ “

He’s already discussed doing a tour while appearing as a guest on a podcast in September, saying he plans on returning to stand-up in 2020. As you might also know, Murphy will be hitting the Saturday Night Live stage in December after 35 years. Stand-up feels like home.

What’s next for Murphy in the near future

In addition to doing the stand-up tour, Murphy still has a few film and TV projects in the pipeline. Coming 2 America is due out next summer where he will reprise his role as Prince Akeem of Zamunda, and there is also a Beverly Hills Cop reboot in the works.

After that, fans should look forward to seeing Murphy live on stage, and eventually tapering off his movie roles. But as he said, it’s a bookend, not a sad end.