‘Coming 2 America’s Director on How He Kept the ‘Essence’ of the Classic Movie
“I want a woman that will arouse my intellect as well as my loins,” declared kindly African prince Akeem Joffer (Eddie Murphy), rebelling against an arranged marriage in the 1988 blockbuster comedy Coming to America. His quest for true love led him to New York City’s Queens (get it?), where he met smart Lisa McDowell (Shari Headley), whom he wed in regal splendor in his fictional home country, Zamunda.
In Zamunda, a male heir has first rights to the throne, so — in an audience-delighting reunion — Akeem and buddy Semmi (Arsenio Hall) cross the pond in search of the future king.
“We wanted to keep the essence of what made Coming to America a classic: It’s a fairy tale, even with the crude jokes,” says director Craig Brewer, who updated the story for the 21st century. “The laws from Zamunda are antiquated. We address that and usher in some fantastic new characters.”
Those include eldest daughter Meeka (KiKi Layne), angry she’ll never be queen; General Izzi (Wesley Snipes), furious Akeem didn’t marry his sister years ago; and Lavelle’s overeager American mom, Mary (scene-stealer Leslie Jones). With talent like that, the laughs keep coming from Africa to America and back again.
Coming 2 America, Movie Premiere, Friday, March 5, Amazon Prime Video