In 1988, “Coming to America” blew everyone away with its fresh, quick-witted, humorous, iconic, and quirky quotes dealing with culturalism, realism, and life lessons. It was a romantic comedy created by Eddie Murphy, directed by John Landis, and screenplay written by David Sheffield and Barry W. Blaustein.
"Coming to America" is about a young man, Prince Akeem Joffer of the nation of Zamunda. On his 21st birthday, he must wed to carry on the lineage. Akeem becomes discouraged when he tells his parents that he does not want to live in an arranged marriage. The wedding is called off until Prince Akeem can find a suitable mate to marry, which he will choose by love. He travels from Africa to Queens, NY to find his new bride and discovers more than he has bargained for.
Eddie Murphy has not been confirmed that he will be playing Prince Akeem in the sequel. Paramount is rumored to be in development phase with the project. According to The Hollywood Reporter “The studio has hired Barry Blaustein and David Sheffield, who penned the 1988 original, to write the potential sequel.” Kevin Misher (The Interpreter, Mirror Mirror, Public Enemies) has been given a producing title for the film, thus far.
I can only imagine that Paramount is incessantly scurrying towards the idea of revisiting this money-cash cow franchise by bringing back a commercial success and not having to re-invent the wheel. Finding new scripts and taking chances on people can be very costly and risky more than ever. Although, I am looking forward to see what they will produce; I admit I'm a bit skeptical about a sequel. There are certain nuances about the film that cannot be redone. I’m not quite sure that it can live up to its predecessor.
“Coming to America” exists as complex weaving of culture and imaginative character that examines exaggerated stereotypes along with real relatable experiences. There was a cognizant comparison of African American culture and African culture, which are connected, but not one in the same. This film showed that the African Diaspora is varied among regions of the world, also proving that prejudices and hate can exist in any culture as well as love and compassion.
Eddie Murphy is known for creating several characters in the film as well as acting the roles. He is Prince Akeem Joffer, prince of Zamunda; Saul, the Jewish barbershop client; and Clarence, owner of the barber shop. Arsenio Hall plays Semmi, Akeem's noble friend and assistant; Reverend Brown; Morris the barber; and an unattractive, seemly bar patron.
There are so many stories to tell and lessons to be learned about where we are today. I believe that “Coming to America” is something sacred because it has been untouched for many years. It exists as a great archival piece to be examined and something to behold as a timepiece. Why ruin it with a sequel? I’m all for supporting African-American films along with people of color, but I don’t think it should be remade.
From the Paramount Vault:
Stars from the original film: James Earl Jones, Arsenio Hall, Shari Headly, and John Amos