“I only want to do what I really want to do, otherwise I’m content to sit here and play my guitar all day. I always tell people now that I’m a semi-retired gentleman of leisure, and occasionally I’ll go do some work to break the boredom up.”
Those sound like the words of a dedicated artiste! Taken from a Rolling Stone profile of comedian Eddie Murphy, it’s simply a tease of the full article in the upcoming print issue. We actually wouldn’t begrudge a major star from wanting to take it easy, as Murphy rationalizes, “I’m 50 years old, beautiful house, I’m supposed to be home, chilling.” But putting a voice to these thoughts isn’t the best way to endear yourself to any of your co-workers, and filmmakers before they tolerate an actor who only hangs around the set to “break the boredom up.”
Though it certainly does explain what happened to the long-gestating Richard Pryor biopic “Is It Something I Said?” Long ago, the story was that “Dreamgirls” director Bill Condon was re-teaming with Murphy on the project, which for a time even had a release date. As time went by, the project stalled, and Murphy apparently bowed out of contention, replaced by Marlon Wayans. The project was supposed to shoot last fall but then something else with vampires came along. We are curious to know what happened with the Wayans version, during press rounds for “Tower Heist,” Murphy certainly suggested it was his own casual attitude that let the previous incarnation with him attached slip through the cracks.
The implication in Murphy’s words seemed to be that, despite rumor to the contrary, he was never truly involved in the first place. “We had a couple of conversations about Richard Pryor, but I was never involved,” he says. “Our conversations never got past stage one. There’s a great script out there that Bill Condon wrote.” It’s probably a function of the junket scene that, seated next to Brett Ratner he said, “I’d love to do the script, I’d love to get it to Brett. But it never got past that first stage of conversations.”
Condon ended up tackling the next “Twilight” film, a nice paycheck, but Murphy’s words suggest there’s still strong material out there waiting for a greenlight. Condon has the vampire double-header next, but beyond that, Fox Searchlight, who still hold the rights, could use a 2013 Oscar favorite. Just don’t expect Eddie Murphy to come along for the ride. He’ll be busy at home, strumming his guitar.