EDDIE MURPHY. Photo: Magnus Sundholm for the HFPA.
  • Golden Globe Awards

Nominee Profile 2020: Eddie Murphy, “Dolemite Is My Name”

“It’s not a biopic,” Eddie Murphy stressed about Dolemite Is My Name, in which he plays Rudy Ray Moore, an actor-comedian who created the Dolemite character in movies and records in the 1970s. “This movie is not about Rudy Ray Moore’s life, where he was from and where he was born,” added Eddie, whose portrayal of the man nicknamed as “the Godfather of Rap” earned him the Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy nomination for the 77th Golden Globes. “This is about a moment in his life where he did these things.”“These things” would include the raunchy, sexually explicit jokes and rhymes he was known for and which he peddled in comedy records, performed in what was known as the Chitlin’ Circuit (venues in East, South and Midwest areas of the U.S. that welcomed African-American entertainers), and the Dolemite films he self-financed and acted in.Murphy imbues Moore/Dolemite with humanity – a man who could not even get the in-house DJ in the South-Central record store he worked for to play his comedy records. He evokes pathos in depicting Moore whose zeal and determination thrust him forward – despite a seeming lack of talent.“He’s not good looking, he’s not the funniest and he has none of the ingredients a person needs to become a movie star,” Murphy emphasized. “But Rudy has the most important thing, which is the belief in himself, to the point where he’s spending his own money and puts it back into himself. I thought he was a great, inspiring character.” Murphy knew and became friends with Moore who died in 2008.Dolemite Is My Name also benefits from the supporting performances of Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, and Wesley Snipes, with cameos by Chris Rock and Snoop Dogg, who gladly joined Murphy in bringing to the screen the saga of Moore. Murphy who won the 2007 Best Supporting Actor Globe for Dreamgirls, clarifies that he does not consider Dolemite Is My Name as a “comeback,” as often written about in stories about the actor and his well-received film.“I’m 58 now,” said the father of 10 children. “I don’t think of this as being a comeback or being back, because I’m never, ever going to make movies like I made in the early days – two, three a year. Because what I like to do most is be on the couch at home with my kids close where I can hear them.”Comeback or not, Murphy is busier than ever. Aside from a movie titled Triplets, he’s doing sequels to movies that made him a star in the 1980s: Coming 2 America and Beverly Hills Cop 4. And he will go on an international tour with a new standup comedy show. “I am going back on the road and then I’m going to go on the couch,” quipped the dad, whose children’s ages range from 30 years to 10 months. He said three of his kids are “babies” and he now has a granddaughter as well.Looking back at his career that began with stand-up comedy routines, then as a cast member of Saturday Night Live and then his breakthrough in the movies, Murphy reflected, “I was so young and things happened so fast and easy that I kind of took it for granted. It was like, okay, yeah, I’m successful. So, I didn’t feel pressured or get scared by it. And now that I’m older, I look back on that period and I was like, wow, that was amazing.”