Eddie Murphy Explains Why Dolemite’s Story Was So Inspirational (Video)

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This month, Eddie Murphy stars in Dolemite Is My Name. The new film, available in theaters and on Netflix, finds the star actor playing the late Rudy Ray Moore, who died in 2008 at the age of 81. Moore created the “Dolemite” persona, which made films, albums, and merchandise.

Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Murphy spoke about the inspiration he felt from Rudy Ray Moore and “Dolemite.” “Rudy Ray Moore [was] this comedian from the ’70s, this underground comic that I’ve just been a fan of for years.” Eddie included himself in Moore’s “cult following,” which also pulls from stoners, grind-house cinema buffs, and more. “When I started making movies, I had a whole different appreciation for him. This guy, he financed these movies himself. He kinda put it all together himself. He did his records the same way, and became one of my heroes.”

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Kimmel, whose roots are in comedy, calls the film “an inspirational story.” Eddie agrees and reveals that this film has been in the works since Rudy Ray Moore was alive. “About 15 years ago, I approached him about it. He was like, ‘Man, let’s go on tour together! They wanna see us on stage, man!” Moore dismissed the idea of being portrayed. “I think the idea of a movie about him just sounded ridiculous to him. He was like, ‘F*ck that.'” Moore scoffed at the idea that the same Hollywood that he built his career working around would embrace his story as theatrical-worthy.

Murphy also admits that his career was not in the strongest place at the time these discussions began. “I might’ve been just coming off of a movie like Pluto Nash 2,” he jokes of a non-existent sequel, before reiterating that Rudy Ray Moore was more interested in a collaborative standup comedy tour.

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Eddie Murphy says that Dolemite Is My Name used the same locations as the original 1970s films and made every effort to recreate the drama, shot-for-shot. “We had the same outfits and cars. Craig Brewer directed it; he really just did a spot-on [job].”

Murphy also says he plans to do “Gumby” on his upcoming return to SNL, as well as “Velvet Jones,” “Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood,” and “Buckwheat.” Murphy will host on December 21’s episode. The actor said he was eager to begin preparing with the writers and cast the Monday before airing.