“I got emotional when I was reading the script. Then I was like ‘Wow, do you think they want me for this?’ I had never been offered anything like that,” reveals Eddie Murphy in our recent chat (watch above) about his dramatic starring role in the new film “Mr. Church.” With a career filled with comedic characters, Murphy now plays the title role of Henry Church, a mysterious man hired to take care of a terminal woman and her young daughter.
The movie from Cinelou Films and director Bruce Beresford (“Driving Miss Daisy”) opens nationwide on September 16 and is based on the real life of its screenwriter Susan McMartin. The daughter in the film is renamed Charlie Brody and is played by Britt Robertson. Church is the man who helped raise her beginning in the 1970s and was a self-taught master of cooking, jazz piano, gardening, painting and more.
Murphy became a breakout star on “Saturday Night Live” at age 19 in 1980 and then started a blockbuster film career while still on that NBC variety program. His movies have included “48 Hrs.,” “Trading Places,” “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Coming to America,” “The Nutty Professor,” “Shrek,” and “Tower Heist.” His biggest awards success came with “Dreamgirls” (2006), for which he received an Oscar nomination and wins at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards for his supporting performance.
Just this past year, Murphy received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Of that evening devoted to him, he says, “That was really cool because my whole family was there, my mother was there. I was the 18th person to get the award, and I respected all the 17 other people that got it before me. All people that I looked up to, so I was in great company.”
In our short chat, we also discuss Murphy’s return to the “Saturday Night Live” stage for last year’s 40th anniversary special and whether he would consider guest hosting an episode for the first time in over 30 years.
Will Murphy be back on the awards circuit this year for “Mr. Church”? Be sure to make your Oscar predictions right here. You’ll compete for a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year’s Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s Oscar nominees). Be sure to read our contest rules.