Axel Foley will be making his long-awaited return to the big screen in about two years. Paramount today set a March 25, 2016, release date for Beverly Hills Cop, the fourth installment of the mega-grossing 1980s movie series that has Eddie Murphy set to reprise his role as the wise-cracking detective. The new film has the pre-summer weekend to itself for now. Jerry Bruckheimer is back as producer, and Brett Ratner is directing the pic, which will see Murphy’s Foley returning to his Detroit roots. Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec, the scribes behind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, are writing that script. It looked for a while as if Beverly Hills Cop‘s resurrection was going to be televised. Early last year, CBS ordered a pilot from Shawn Ryan and Murphy that was to follow the adventures of Foley’s cop son, with Barry Sonnenfeld directing and Murphy set to appear in the pilot and possibly recur. But the network surprisingly passed on the project at the eleventh hour.
Eddie Murphy will reunite with his Coming To America co-star Arsenio Hall during a visit to Hall’s late-night talker on November 19. Murphy was no stranger to the original Arsenio Hall Show, appearing six times, but this is his first visit to Hall’s new CBS TV Distribution-produced show. Murphy’s expected to chat about his upcoming album 9 and his collaboration with Snoop Dogg on the single “Red Light,” among other things. There’s been a push for noisier guests on the syndicated late-night show in an effort to boost ratings since the recent exec producer changeover. Zooey Deschanel, Mayim Bialik and Sherri Shepherd are scheduled to appear on November 18. Whoopi Goldberg is set for November 20 and Mike Tyson for November 27.
EXCLUSIVE: Though it recently looked like the Beverly Hills Cop saga would continue on television, Paramount Pictures has begun moving fast on another movie. The studio has enlisted Eddie Murphy to reprise his role as Axel Foley, and they’ve set Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec to write that script. That duo has done very well at the studio, with recent script credits that include Mission: Impossible–Ghost Protocol and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles remake.
Related: SHOCKER: ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ Gets Pass At CBS, Likely To Be Shopped Elsewhere
The series began in 1984, tailor made for Murphy as the tough talking Detroit cop who was an outsider and excoriated by authority, but who was the smartest cop on the block. Martin Brest directed the first one, Tony Scott helmed the second, and the last one was directed by John Landis in 1994, back when Murphy was one of the studio’s biggest stars. The series grossed near $750 million collectively. Paramount adds that to another retro project that originated in the ’80s, a sequel to 1986′s Top Gun, which has been in limbo since the film’s director, Scott, committed suicide. Tom Cruise was ready to star at that point.
We hear the newest installment in the film franchise was fueled by the interest sparked by the Beverly Hills Cop pilot this past season. The project, written by Shawn Ryan and executive produced by Murphy and Ryan, ignited a bidding war before landing at CBS last fall where it went to a pilot starring Brandon T. Jackson as Axel’s son. Murphy reprised his role in a scene-stealing turn that had people talking. It showed that the character and Murphy’s portrayal are still pretty potent.
CBS‘ Beverly Hills Cop reboot has gotten another step closer to a formal greenlight, with actor-comedian Brandon T. Jackson closing a deal for the lead. The films’ star Eddie Murphy and The Shield creator Shawn Ryan executive produce the Sony TV-produced project, which already has a pilot production commitment. Its pilot order is considered a formality once the script written by Ryan is delivered.
Sherlock Holmes, meet Axel Foley. In a very competitive situation, CBS, which has new Sherlock Holmes drama Elementary coming this fall, has landed Beverly Hills Cop, a series offshoot from the blockbuster movie franchise. The films’ star Eddie Murphy and The Shield creator Shawn Ryan executive produce the Sony TV-produced project, which has received a pilot production commitment from CBS.
Ryan will serve as showrunner on the potential series, a sequel to the three movies that chronicled the exploits of wise-cracking Detroit detective Axel Foley (Murphy) in Los Angeles. The proposed series has a similar fish-out-of-water setup and centers on Axel Foley’s blue-collar police officer son, Aaron, who helps take down the criminal elements of the rich and famous in Beverly Hills while trying to escape the shadow of his larger-than-life father. Murphy will reprise his role as Axel in the pilot and may recur if the pilot goes to series. Ryan will write the script and executive produce with his producing partner at MiddKid Prods. Marney Hochman.
Murphy had been trying to get a Beverly Hills Cop series about Axel’s son off the ground for about a year, after plans for a fourth movie were scrapped. He took the premise to his agency WME, which paired him with fellow client Ryan. Because …
The next generation Beverly Hills Cop — that is a hot hourlong pitch from Beverly Hills Cop star Eddie Murphy and The Shield creator Shawn Ryan, which is making the rounds right now. I’ve learned that the project is envisioned as a sequel to the hit movie franchise which chronicled the exploits of wise-cracking Detroit detective Axel Foley (Murphy) in Los Angeles. The proposed series has a similar fish-out-of-water setup and centers on Foley’s son who moves to Beverly Hills to escape the shadow of his legendary dad. Murphy is set to reprise his role as Axel in occasional recurring guest appearances. It is a premise Murphy had been trying to get off the ground for about a year.
ABC and Fox heard the pitch today, with NBC and CBS slated to take the meeting with Murphy and Ryan tomorrow. All four networks are expected to make a play for the project, described as a light procedural. Sony Pictures TV, where Ryan is under an overall deal, is producing. (The teaming of Murphy and Ryan was first reported by Vulture.) Sony TV’s involvement is somewhat surprising given the fact that the movie franchise was produced by Paramount Pictures, which, though not a direct corporate sibling to CBS TV Studios anymore, still has an affiliation with the the TV studio and the eye network via their Viacom lineage. As a character-driven procedural with comedic elements with a pre-sold title, Beverly …
EXCLUSIVE: Don Mischer will get to produce a TV special starring Eddie Murphy after all. Mischer, who produced this year’s Academy Awards that had Murphy attached as host early on, will executive produce a televised tribute to the comedy actor, which will air on Spike TV. Titled Eddie Murphy: One Night Only, the event will tape on Saturday, November 3 at the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles for a broadcast on Nov. 16 on Spike TV. The special will mark 30 years since the release of Murphy’s famous stand-up special Delirious! and the film 48 Hrs., which made him a movie star.
It will highlight Murphy’s career from a 15-year-old aspiring comedian to a Saturday Night Live breakout and a comedy feature superstar and will feature Murphy’s co-stars from many of his films including 48 Hrs., Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, Coming To America, The Nutty Professor, Shrek, and Dreamgirls. The two-hour show will include short films, musical performances and sketch comedy, culminating in an appearance by Murphy.
In their latest collaboration, director Spike Lee and writer John Ridley have teamed for an HBO biopic of Marion Barry, with Eddie Murphy attached to play the larger-then-life former Washington D.C. mayor. The HBO Films project, first reported by the Washington Post, is currently in development. Ridley is writing the script based on several pieces of source material, including the 1994 book Dream City by D.C. journalists Harry Jaffe and Tom Sherwood, who will serve as consultants. Lee is on board to direct. The two are executive producing with Murphy. HBO previously developed a Marion Barry biopic a decade ago with Jamie Foxx attached to star and Chris Rock to executive produce, but the project didn’t go forward. Barry, currently a member of the Council of the District Of Columbia, did two terms as a mayor of D.C., from 1979-91 and 1995-99, separated by a six-month stint in federal prison on drug charges that stems from a video of him smoking crack cocaine. Lee and Ridley, who have been developing a movie about the L.A. riots, recently partnered on HBO’s drama pilot Da Brick, which Ridley wrote an Lee is directing. The pilot is in consideration for a series pickup.
This past Monday morning, Brett Ratner was producing the Oscars (with Don Mischer. And Eddie Murphy was the high profile host. Three days later, Brian Grazer is producing the Oscars (with Don Mischer). And Billy Crystal is the high profile host. Other than that nothing’s new. Clearly the Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences felt the need to act with lightning speed in order to turn around the PR debacle which Brett Ratner caused with his unfortunate and offensive comments in several public forums. True, AMPAS tried in the recent past to make the Academy Awards more young, hip, and different with some of their choices. This year due to the chaotic nature of the 84th annual honors already (and it’s only November), the powers-that-be are playing it safe again. At 63 years old and a veteran emcee of the show, Billy Crystal was the obvious choice in this scenario. And he is riding in triumphantly just as he has done in years past. In 1990 Crystal rode to the rescue with his first Oscar hosting gig after the disaster of the previous year’s Allan Carr show (remember that one when Rob Lowe sang with Snow White?) This year history repeats itself and Crystal is back to save the Oscars from …
Despite a week of turbulence that saw his Oscarcast producer Brett Ratner resign over an inexplicable barrage of inappropriate public statements, followed shortly after by Ratner’s host Eddie Murphy, Academy president Tom Sherak wants the industry to know that the Oscars are going to be just fine.
“If this happened in January, I would be hiding under my desk,” Sherak told me. “Look what has happened. We have a new producer in Brian Grazer, who met last night with Don Mischer for an hour and a half, so that they can get going on finding a host. We are actually two and a half weeks ahead of where we were last year, in terms of naming a host.”
Sherak, who I’ve always known to be a glass-half-full kind of guy, said he saw some bright spots despite the turbulence. Said Sherak: “In all my time here, I’ve never gotten as many emails from the constituency, after Brett resigned, all saying, how can I help? What do you need me to do? If you need a producer, let me suggest this person. Or, I can go after that person for host. It’s like we woke up a sleeping giant.”
One of those who came forward was Grazer, Sherak said. “He said, ‘I want to help.’ So I said, ‘What if I asked you to become the producer.’ He said, ‘Ask me.’ I did, and he said, ‘I’m in.’ ”
WEDNESDAY 3:50 PM, 3RD UPDATE: The Academy Of Motion Pictures & Arts Sciences just made it official.
3:30 PM, 2ND UPDATE: Imagine Entertainment is confirming that Brian Grazer will produce the 84th Academy Awards with Don Mischer. Still no official AMPAS announcement, though. And there’s more news on this fast-breaking story: As much as the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences hoped that Eddie Murphy would reconsider his exit as host, insiders tell me that Brian Grazer has moved on this afternoon. ”We are not going back to him. No way,” I’m told.
2 PM, UPDATE from Nikki Finke: I have just learned that Brian Grazer was offered and has accepted to produce the 84th Academy Awards. Nothing has been announced yet, but Grazer is telling Hollywood that he’s committed to the gig. The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences owes Brian big-time for stepping into the breach left when Brett Ratner exited because of the scandal which the director had created around himself. Immediately, Grazer began calling around town looking for the Oscar host (see HAMMOND: Eddie’s Exit Throws Oscars Into Further Chaos; So Who Should Host Now?) and speed-dialed the top agencies checking availabilities for big talent. But the Academy still wants Eddie Murphy to host, and Grazer is tasked with first trying to convince the actor to do it. Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment produced Tower Heist, which Ratner directed and co-stars Murphy. If anyone can get Eddie back in, it’s Brian. For Grazer to take on the Oscars demonstrates a dedication to the movie community that I hope the Academy won’t soon forget. Grazer’s name frequently comes up for the Irving G Thalberg Memorial Award, the most coveted Oscar honor for anyone in Hollywood, and almost received it for the 76th annual Oscars. So maybe sooner rather than later it should be Grazer’s turn for the Thalberg. I say give it to him next year.
11 AM, Mike Fleming reports: Right now, the Academy Awards are still in disarray, but a name that is making the rounds is Brian Grazer as a potential replacement for Brett Ratner. This is unconfirmed and might have made more sense when Eddie Murphy was still the host.
I received an email this morning from a longtime Academy member who wrote, “Brett’s a brat … but really!!! Next one to go would be Eddie… No loss.” Well, Academy member, you got your wish. In this swiftly moving story, host Eddie Murphy has followed Brett Ratner out the door of this year’s Oscars. I wrote last night that I would be surprised if he did this, thinking his professionalism would trump any perceived loyalty to Ratner, who directed him in Tower Heist and tapped him for his first hosting gig for the Academy Awards. Apparently not. We can now add this to the ever-growing list of unfortunate incidents in Murphy’s checkered history with Oscar. He made waves when he presented Best Picture in 1988 saying he almost turned down the invititation to do it and then chastized the Academy for their poor track record in nominating African Americans. In 2007, he bolted from the Kodak Theatre after losing Best Supporting Actor for Dreamgirls to Alan Arkin, giving the impression whether true or not that he was a sore loser. And now he’s left again before even setting foot onstage, this time leaving the Academy in the lurch. One person with intimate knowledge of how production schedules and Oscar shows work tells me this morning, “It’s a sh*t show right now. They …
HAMMOND: Murphy Exit Throws Oscars Into Further Chaos
Will The Academy Consider Brian Grazer?
HAMMOND: Oscars Post-Ratner – What Now?
SHOCKER! Brett Ratner Out As Oscar Producer
Eddie Murphy Agrees To Host Oscars; Producers Tell Film Academy It’s Official
UPDATED: Only three months before the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and ABC are almost back to square one. Hours after Brett Ratner tendered his resignation as Oscar producer in the fallout of racy-bordering-on-vulgar public comments and the use of an anti-gay slur, Eddie Murphy has stepped down as host. The move is not entirely unexpected given that Ratner was the one who brought in his Tower Heist star Murphy, and Deadline noted that Ratner’s exit Tuesday gave Murphy the perfect chance to bow out. But it still gives the Academy a big headache having to replace a producer and now a host only three months before the February 26 Academy Awards ceremony. On the other hand, Murphy’s acceptance of the gig was abnormally early. With the two departures, the only key member of the creative team remaining in place is veteran TV producer Don Mischer, who had been originally paired with Ratner. As for potential replacements, Brian Grazer, who produced Tower Heist, is being rumored as a candidate to succeed Ratner. Here is AMPAS’ statement on Murphy’s departure:
Beverly Hills, CA – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak announced that Eddie Murphy has withdrawn as host of the 84th Academy Awards. “I appreciate how Eddie feels about losing his creative partner, Brett Ratner, and we all wish him well,” said Sherak.
Commented Murphy, “First and foremost I want to say that I completely understand and support each party’s decision with regard to a change of producers for this year’s Academy Awards ceremony. I was truly looking forward to being a part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop, but I’m sure that the new production team and host will do an equally great job.”
Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.
After Brett Ratner’s spectacular self-inflicted demise as Oscarcast producer, the Academy gets down to business finding a replacement to join Don Mischer in picking up the pieces. I’ve heard speculation ranging from Scott Sanders (who was eyed before Ratner got the nod) to previous Oscar producers Joe Roth, Adam Shankman and Laurence Mark. Harvey Weinstein offered an out-of-the-box suggestion last night. Weinstein, who has sat through plenty of Oscarcasts, suggested drafting Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, and getting Tina Fey involved in the writing. The idea is they would make Eddie Murphy comfortable and give the broadcast a strong comic focus. I’m not sure Michaels or Fey could spare the time away from their weekly show obligations in New York, though. Who should produce the show?
The Brett Ratner situation is a sad mess all around. Sad for Ratner, sad for the Oscar show that he was to co-produce, and sad for the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences. The Academy in the past has weathered its share of nightmares surrounding the show, but never something quite like this. In 1967, an AFTRA strike nearly KO’d the telecast until the walkout was settled just three hours before showtime. Similarly, a WGA strike in 2008 was threatening until it was settled a few days before the airdate. In 1968, the show was nearly cancelled after Martin Luther King’s assassination but postponed for two days instead. In 1981, the Oscars were delayed a day after President Reagan was shot. As for participants, actors have refused to accept the statuette for myriad reasons, and winners have gone to political extremes in their speeches, but the Ratner situation is a new one for AMPAS.
The interesting thing is that outcries for Ratner’s ouster targeted the Academy even though Ratner’s offensive remarks were made during appearances in support of his new film Tower Heist for Universal (Friday night’s Q&A at the Arclight, where he uttered the gay slur, and Monday morning’s radio phone interview with The Howard Stern Show, where he made derogatory comments about women.) His words had nothing directly to do with the Oscars, yet it points to the power of the Academy Awards as an iconic symbol.
Ratner was an unorthodox choice to produce the Oscars. But he was part of a movement begun by the Academy last year with the selection of hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco to make the show more young, hip, and different. Hathaway and Franco bombed. But I had the pleasure of moderating a panel with Ratner for this year’s TCM Classic Movie Film Festival in April and found him exceptionally bright, informed, and savvy. I think this real movie fan would have produced a great show. I know he had great ideas for it. Despite his terrible judgment and stupid actions this week, I am sorry we won’t get the chance to see what he might have done. Ratner already was shaking things up. He changed talent bookers by hiring Melissa Watkins Trueblood over 38-year Oscar booking veteran Danette Herman, who is now just a consultant. The writing staff also is all new, and many are Ratner cronies; I doubt they’ll stay on board. That’s not a huge problem since the Academy hasn’t officially announced the team yet.
On the other hand, host Eddie Murphy also has his writers attached and they will stay on board — if Eddie stays on. Murphy, co-starring in Ratner’s Tower Heist, has appeared on many talk shows lately saying how much he is looking forward to hosting the Oscars as well as giving props to Ratner, who talked him into taking the gig. There is some media speculation that, with Ratner gone, Eddie will follow him out the door. I see that as highly unlikely — and I also don’t think Ratner himself would let that happen. Granted, Ratner’s exit caused a big ripple inside Hollywood. But Murphy’s exit would be a high-profile PR nightmare inside and outside Hollywood, creating the impression to the general public that the Oscars is in complete chaos.
So what happens now?
UPDATE: The Academy is not commenting beyond the statement it issued about Brett Ratner’s resignation, but I’m told that a search will begin quickly for another producer to join Don Mischer in putting together the Oscarcast. The expectation is at the moment is that Eddie Murphy will hang in as Oscar host. It is also clear that while AMPAS president Tom Sherak pledged to back Ratner as long as he didn’t screw up again, a chorus of Academy members, actors and filmmakers were so upset by Ratner’s homophobic comment and his lewd comments on the Howard Stern radio show that the Academy was under extreme pressure to drop him.
EARLIER: Brett Ratner has stepped down as Oscar producer, after a slew of dumb public statements that put the Academy in a terrible situation. This comes hours after Academy president Tom Sherak said he was standing behind Ratner despite his using the word “fag” in a Q&A to promote Tower Heist, and speaking graphically about his sex life on the cable TV show Attack of the Show and also in a phone interview with the Howard Stern show. From what I’m told, the Academy board met and backed Sherak’s decision to stand behind Ratner, but the filmmakers finally threw in the towel. I doubt anybody tried to talk him out of it. Now, the biggest question is: Will Eddie Murphy stay on as Oscar host? I wouldn’t be surprised that after Tower Heist‘s lackluster box office and all this maelstrom, Murphy might wonder why he ever said yes in the first place, and he has a perfect out. The other question is, who will become the new Oscar producer? The Academy will make its list quickly. I’m told that they were looking closely at New York stage producer Scott Sanders before they made the surprising decision to give the job to Ratner. Maybe they will go back to him or one of the other producers who’ve done the show before, a list that includes Joe Roth and Laurence Mark.
UPDATE: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will not take action after Brett Ratner made and then apologized for making an insensitive comment during a Q&A for his film Tower Heist. AMPAS president Tom Sherak told Deadline he is standing behind Ratner after the filmmaker apologized for saying that “rehearsal is for fags.”
But Sherak made it crystal clear that another indiscreet comment will not be tolerated. “His remarks were inappropriate,” Sherak told Deadline. “He said it best in his apology, that his comments were dumb and insensitive. When you think of our community, it went against all the beliefs of the creative community we represent. He knew it was wrong and he issued that response as quickly as any human being ever has. The bottom line is, this won’t and can’t happen again. It will not happen again. He apologized and we will move forward. How do I know this? I’ve known this man for a very long time. He has many friends who are members of the gay and lesbian community. The apology he gave I truly believe comes from his heart. If I didn’t believe it, I would do something about it. This is about integrity and honoring the Academy Awards, but we all make mistakes and I believe he didn’t mean it.”
EARLIER, 1:56 P.M. Director and Oscarcast producer Brett Ratner needs to conduct himself with more class in public appearances …
Eddie Murphy has never been one to mince words — if you could get him to sit down for an interview. And he has plenty to say about himself on several fronts (but not on any of the questions that have been off-limits forever) in Rolling Stone. But it’s good. Beverly Hills Cop IV? “They’re not doing it,” he says. “What I’m trying to do now is produce a TV show starring Axel Foley’s son, and Axel is the chief of police now in Detroit. I’d do the pilot, show up here and there. None of the movie scripts were right. It was trying to force the premise. If you have to force something you shouldn’t be doing it.” Agreed. The Oscars and the impression that he left the ceremony in a huff when Alan Arkin won best supporting actor for Little Miss Sunshine over Murphy’s work in Dreamgirls? Arkin’s was “a great performance,” Murphy says. “That’s just the way the shit went. He’s been gigging for years and years, the guy’s in his seventies. I totally understood and was totally cool.” What was hard to take, he suggests, was other people suddenly coming over to him while “I’m just chilling” and ever so earnestly expressing their condolences. “I didn’t have sour grapes at all. That’s another reason I wanted to host the show – to show them that I’m down with it.”
Eddie Murphy was on Late Night With David Letterman last night to promote Tower Heist, giving Letterman a chance to ask about Murphy’s upcoming Oscar-hosting gig. “It aint all it’s cracked up to be,” said a semi-joking Letterman, a former Oscar host himself. Murphy then went on to talk about what won’t be on his Oscarcast. Here’s the clip: