Coming to America is a pure comedy gold, but did you know….
1. It became an Eddie Murphy trademark throughout his career for playing multiple characters in a film, something he has done on seven separate occasions (including in films such as The Nutty Professor, Bow Finger and Norbit) – Coming to America was the first time he had done this signature act of his;
2. Eddie Murphy and Director John Landis who had previously teamed up to work together on Trading Places fell out during filming with Murphy vowing afterwards to never work with him again. They later reconciled and worked together on Beverly Hills Cop 3 released 6 years later;
3. Paula Abdul was a choreographer for the film having choreographed the celebratory dance scene at the palace of Zamunda. Director John Landis also directed Michael Jackson’s Thriller video and it is speculated that some of the dance moves in this scene are based on that;
MORE 5 things we know about Coming 2 America here
4. Coming to America marked the acting debut of Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Junior;
5. A pilot episode for a weekly sitcom spinoff show was produced by CBS starring Tommy Davidson and with Paul Bates reprising his role as Oha. The pilot was not well received, went unsold and plans to run a full series were shelved. You can still view the full pilot episode on YouTube;
6. We all know that James Earl Jones was the voice of Mufasa in Disney’s The Lion King but there is another Lion King connection with this film in that his on screen wife Queen Aeoleon played by Madge Sinclair provided the voice for Mufasa’s wife and queen Sarabi in the Lion King marking the second time that they had played a couple in film;
7. The iconic McDonald’s rip off McDowell’s restaurant was given full approval by the McDonald’s Corporation but the owner of a nearby McDonald’s restaurant was unaware of this and actually hired a lawyer and threatened the production crew with a lawsuit after seeing the McDowell’s sign;
8. There was some speculation that the fictional name of ‘Zamunda’ came from a comedy routine by the comedy legend Richard Pryor but during the DVD commentary screenwriters have said that it is a play on the name of writer Bob Zmuda;
9. Writer Art Buckwald successfully sued Paramount Pictures after claiming that they had stolen his script idea for the movie from one of his own. He was awarded damages and received a settlement.
10. Prince Killmonger? Black Panther Director Ryan Coogler had previously pitched an idea of a sequel directly to Eddie Murphy that would have seen him directing and long-term collaborator Michael B. Jordan play the son of Prince Akeem looking for his own wife but Murphy rejected the idea.