Why Eddie Murphy Took A Step Back From Acting For A While

Eddie Murphy as Rudy Ray Moore in Dolemite is my name
(Image credit: (Netflix))

Dolemite Is My Name marked an exciting new chapter in Eddie Murphy’s career. Although the actor was snubbed for an Oscar nomination in the comedy about Rudy Ray Moore’s life, it was just the beginning of a comeback for the actor. Murphy is set to return to his most iconic roles with the upcoming Coming 2 America and Beverly Hills Cop 4. Now he’s opening up about why he greatly left life in a spotlight for a number of years. In his words:

Maybe about eight years ago, I said it’s time to take a break and not really be pushing at movies like I used to. Getting it right, and getting it right with the director, and getting it right with the writers, and having everything work together—that takes a lot of effort, you know, and it’s strenuous. I had gotten to where I was just so burnt out on the process of making a movie that if I was a little boy I would start crying.

There was a time when Eddie Murphy was making multiple movies a year. Throughout the ‘00s, the comedian appeared in movies like Shrek, Dr. Dolittle, The Haunted Mansion, Dreamgirls and Norbit. When he reached the end of a massive decade, he was starting to reach burnout and he decided to step back. Murphy elaborated with these words to Vanity Fair about why he was feeling so sad on sets:

Just the process. Just the process of being on set in the movies, at the level that I was making movies from a really young age, and to be doing it constantly. Just the whole sitting in the trailer and waiting, and all the little… Making a movie is a collaborative effort. My career, or what I am as an artist, that’s not at the center of my life. At the center of my life is my family and my kids. That’s the principal relationship, and everything comes after that. I have 10 kids, and I’m present, and I’m part of their lives. You got to have some kind of balance with career and personal life. I started making movies when I was 20, and I auditioned for SNL when I was 18, so that’s 40 years ago. So I had a little crossroads where it was like, It’s time to back off, and sit on the couch and just be Dad. Now, I just want to do stuff where there’s an emotional hook, and it’s something that I’m really into, and not just doing it because, you know, somebody flashed a big dollar sign in front of you.

It sounds like Eddie Murphy really needed the time away to recenter himself and fall in love with his work again. And just the fact that he has ten kids is reason enough, right? By taking that time away, he was given a chance at a normal life with them and to really be in their lives. It looks like the break gave Murphy the balance he needed to get back to work without pushing on and doing it just for the the paycheck.

Eddie Murphy has been open about his career lately, admitting he feels like an “idiot” for turning down the Disney classic Who Framed Roger Rabbit back in the ‘80s and calling out one of his biggest flops, 2008’s Meet Dave, while accepting a Critics Choice Award. Dolemite Is My Name was the most high-profile project Eddie Murphy had done in a long time and it became a two-time Golden Globe nominee, among other accolades.

The actor has had a long career, starting things off on Saturday Night Live when he was just 18, and from there he continued to propel forward until he finally needed to push on the brakes. Eddie Murphy recently finished filming the sequel to 1988’s Coming to America, with Dolemite’s director Craig Brewer helming and Black-ish creator Kenya Barris having his name on the script. The movie sees the return of James Earl Jones and Arsenio Hall’s characters, among others, along with Tracy Morgan and Wesley Snipes joining the cast.

Coming 2 America comes to theaters on December 18.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.