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. The pilot was produced by Sony Pictures TV, with Paramount, as rights holder, coming on board after the pilot green light for what the company billed as its re-entry into television. (Paramount is restarting a TV production operation.) For whatever reason, Paramount-CBS politics or pilot testing depending who you ask, the project shockingly did not go to series. But it drew enough attention to the franchise to spawn a new movie.
Appelbaum, Nemec and Murphy are all repped by WME.
I can't say I'm too excited about this. Beverly Hills Cop III was such utter horse shit, and it's probably one of the worst #3's in any franchise/film series. After he breaks out of his shell in II, they inexplicably turn Rosewood into a shy and nervous wimp again. Murphy just phoned it, and Axel Foley was a watered down version of the character we saw in the first two films. The humor and the plot were horrendous, and the R rating felt so unnecessary.
After Tower Heist, I had some restored faith in Eddie Murphy, but A Thousand Words just reminded me of how shit Murphy's been over the years. Yes, I know the studio (forget which one) wanted to capitalize off of Murphy's success in Tower Heist, so they released A Thousand Words, a film that was sitting on the shelf since 2008. But it was a terrible comedy regardless.
As far as a director goes, maybe they'll choose Brett Ratner? Hell, Murphy and Ratner have become such good buddies in real life, and Ratner can still brag about Rush Hour. I've seen some people suggest Michael Bay in other places, and dear god I hope that doesn't happen. From reading other comments, some people are suggesting Bay's "noisy, senseless barrage of action sequences, and let's blow shit up every five minutes" style would be a perfect fit for a Beverly Hills Cop film, but I can't see it. If I was forced to choose between the two, I'd EASILY take Ratner over Bay any day of the week. Hopefully, we'll see the real Axel Foley from I and II, and not the imitation PG Axel Foley from III.