Eddie Murphy takes over the cult role of Axel Foley in “The Beverly Hills Cop 2”. A sequel for which producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer call on Tony Scott after the success of “Top Gun”. At first reluctant, the director fears having a very complicated experience with the star of the film …
Beverly Hills Cop 2 : Axel Foley against the Alphabet gang
Went from the stage to the movies teaming up with Nick Nolte in 48 hours, then with Dan Aykroyd in An armchair for two, Eddie Murphy finds himself headlining alone with Beverly Hills Cop. Two years after the release of this first part directed by Martin Brest, Axel Foley made his comeback in cinemas in 1987, when he was initially due to return to television, which his interpreter had categorically refused.
Investigating undercover in Detroit to dismantle a dark credit card deal, the policeman rushes to Los Angeles when he learns that Commissioner Bogomil (Ronny Cox) has been shot and wounded. Arrived in California, Foley reunites with his friends Taggart (John Ashton) and Rosewood (Judge Reinhold).
His partners tell him that the enigmatic Alphabet gang, specializing in robberies, is behind the attempted assassination of Bogomil. The trio sets out on the trail of criminals, led by the formidable Karla Fry (Brigitte Nielsen).
Jürgen Prochnow, Dean Stockwell and Paul Reiser complete the cast of this sequel directed by Tony Scott. With Beverly Hills Cop 2, the filmmaker signs his third feature film, after The predators and Top Gun.
Tony Scott intimidated by Eddie Murphy
After the success of Top Gun, producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer turn to the director once again for Axel Foley’s return. Tony Scott, who has just passed his forties, is initially reluctant towards the project, convinced that he is not made for comedy. Cited in the book Tony Scott, The Last Samaritan Aubry Salmon, the filmmaker who died in 2012 says on this subject:
The idea of making a comedy terrified me. But Don and Jerry kept telling me, ‘It’s okay, you can do it, you can do it.
Faced with the insistence of Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson, Ridley Scott’s brother finally accepts. Then comes the director’s second fear, which this time concerns Eddie Murphy. Having heard of thehas a complicated reputation as a comedian, Tony Scott is petrified at the idea of directing it:
I remember being terrified of working with such a big star as Eddie Murphy. At first I couldn’t speak in front of him. I was silent.
Their first exchange turns out to be particularly intimidating:
I went to see him at his place. He was playing pool while listening to Prince on his stereo. Eddie continued to play as I spoke. He was probably wondering if he wanted to spend the next three months with me … His game over, he turned to me and raised his thumb to signify that he accepted me as a director.
An actor and a director accomplices
Despite this singular meeting and despite the apprehensions of Tony Scott, the current goes perfectly between him and Eddie Murphy. The actor often bedrooms the director, a visual artist who will never cease to develop his staging until the experimental Domino :
I thought he was going to destroy me. He (Eddie Murphy) played with me – he was like, ‘This shot won’t be in the movie. This is arty crap. He was betting on it. So I kept all the arty shots in the film! And at the end he applauded the style of the movie, but actually I just let him do his thing, be who he really is.
Of the three opuses of the saga, Bevely Hills Cop 2 clearly stands out as the one with the most marked aesthetic choices. The filmmaker also salutes the professionalism and the capacity for improvisation of the star.
By leaving a huge playing field for the interpreter of Axel Foley, Tony Scott proves in passing that he knows how to establish a comic rhythm, even if humor is not his favorite register. He returned brilliantly in 1992 with the buddy movie The Last Samaritan, helped by the script of Shane Black as well as the duo formed by Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans.