Eddie Murphy


Interviewed by Alec Cawthorne

After last year's criminal cop caper "Showtime" and the spaced-out "Pluto Nash", Eddie Murphy desperately needs to score a hit with "I-Spy". Even if he won't admit it...

Did you enjoy making this film?

Enjoy? I don't know if enjoy is the right word! It was a lot of hard work. It's a big action movie and it was really physical.

What attracted you to the story?

There were a bunch of different things in the script that were funny that I thought had commercial and creative opportunities. I liked the script and I thought that with some minor changes, we could do it. In the original script, my character was a basketball player rather than a boxer. I didn't think I could pull that off. I'm a little short to be a basketball player!

What about incorporating boxing into your role? It's something you used to do, isn't it?

It was kind of easy because I grew up around boxing, so all I had to do was get in shape and work out a little bit. It was convenient that I grew up around it and was able to use it in the movie.

How much of the finished film is scripted and how much was improvised on the set?

It's a combination of both. Maybe 70% of what you see is in the script and then we improvised. We liked to make stuff up and have fun. Some of my best stuff is stuff we just came up with on the set. In a movie like this, the relationship between the two guys is crucial. It sinks or swims on how these two guys are together. I think we did a good job.

Big box office success has eluded you on your last couple of films. Do you worry now about whether a movie will be a hit?

No, I don't worry. I'm relaxed about my career. I've been making movies for over 20 years, so I've earned at least the right to relax. You know, making a movie is a collaborative effort and sometimes all the ingredients don't work out. I know that every now and again I am going to make a movie that won't work. I've made 30 movies and for the most part my movies work. In a business where success is an exception and not the rule, I've mostly been successful.