After spending most of the last decade in a Medium Place occupied by the occasional role in a poorly-reviewed dramedy (remember Mr. Church? A Thousand Words?) and recording reggae music in his home studio, Eddie Murphy is making his return to the blue comedy that made him famous. He’s doing so with a starring role in an upcoming biopic of Dolemite himself, Rudy Ray Moore, the late comedian who gifted the world with such fantastically filthy album covers as Eat Out More Often and I Can’t Believe I Ate The Whole Thing!. (Don’t click those links if you’re at work, by the way.)
The film, which starts production next week, is being directed by Craig Brewer, who broke onto the scene with Hustle & Flow back in 2005 and more recently has been helming episodes of Fox’s Empire. The script is from the team of Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who previously wrote biopics of outsider legends Andy Kaufman (Man On The Moon), Larry Flynt (The People Vs. Larry Flynt), and Ed Wood (Ed Wood, duh). All three of those films earned their leads lots of critical acclaim and awards-season attention, suggesting that Murphy may be hoping to wash the taste of his last few films out of the public’s mouth with another Oscar nomination. (He was nominated for his role in 2006's Dreamgirls, which seems so long ago now.)
Speaking of dirty mouths, Moore grew famous on the strength of his, building an underground empire with his X-rated “party records.” Now virtually extinct, the “party record” was basically an especially raunchy comedy album designed to be played whenever you needed to get the party started. The form, which was especially popular among African-Americans, died out in the late ‘70s—ironically around the time Murphy got his start in stand-up—but Moore’s signature syncopated delivery has been influencing rappers and comedians ever since. Today, Moore is best remembered for his extremely low-budget, wildly entertaining series of Dolemite movies, starting with Dolemite in 1975 and continuing through 1979's Disco Godfather. If you’re a fan of flamboyant polyester fashions and endearingly shitty kung fu action, they’re the best. He died in 2008.
No title or release date for the film have been set as of yet, but it’s being produced by and will presumably premiere on Netflix. In the meantime, remember, kids—If you ever see a ghost, cut the motherfucker.