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Judge Reinhold remembers Eddie Murphy turning OG Beverly Hills Cop into comedy classic

Ahead of the release of the fourth Beverly Hills Cop, Judge Reinheld recalled how Eddue Murphy helped transform the original movie.

As a standout on Saturday Night Live and with 48 Hrs. proving to be a hit (while also reinventing the buddy cop movie), Eddie Murphy was going to be the star of the 1980s. So when Beverly Hills Cop was about to roll around, things were looking on pace for Murphy. Only, it wasn’t even going to star him at all – it was meant for Sylvester Stallone! In fact, Judge Reinhold even had his part in line before Eddie Murphy came on board.

Speaking at the world premiere of the latest Beverly Hills Cop installment, Axel F, Judge Reinhold – who played Detective Billy Rosewood in all four movies – remembered being hired before Eddie Murphy took over as Axel Foley, a role that looked to be Sly’s for the taking. Once Stallone left to do Cobra, Murphy came on board and helped turn it into a comedy, as opposed to the straight-up action flick it was originally written as. “We weren’t a comedy, we weren’t. Eddie was fine flying by the seat of his pants, that’s not a problem for him, but it was nerve-wracking for us.”

With not nearly as much comedy in the original script as would end up on the screen, there was a collaborative effort to ensure that Beverly Hills Cop could fit the ever-growing Eddie Murphy mold. In addition to Sam Simon being brought in to work on the screenplay and director Martin Brest encouraging improv, the production clearly supported a loose environment that would promote as much humor as ever. As Reinhold told Deadline, “Once scene you may not know was improvised was…all the scenes with John [Ashton, Sergeant John Taggart] and I in the unmarked car on stakeout. Marty Brest, the original director, just gave us free reign. We shot a lot of film – that was expensive then.”

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With Murphy on board and the necessary punch-ups on the page, Beverly Hills Cop would go on to become one of the funniest movies of the 1980s, if not ever. It, too, was insanely successful at the box office, becoming the highest-grossing R-rated comedy ever at the time. Forty years on, it’s still one of the top R-rated movies in terms of grosses, sitting just outside of the top 10 – so put that banana in your tailpipe!

How would you rank the Beverly Hills Cop series ahead of Axel F? Where does it stand in your list of funniest Eddie Murphy movies?



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