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COMING 2 AMERICA Press Conference By Zach Pope

Zach had the pleasure of attending the virtual press conference for Amazon Prime and Paramount Picture’s venture back into Zamunda the African Nation with Coming 2 America. It has been over 30 years since we have seen Prince Akeem Joffre (Eddie Murphy) the crowned Prince. Who we last saw marrying Lisa (Shari Headley) the love of his life who he found in Queens, New York. Now Akeem Joffre is back with Lisa, King Jaffa (James Earl Jones), Semmi ( Arsenio Hall) Cleo McDowell (John Amos) and so many more that will truly surprise the audience. Welcoming even newcomers to the party like Wesley Snipes, Kiki Layne, Leslie Jones, Tracey Morgan, Jermaine Fowler, Teyana Taylor, and even Luenell.  

 At the press conference I attended Early last Month, I had the chance to learn so much about the amount of fun, heart, and truly the discussions of how much this film means to everyone who was part of creating the next generation of COMING 2 AMERICA

 Each press conference group was facilitated in 3 groups. The first group featured a majority of the newcomers to the family, You had the likes of Wesley Snipes, Jermaine Fowler, Tatyana Taylor, Tracy Morgan, Nomzamo Mbatha, Rotimi, and Luenell. The first group really much felt inspired by the classic comedy and shared much of how much it meant to be apart of this one. Even adding in some of their favorite moments from the original film. Leading to memories of Randy Watson and the Barbershop. Hearing the group talk about the original not just made me personally remember my favorite moments, but just had me more excited for the first. Personally from the first group, a major thing that was brought up was the heart in the first film and the way it transpires into the sequel. Truly much making this entire cast feel like one blended family inside and out of the movie. This lead to Tracy Morgan feeling so excited as he kept expressing his love for the first. This group ended with Snipes joining at the very end to discuss one of the major action scenes in the film. Snipes mentioned how the women of Zamunda are strong and never pulled any punches when it came to him. Leading to his enthusiasm about joining the sequel to the beloved classic. His favorite moment in the first was the opening sequences with African dance scenes and or the dancers. Being the newcomers you can feel the energy flowing through all of them with their excitement.  

 The second group for Coming 2 America had the likes of Louie Anderson, Paul Bates, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Garcelle Beauvoir, and John Amos. This group felt like a personal reunion with a lot of the side cast that we all know and love coming together to discuss their favorite memories of the first and the way that it felt to all come back together as one family. This felt like the gift that just keeps giving. Louie Anderson joins to really much share his love of the first and how that transfused into this one. Leading to what they felt was important. It was great to see how the side characters who had memorable moments in the first continue to come back and make more memorable moments for the sequel. Something mentioned here that felt so special for the time we live in now compared to when they made the original film is that Coming 2 America was created at the Tyler Perry Studios. Garcelle Beauvais mentions that “ When production picks you up to take you from the hotel to the set, and being on the highway and seeing the exit sign that says Tyler Perry Studios was really… it just caught me off guard and it was bigger than I ever thought.” Times have changed and for the better. The African American community feels to grow to that next level each and every year and to see where the sequel is being handled now is just inspiring to many. 

The third and final group for The Coming 2 America cast featured new and old all coming together. With the likes of Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Bella Murphy, Ailey Love, and Leslie Jones. Personally, for me, this was the group that I needed in my life and more. Murphy really much described the journey of bringing this family to the next generation. How it took over 30 years and the number of scripts it took to figure out the overall story that was needed to not just continue Akeem’s journey to the next step but really much still continues to make an impact that was important as the first film very much did. Along the way of this though discussions were held of some fun insight to certain characters. It’s no secret that Murphy and Hall played multiple characters in the first film and the same continues for the third. With this element, Murphy had to find a way to bring each character back in a way that felt seamless and not forces. This adding a tough element to the entire story. One new character that we have in this film is the “ Witch Doctor” One that looks to of had an extensive amount of makeup taken to the overall production. The original player for this was supposed to be Dave Chappel but as scheduling conflicts came into play, Hall decided that he would jump into the makeup. Creating another fantastic character for the entire world. Adding in with the makeup the original idea was also to just have Murphy play both The Witch Doctor and General Izzi. Practicality though this changed as the makeup process for both characters would have easily been around 6-8 hours. But the difficulties only continued as to get his father James Earl Jones in to the mix, his scenes had to be shot in a completely different area making a whole other element of the film tough to bring about. But the element of the entire film I was looking forward to seeing is the reunion of Akeem and Lisa. Murphy described this as one of the most important pieces of the puzzle and making sure it felt like time had passed in between their relationship. Now sporting children and a future where does that leave Akeem in his own life. 

Coming 2 America is truly sounding like the movie we are all going to need for laughs, for heart, and truly for family. The cast here expressed the lengths they all went to bring back this nation and bring about a story that was worthy to the first. Hearing Murphy, Hall, Snipes, Morgan, and the rest of the cast really came here to show what Coming Too America is all about. I am looking forward to the sequel and all of you should be as well. As Murphy said it’s been in the works for over 30 years and it finally premiers March 5th on Prime Video. 

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