Eddie Murphy is an actor who seems to be trying to recapture his childhood. The actor has spent a good portion of his career in the last decade or so making movies aimed at families and children. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. It’s just strange when you look back on the first part of his career and see that movies like “Beverly Hills Cop,” “48 HRS.,” and “Trading Places” were how he got his start. My how things change when you have kids.
It has been announced that Murphy will be voicing the lead canine in Alcon Entertainment’s big-screen adaptation of the popular 1970’s cartoon “Hong Kong Phooey.” As usual, the movie will be a mix of live action and animation. Isn’t that exciting? We get another great classic cartoon desecrated again in the tradition of “Yogi Bear,” “The Smurfs,” and countless others. You can bet it will be in 3D, too. The film will be released by Warner Bros.
The original “Hong Kong Phooey” show revolved around “a mild-mannered dog named Penry [that] stumbles into a mystic ceremony and is accidentally granted mystic powers, including the ability to walk, talk, and do kung fu. Under the tutelage of his kung fu master, Penry dons a costume and becomes Hong Kong Phooey, and with the help of his trusting sidekick Spot the cat cleans up a rogues gallery of wacky criminals.”
With a reputation for being able to change his voice and even his appearance and mannerisms (see “The Nutty Professor” movies and “Coming to America”), Murphy is the perfect choice to bring “Hong Kong Phooey” to the big screen. The actor has more than proven himself through his work in the “Shrek” movies, “Mulan,” and “The PJs.” He will be inheriting the role from the late great Scatman Crothers (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “The Shining”) who voiced the character in the original series.
“We could not be happier that Eddie Murphy will star as Phooey. There is no overstating his contributions to cinema, and to such enduring stars of family entertainments such as ‘Shrek’ and ‘Dr. Dolittle.’ We look forward to watching him re-imagine yet another classic character,” said Alcon co-founders and co-CEO’s Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove in a joint statement.
Alex Zamm has been chosen to direct the film. Zamm has made a career out of directing children’s’ television movies like “The Pooch and the Pauper,” “My Date with the President’s Daughter,” and “Snow.” Most of his feature work has been direct-to-DVD movies and sequels such as “Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2,” “Dr. Dolittle: Million Dollar Mutts,” and “The Haunting Hour: Don’t Think About It.” One unforgivable sin he committed was directing the Carrot Top movie “Chairman of the Board.” “Hong Kong Phooey” will be his second theatrical release and first one since that epic disaster.
“Hong Kong Phooey” will be produced by Kosove and Johnson, Jay Stern, and Brett Ratner. Steven P. Wegner will executive produce. With Ratner onboard, we can expect a few good action sequences and some entertaining “buddy cop” type back and forth between Murphy’s Hong Kong Phooey and whoever will play his human sidekick. The script for the film is being written by David A. Goodman (“Family Guy,” “Futurama,” and “Star Trek: Enterprise”).
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
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