Paramount was looking for Eddie Murphy movies. And I pitched my idea: How about Eddie Murphy being a lover of movies in the South, in the 1920s, but he's a janitor at a movie theater and he wants to be a movie star and he moves to Los Angeles around the beginning of the sound era because he's got fantasies of being Valentino or some leading man. And then the reality of the racism of the time would be that the only parts that he could get are as chefs, in Three Stooges shorts and as African natives in King Kong. You take Eddie Murphy's outgoing personality and put him in that situation, it would be really funny. And I was told that I was an idiot because there were two things very wrong with what I was talking about. One, I was pitching Eddie Murphy as a Black Man and I was wrong to think of that. He's not a Black Man-he's a funny man. And then I was told that audiences did not understand the difference between silent movies and sound movies and they would be utterly confused. ..
With that kind of experience, I thought, Oh, this [screenwriting] isn't for me. I'll just do journalism and cartoons.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
For the Writers Guild of America West, Richard Stayton talks to Matt Groening about his career so far.