It took Eddie Murphy more than a decade to get a movie made about Rudy Ray Moore. Judging by the response to the film at the Toronto International Film Festival, the wait was worth it.
“Dolemite Is My Name” drew some of the best reviews of Murphy’s career, following the film’s premiere over the weekend in Toronto.
It had been a while. Murphy’s last two leading performances — 2016’s “Mr. Church” and 2012’s “A Thousand Words” — were little-seen and little loved.
But “Dolemite Is My Name” was a passion project for the 58-year-old comedian. He long ago met with Moore, who died in 2008 at the age of 81, to discuss making a movie about the comedian. Moore’s famous character — the straight-talking, Kung fu-fighting pimp Dolemite — was his stand-up persona and star of the 1975 Blaxploitation classic “Dolemite.”
“I never let go of the idea. It was always something I thought could be a great movie. I had been sitting on the couch. I took some time to do nothing,” Murphy said in an interview. “It goes back to when Rudy was alive. I literally went to see him at a club. It just didn’t come together. And there was no Netflix back then.”
“Dolemite Is My Name,” directed by Craig Brewer (“Hustle & Flow”), will be released by Netflix in theaters Oct. 4 and begin streaming on Oct. 25. It’s penned by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who memorably wrote another tale about an inexpert filmmaker: “Ed Wood.”
“Dolemite Is My Name” chronicles the ramshackle, threadbare making of “Dolemite” with Wesley Snipes playing director D’Urville Martin. It’s a paean to low-budget moviemaking and a celebration of creating something out of nothing, outside a movie system that made scant room for African-American stories.
For Brewer, a Memphis, Tennessee, native, it’s a testament to the independent filmmaking of his. – AP NEWS