Eddie Murphy; Angela Bassett; Allen Payne; Kadeem Hardison; Zakes Mokae; Joanna Cassidy; Simbi Khali; Messiri Freeman.
My agent called saying that Eddie Murphy, who had been a big fan apparently, especially of The Hills Have Eyes, wanted to make a vampire movie, and would I like to be the director.
I think probably the budget for Vampire was one of our largest, but it wasn't huge, by any means. It was, by the studio standards, low budget. So, it was a tight budget to work with, given all the factors of working on the studio lot.
In Vampire, Eddie wanted to play a really dark and bad character. He didn't necessarily want to do comedy. The studio very much wanted him to do comedy. I think they sensed that they were just one Nutty Professor away from a lot of money. But Eddie both did and didn't want to go that way. So, he kind of played the comedy, but he also played the character quite dark, and not completely insanely funny, and not vulnerable, which is a way that we had suggested to him. But he simply did not want to take that course. So, he played this kind of straight character with funny ancillary characters that would kind of spice up and choke his comic charms, you know.
Eddie Murphy is a very, very complex guy. He used to call me at 3:00 in the morning, because he knew that I was a night owl, and he is, too. And one of the interesting things to realize about a star of that magnitude is that their area of privacy is very constricted. That's the first time I really felt that to that extreme. When he would get into the makeup of some of those secondary characters he played, then he seemed most relaxed. He would sometimes even go off the lot in makeup because he could move through culture, through society, unrecognized and could just be himself.
I heard a report from the Nutty Professor set that he once went out in the complete fat-suit get-up, went to a playground, and just played with the children. He was completely and innocently free. It's a very interesting thing when you see somebody like that who, when he's himself, has to move surrounded by people. Anytime that he's out among the public, people go for him. It was a fascinating thing to watch.
Wes is very open to ideas. You can come in with suggestions, and he supports that. He's great, and he's a great person to work with.
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