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Just days after receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes (and dropping a much-discussed Will Smith joke) Eddie Murphy continued his triumphant return to the spotlight at the premiere for his newest feature film, Netflix’s You People.
Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Nia Long, Lauren London, David Duchovny and director Kenya Barris all walked the red carpet in Westwood on Tuesday to celebrate the comedy that examines issues of race and class in Los Angeles. The film is centered around the interracial relationship between Ezra (played by Jonah Hill) and Amira (played by London) and follows the clashes, conflicts and misunderstandings that occur when their families meet.
In addition to directing, Barris co-wrote the script with Hill (who was not present at the event after announcing last year he would no longer take part in press tours to protect his mental health), and Barris told The Hollywood Reporter how he and the actor first came together as collaborators.
“I was a big fan of Jonah for years. We started texting back and forth because I really loved [Hill’s feature directorial debut] Mid90s, and we started talking about film,” Barris explained. “He was in an interracial relationship at the time, and we started having that conversation. We were both from L.A. and we were like, ‘There’s never been a love letter to L.A. from our generation.’ We wanted to write a love letter to L.A., a love letter to the culture. And I think that’s hopefully what comes across to the audience.”
While Barris may have been a fan of Hill’s, the film’s castmembers were all clearly big fans of Murphy’s, and they shared the excitement in working with the legendary comedian.
Louis-Dreyfus plays Hill’s mother Shelley, and despite her contentious onscreen relationship with Murphy, she told THR that it was “super fun” to reunite with her old co-star.
“I know Eddie from back in the day because we were on SNL together, so it was like a high school reunion and it was really fun to jump back on the court and just start playing again,” the star said.
Those feelings were echoed by Anthony Anderson, who starred in Barris’ hit sitcom Black-ish and also has a cameo role in You People.
“Eddie and I have worked together before; our first movie was Life, over 25 years ago,” Anderson remembered. “To become personal friends with him over the years and to be back onscreen with him again in You People is a great moment for all of us, and to see him back on the big screen is beautiful.”
And while some co-stars were having reunions with Murphy, the film’s younger stars could only express their admiration for the man who defined comedy when they were growing up. Sam Jay, who plays Ezra’s best friend, Mo, beamed when asked if she grew up a fan of his work.
“I was born in the ’80s so I think that it would be impossible not to be,” Jay teased. “When I met him I tried not to fan-girl out. I would just be nervous within my own body and then run off to the bathroom and scream.”
You People debuts on Netflix on Jan. 27.
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