The ArcLight Hollywood drew a swarm of fans and entertainers Tuesday night as a line of individuals waited to take photos with Eddie Murphy at the premiere of Cinelou Films’ “Mr. Church.”
Industry heavyweights such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Arsenio Hall, Jerry Bruckheimer and AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs were on hand to welcome Murphy’s return after a four-year hiatus from the big screen following the 2012 comedy-drama “A Thousand Words.”
“It was written in the stars like it was meant to be,” described Cinelou co-CEO Courtney Solomon alongside business partner Mark Canton. “He wasn’t doing anything because he didn’t want to do anything. When we had the idea, we were told that he was semi-retired and happy, but he read that script and apparently cried.”
The two Cinelou toppers told Variety that Murphy was their first choice after reading Susan McMartin ’s story because they “have a thing about comedians doing dramatic roles.” Jennifer Aniston starred in the company’s first dramatic feature “Cake” in 2014 and Leslie Mann has been announced to lead their forthcoming dramedy “The Comedian.”
“I usually don’t get stuff that’s written like this. This is dealing with cancer and people dying and I’ve never read anything like that before,” Murphy said about taking the dramatic role of the title character who befriends and supports a dying mother and her child in 1970s Los Angeles.
The 55-year-old also warned those who still anticipate his comedic return that they will have to just keep waiting. “My stuff is on TV all the time for anyone checking for it,” Murphy said of his previous comedies. “When do they think they will hear me say something funny [in the future]? I don’t know because from here, I’m going back to the backyard to chill.”
After the screening, the film’s director Bruce Beresford, star Britt Robertson and other guests headed to Stella Barra Pizzeria to celebrate the premiere with family, friends and Italian entrees.
“Mr. Church” bows Sept. 16.
Mannie Holmes © 2016 Variety Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC