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Eddie Murphy says starring in first classic Christmas film was ‘no brainer’

Eddie Murphy said reuniting with director Reginald Hudlin to star in his first classic Christmas film was a “no brainer” after reading the “unique” script.

The Hollywood star had connected with Hudlin, who directed his 1992 hit Boomerang, “throwing ideas back and forth” for some time before settling on upcoming film Candy Cane Lane opposite singer Diana Ross’ daughter Tracee Ellis Ross.

“(Hudlin) put together this great presentation, the best I’d ever seen anybody put together (about) how he would do the movie, it was like ‘hey this is a no brainer’,” Murphy said during a press conference in Los Angeles.

LA Premiere of “Candy Cane Lane”
Director Reginald Hudlin and Eddie Murphy at the film’s premiere in Los Angeles (Chris Pizzello/AP)

“I thought the script was unique and I thought it had all the elements that you’re supposed to have in a Christmas movie, where you can watch it over and over again like all the Christmas movies I would watch every year, all the time.

“I thought this could be one of those kinds of movies that families can revisit.”

He joked his relationship with Hudlin had the “same dynamic, just a little slower” after more than three decades since filming comedy Boomerang.

The 62-year-old also agreed there was a debate over if Candy Cane Lane was his first Christmas film after starring in Trading Places and Coming To America – but said they were only “suggesting holidays” not a dedicated classic Christmas film.

Meanwhile Ellis Ross said she had “very deep” conversations off-set with Murphy which helped build the foundation of their on-screen marriage.

LA Premiere of “Candy Cane Lane”
Eddie Murphy and Tracee Ellis Ross star in Candy Cane Lane (Chris Pizzello/AP)

“What you guys don’t know that I learned doing this film is that Eddie is an extraordinary film and music buff, beyond belief,” the 51-year-old said.

“The film references, the music references, they are pretty obscure. I watched one of them…I’ve never been more disturbed in my life.

“…This is what I mean conversations with Eddie, they are very deep, very deep. What that built into was a relationship, a connection, and chemistry for a husband and wife…It built a rapport.”

The holiday comedy follows Chris (Murphy) who inadvertently makes a deal with a mischievous elf while on a mission to win his neighbourhood’s annual Christmas home decoration contest.

Ellis Ross described starring opposite Murphy as a treat and an honour “to be able to work with somebody that you’ve admired, whose work you’ve known and grown up with”.

LA Premiere of “Candy Cane Lane”
Tracee Ellis Ross at the premiere of Candy Cane Lane (Chris Pizzello/AP)

“The thing about Eddie is he’s hilarious, but what makes everyone hilarious around him is he’s a really generous actor,” she said.

“It’s not all about Eddie being the funny person in the scene, for Eddie it’s about the grounded-ness, the reason that I’ve loved his comedy for so long, it’s not based on being funny, it’s based on being real.

“And so there’s a connection that has to be there for it to come across in the right way and that’s what he does.

“He’s not sitting there trying to get you to set up his funny, and his jokes, he’s actually playing with you. That’s what makes it fun and that’s what makes it work,” she added.

While two of their three on-screen children – played by Genneya Walton and Thaddeus Mixson – both said they learned from their time with Murphy and Ellis Ross on set.

“I think the main thing (I learned) was probably just getting out of my own head because you know there’s a lot going on on the set but they’re absolute pros at improv-ing and just being on top of it so I was having to be on my toes,” Walton said.

Candy Cane Lane will premiere globally on December 1, exclusively on Prime Video.