When recent rumors of Eddie Murphy's supposed immanent retirement began floating around the internet last month, I admit I was surprised at how vitriolic many were towards the comedy great. Shut up already, they seemed to scream in unison.
If you're one of those people, well, we've got some good news, and some bad news.
"This picture I'm doing now called "A Thousand Words" is like nothing I’ve ever done before. It's not a kids movie, a family movie. It's a really, funny smart picture. Different," Murphy told MTV News. "I play this literary agent who finds out he only has 1000 words left to say and then he's going to die."
It's another high concept project from frequent Murphy collaborator Brian Robbins ("Meet Dave," "Norbit") but one which means, quite literally, that for the first time in his career Murphy has to remain completely and totally silent for most of a movie. Forget about the debate over "Beverly Hills Cop 4," and whether it will or will not contain profanity. The second half of this movie won't contain WORDS.
"The whole second half of the picture, my character can't talk. This is a guy who's used his mouth. He's always fast talking, and all of a sudden he has to shut the f—k up," Murphy said. "It turns into this like charade."
For Murphy, playing a character without speech is an opportunity to play up his "physical comedy," he said.
"I feel like I'm a student of the art form. I don't put myself on the same pedestal as Chaplin and Keaton in terms of talent, but I am a link in the chain," he insisted. "I know who was in the game before me. I know why it was funny. And I know who's important in comedy. I'm not just a funny guy who got in the mix. I know who the great ones are, and why they were great."
The question these days seems to be: Is Murphy himself one of those greats? If you ask me, unequivocally, and "A Thousand Words" seems right in his wheelhouse. Are you looking forward to it as much as I am? Sound off below.