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After premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival at the beginning of September and getting a limited theatrical release earlier this month, Dolemite Is My Name, Eddie Murphy’s first R-rated comedy in 20 years, is finally available on Netflix for all to enjoy. While Murphy is front and center in this hilarious biopic about filmmaker Rudy Ray Moore, he and the other talent want to make sure that people know this movie wouldn’t exist without his late brother, Charlie Murphy.
For those unaware, ‘Signifying Monkey’ refers to the famous speech that Rudy Ray Moore gave in the original Dolemite, which came out in 1975. Dolemite Is My Name chronicles Moore’s rise to stardom and the making of that blaxploitation movie, but it this project wouldn’t have gotten off the ground if he hadn’t heard the Charlie Murphy interview.
As far as Eddie Murphy’s concerned, he remembers Charlie Murphy constantly quoting Rudy Ray Moore’s lines from the Dolemite movies when they were growing up. Decades later, with Murphy now a bonafide movie star, he wanted to delve into Moore’s life on the big screen, and after spending over a decade in development, the fruits of that particular labor are finally on display to the public.
Charlie Murphy was a comedy powerhouse in his own right, with his most notable credits including Chappelle’s Show, The Boondocks and Black Jesus. Charlie also appeared in two of Eddie Murphy’s movies, Harlem Nights and Norbit. While Charlie’s level of fame never reached the heights that his brother’s did, Craig Brewer wants people watching Dolemite Is My Name to know that he was nonetheless talented. Continuing in his interview with Business Insider, Brewer said:
Co-starring alongside Eddie Murphy in Dolemite Is My Name are Wesley Snipes, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Titus Burgess and Aleksandar Filimonovi, among others. Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski wrote the script. The movie ranks at an astounding 98% among critics on Rotten Tomatoes.