“So there were no objections at the time. No one said anything.”
It is one of the most cult comedies of the 1980s. An armchair for two, Eddie Murphy And Dan Aykroyd were trying to get revenge on the obnoxious Duke brothers. And in the scheme set up at the end of the film, Louis Winthorpe (Aykroyd) painted his face black, to pose as a Jamaican friend of Billy Valentine (Murphy) on board a train.
The sequence had not shocked anyone at the time, but Dan Akyroyd admits today in an interview with The Daily Beast that this 40-year-old “blackface” would be impossible to do today:
“I probably couldn’t get away with doing something like this again today”smiles the actor, who still explains the context of the time: “Eddie and I were improvising this scene. Eddie is a black man. His entire entourage was made up entirely of black people. And neither of them batted an eyelid at the time. There were no objections. No one said anything on set. It was just a good comedy thing, which went with the story…”
Dan Aykroyd admits some regrets a posteriori and confides that he would not do this “blackface” again in 2023. But he also regrets all the barriers that have been erected in front of the actors for a few years:
“I probably wouldn’t choose to do this ‘blackface’ today on set… And besides, I wouldn’t be allowed to either! I probably wouldn’t even be allowed to do a Jamaican accent, that I have a white or black face. These days, all that has disappeared. I think I would even find it difficult to do an English accent and not be criticized… People would say to me: ‘Oh, you don’t you’re not English, you can’t do it’!”
Recently it is Jamie Lee Curtis who said he was uncomfortable getting naked on the set of the film.
An armchair for two grossed $120 million at the worldwide box office in 1983. It remains one of Eddie Murphy’s most successful comedies.