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Tower Heist: 7 Questions With Eddie Murphy

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Ben Stiller, left, and Eddie Murphy star in The Heist

Eddie Murphy may be a comedian who lets it all hang out (and then some) when connecting with audiences. But he can turn surprisingly shy when it comes to contact with journalists, a rare occurrence for the normally feisty funny man, as with this sitdown to decipher his current gig as star and producer of Tower Heist. Playing a bit of cat and mouse during this press interrogation, Murphy remained consistently mysterious behind thickly framed shades, as he fielded enthusiastically nosy questions about stuff like lesbian jokes, mocking fat females, and what’s in store for his upcoming stint as host at the Oscars.

Now, why Tower Heist? Well, I wanted to get out of the house! And do some stuff. I was sitting around the house too long. So I was like, let me get out of the house and do something. So…Here we are.

What’s up with your lesbian jokes in the movie? Um, about the behind the scenes lesbian improv-ing…I don’t remember specifics. I know that a lot of it went on!

OK…How about when Gabourey starts hitting on you—was that improv? Brett whispered to the DP, dim the lights! Then I looked around, and all of a sudden Gabourey’s top is off. And it’s really heated, and turns into a whole different scene. And Ben’s completely nude! And I look over to Brian and I go, what’s happening, what’s happening. And Brian’s like, just go with it. So we go with it for about forty minutes, and it was incredible. I’ve never been in a scene like that! And you have to get the DVD actually, to see the special features. Because we had to get our PG-13 rating! But it was pretty heated. So…

How come you’re always mocking fat women, especially in your other movies? In other movies I do what?… Despise heavy ladies? Tell me one movie where I despise heavy ladies.

Well, The Klumps I despise women in that movie? That’s not accurate. Heavy ladies? You gotta watch The Klumps again. Who is despised in that movie? They’re despised? You can’t just say that and think I’m gonna answer it! “You despise heavy ladies”…Really? I do? You got that movie wrong. Did you see The Klumps? … I heard that about Norbit. I heard people say that the Rasputia character in Norbit was, you know, I heard them say that. But never about The Klumps.

What happened to the Richard Pryor movie? I was never, we had a couple of conversations about Richard Pryor. But it was never, I never really got into it. It never really got past stage one. And there’s a great script out there still, that Bill Condon wrote. And I was trying to get the script, to get him to direct it. But he still wouldn’t. That’s something that’s in the air that I would love to do. The script that I read was incredible. But it never got past the first stage of conversations.

What do you think of Occupy Wall Street, and how it connects to this movie? And would you protest with them? That stuff wasn’t part of my core idea. My idea was about a bunch of disgruntled employees getting together, and trying to rob the building that they worked in. And all that other stuff, that came about later in development, all that stuff came later on.

How do you feel about hosting the upcoming Oscars? Just that I’m looking forward to doing it. And I promise I’ll stay there all night!

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