“Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F ”director says Eddie Murphy improvised 'the funniest moments'

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Aussie filmmaker Mark Molloy says "a huge part" of his job was "to create a space for improvisation to thrive."

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Mark Molloy was born in "the middle of nowhere in Australia" where his uncle was one of the only people who had a VHS player. As a kid of 11 or 12, he would lie on the floor of his uncle's lounge room watching Beverly Hills Cop on videotape. "It just blew me away," Molloy tells Entertainment Weekly.

Decades later, Molloy's feature directorial debut is the fourth installment in the franchise, Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F. Premiering on Netflix on July 3, the sequel reunites Eddie Murphy with original cast members Judge Reinhold (Lt. William "Billy" Rosewood), John Ashton (Sgt. John Taggart), Paul Reiser (Det. Jeffrey Friedman), and Bronson Pinchot (the scene-stealing Serge).

<p>Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix</p> Paul Reiser and Eddie Murphy in 'Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F'

Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix

Paul Reiser and Eddie Murphy in 'Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F'

Related: The heat is back on as Eddie Murphy returns in the first 'Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F' teaser trailer

There's also some new blood with the addition of Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Axel's partner, Det. Bobby Abbot, and Taylour Paige as Axel's estranged daughter, Jane Saunders, who also happens to be Abbot's ex-girlfriend. Oh, and a fresh-faced newcomer by the name of Kevin Bacon makes his franchise debut as Beverly Hills PD Capt. Grant.

When Jane, a criminal defense attorney working in the Hills, receives a death threat, Papa Axel blows into town and teams up with her, Abbot, Rosewood, and Taggert to uncover a conspiracy.

Directing the legendary Eddie Murphy in arguably his most iconic role had its fair share of surreal moments for Molloy, but none more than the scene near the end of the movie (as seen in the image below) with Murphy, Ashton, and Reinhold sitting in a car and "talking s---."

<p>Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix</p> John Ashton, Eddie Murphy, and Judge Reinhold in 'Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.'

Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix

John Ashton, Eddie Murphy, and Judge Reinhold in 'Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.'

Related: Eddie Murphy's Axel Foley is back on the case in 'Beverly Hills Cop 4' first look

"I always had that image of those three guys on a stakeout in the car together, it was just imprinted in my brain," Molloy says. "And then I remember sitting with the three of them in that car, and I actually happened to look around at the crew filming it. I just saw on everyone's faces, like, Oh man, this is exactly where we want to be right now."

As for what brings those three characters back together on stakeout, Molloy doesn't want to give too much away, but he will say, "Axel's definitely been up to his usual shenanigans. And as always, Rosewood and Taggart have got a close eye on him." EW has an exclusive glimpse into that scene with the script page, below.

<p>Netflix</p>

Netflix

Some 40 years after the first Beverly Hills Cop, these characters are older but not necessarily wiser. Still, there's plenty of love (and tension) between them. But what really drew Molloy to the film, besides nostalgia, was the film's emotional undercurrent.

"There was a different side to Axel Foley that I've never seen before," he says. "And I'm really excited for the audiences to see that, too."

<p>Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix</p> (L to R) Luis Guzman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Eddie Murphy in 'Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.'

Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix

(L to R) Luis Guzman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Eddie Murphy in 'Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.'

As a fan of the franchise, Molloy felt a responsibility to do Axel F justice — not only to give fans what they expect from a Beverly Hills Cop movie but also to surprise them. He really wanted to nail the tone of the film while embracing the past to make a classic 1980s action comedy for 2024.

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It helps that he had veterans including Murphy, Ashton, and Reinhold, who brought the same energy to their scenes all these decades later. That meant a lot of improvisation. Molloy recalls speaking with the three actors about filming the first movie and how "so much of it was improvised."

"Eddie, John, and Judge sat in the car and they would just talk s---," Molly says. "And they told me that a lot of the first film is some of those moments when they were just allowed to sit there and talk to each other."

<p>Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix</p> (L to R) Nasim Pedrad, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Taylour Paige, Bronson Pinchot, and Eddie Murphy in 'Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.'

Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix

(L to R) Nasim Pedrad, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Taylour Paige, Bronson Pinchot, and Eddie Murphy in 'Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.'

Related: The 21 best (and worst) Eddie Murphy movies

And with Murphy, sometimes the best thing Molloy could do was sit back and let him be Eddie Murphy: "You've got one of the greatest comedians, if not in my eyes, the greatest comedian in the world. A huge part of my job is to create a space for improvisation to thrive. I always want to get what's on the page, but when you have someone like Eddie Murphy, you want to let him be free."

He adds, "And as I look back on the film, some of the funniest moments in the film is when Eddie is improvising and the audience loves it."

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.