Jermaine Fowler has already begun making a name for himself in films and TV series. He was the star of the CBS sitcom, “Superior Donuts” and has supporting roles in films such as “Sorry to Bother You” and the recent “Judas and the Black Messiah.” But perhaps the biggest role of Fowler’s career is coming up in the Amazon sequel, “Coming 2 America,” where he plays the long-lost son of Eddie Murphy’s Prince Akeem. On this episode of The Playlist Podcast, we’re sharing a recent interview we had with Jermaine Fowler.
We spoke to Fowler about his breakout role in “Coming 2 America,” what it’s like stepping into one of the most anticipated comedy sequels of all time, why he’s really trying to get a ‘Fifth Element’ spinoff film in development, his love of Tim Burton shit, as he puts it. Needless to say, our conversation runs the gamut.
But the bulk of our conversation explores “Coming 2 America,” the film from director Craig Brewer that picks up 30 years after the original and tries to break the curse of underwhelming (or straight-up bad) sequels. And without getting into too much detail, the cast and crew of “Coming 2 America” succeeded with a sequel that is hilarious, moving, and above all, joyous as most of the original cast returns. And that’s something Fowler thinks makes this film so successful.
“We’ve grown up with nothing but remakes, rehashings, reimaginings, and stuff, but it’s very easy to get it wrong because people who made the original so special aren’t involved. It just feels hollow, like cash-grabs,” explained Fowler. “This was not the case [with ‘Coming 2 America’].”
He added, “Everybody was coming back. And I was like, ‘I’m going to be a part of this.’ This is the best situation to be in. I’m a part of the right movie, coming out at the right time. I was just excited to get to work.”
He remembers his callback audition with Brewer and the feeling he had after the filmmaker told him that Fowler did exactly what they were looking for on the first try.
“I didn’t want to ruin the moment, so I was like, ‘Okay, have a good one!’ and took my mic off and ran out of the building,” Fowler said about his callback with Craig Brewer. “I didn’t get out to the first step of the outside of the building before I started crying.”
He continued, “It’s just 15 years of this shit, that I’ve been doing this…so much built up, and I just started crying because I’ve been through so much. And my family’s been through so much. And this movie means so much to us. So, I just felt so good.”
Fowler said his major concern about the sequel wasn’t his performance in it because he was confident he did well, but instead, he wanted to make sure “Coming 2 America” was going to be as “impactful” as the original.
“If you’re doing a sequel, you can’t shit on the fans who built that up and supported it. You can’t do that,” Fowler added. “I think you have to respect the fans and let the story grow organically…and when you embrace that growth and progress, you have a great story.”
As for what the future holds, the actor is hoping to expand his horizons in very unique directions. Namely, he wants to get a Ruby Rhod/‘Fifth Element’ spinoff to happen.
“I really want to tell a story about Ruby Rhod from ‘The Fifth Element,’” said Fowler. “I want to do that so bad. That’s where my head is at. I want to take cult classic characters, stories, and movies, and really go in a different direction and expand on fan favorites, like Ruby Rhod.”
He added, “I’m dead serious about that. We’re getting the convo started.”
Why “The Fifth Element?” Well, Fowler is the first to admit that his interests aren’t typical.
“I’m such a weirdo. I never really liked what I was supposed to like,” he said. “I was into the cult stuff and different genres. When I tell people ‘Sleepy Hollow’ is my favorite movie, they get weirded out and they’re like, ‘What?!’ and I’m like, ‘I like Tim Burton shit.’ I love gothic shit.”
“Coming 2 America” arrives on Amazon on March 5. You can hear our full conversation below:
As always, The Playlist Podcast is part of The Playlist Podcast Network—which includes Be Reel, The Discourse, The Fourth Wall, and more—and can be heard on iTunes, AnchorFM, Soundcloud, Stitcher, and now on Spotify. You can stream the podcast via the AnchorFM embed below or up top to listen on this page. Follow us on iTunes, and you’ll get this podcast as well as our other shows regularly. Be sure to subscribe, and drop us a comment or a rating, as we do appreciate it. Thank you for listening.