1. In 1977, Paramount executive Don Simpson came up with a movie idea about a cop from East L.A. who transferred to Beverly Hills. Screenwriter Danilo Bach was called in to write the screenplay. Twenty rewrites and seven years later the film finally went into production with director Martin Brest. That is after both Martin Scorsese and David Cronenberg passed on the project.
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer later revealed that the role of Axel Foley was first offered to Mickey Rourke, who signed a $400,000 holding contract to do the film, but as all the rewrites, revisions and other preparations took longer than expected, Rourke left the project to do another film.
2. Sylvester Stallone was lined up to play Axel Foley, and had contributed towards one of the latter rewrites. Stallone had renamed the lead character to Axel Cobretti, with the character of Michael Tandino being his brother, Jenny Summers playing his love interest, and the character of Billy Rosewood was called "Siddons" and was killed off half-way through the script during one of the action scenes.
Stallone later said that his script for Beverly Hills Cop would have...
"...looked like the opening scene from Saving Private Ryan on the beaches of Normandy. Believe it or not, the finale was me in a stolen Lamborghini playing chicken with an oncoming freight train being driven by the ultra-slimy bad guy."Stallone's ideas were deemed "too expensive" for Paramount to produce, and so yet another rewrite ensued. This would end with Stallone dropping out of the film just two weeks before production was due to begin. Steven Berkoff, who played Victor Maitland, claimed, in a UK newspaper interview, that Stallone allegedly quit the movie over a dispute about the brand of orange juice in his trailer, but it's more likely to do with the reduced lack of input he had in the final shooting script.
Regardless, Stallone took his script ideas with him and incorporated some of them into his screenplay for Cobra. Two days later, the film's producers, Don Simpson and Bruckheimer, convinced Eddie Murphy to replace Stallone in the film, prompting more rewrites.
3. Because the movie had to start production at the allocated time, and now needed a total rewrite to fit Murphy's style, many of the already cast actors received their scripts with very little time to rehearse their lines. In the first scene involving Police Chief Hubbard (played by Stephen Elliott) you'll notice he walks in carrying some rolled-up sheets of paper. That is actually his new reworked script which was handed to him just minutes before that scene was shot. He was stood just out of camera memorising his lines, and just took them on to set with him when called.
4. When it came to cast Rosewood and Taggart, Martin Brest had a short list of about a dozen actors. He set about teaming up pairs of them and then asking them to improvise a scene together so he could judge their chemistry. He paired up Judge Reinhold and John Ashton and asked them to act out a scenario involving them being "a middle aged couple, married for years. You are having a conversation on an average evening." Reinhold picked up a nearby health magazine and between them they improvised the scene - "by the time the average American is fifty, he's got five pounds of undigested red meat in his bowels". They got the parts and the scene was incorporated into the movie, almost verbatim.
5. Realising he had three great actors who were happy to improvise, and come up with amazing material, Brest encouraged Murphy, Reinhold and Ashton to go for it whenever possible. This resulted in literally hundreds of takes ruined by various cast members (or even the director himself) because they couldn't stop laughing. Some of these scenes made the final cut, in fact during the "super-cops" monologue Ashton is pinching his face hard and looking down in, what appears to be, apparent frustration. But if you look closely, you can see that he is actually laughing. In a DVD commentary Reinhold revealed that during many scenes he had to put his hand in his pocket and pinch his thigh really hard to prevent himself from laughing.
6. During his tirade at the Beverly Palms Hotel, Axel pretends to be writing an article called "Michael Jackson: Sitting on Top of the World" for Rolling Stone magazine. The week that scene was shot, in real life, the latest issue of Playboy ran an article called "Eddie Murphy: Sitting on Top of the World."
7. Bronson Pinchot character of Serge was only supposed to have a couple of lines, with his co-worker at the art gallery taking all the others. But Pinchot impressed Brest so much that he gave him all the lines... and added more.
8. Remember the "Banana in the tail-pipe"? Well it was supposed to be a "Potato in the tail-pipe". The script called for Axel Foley to steal a potato from the hotel kitchen before disabling the unmarked vehicle. Brest decided to cut the kitchen scene, but then realised that it would be weird to not explain how Foley just happened to have a potato handy to insert in the car's tail-pipe. So the scene was re-shot, and the hotel was given a fruit cart so Axel could grab a banana from the buffet.
9. Beverly Hills Cop was the first R-rated film to have a release in more than 2,000 theaters across the United States. This really helped the film to be so successful. In fact after the initial US release on December 5th 1984, the movie went on to become the highest grossing R-rated film of all time, and kept that title for 20 years until The Passion of the Christ was released in 2004.
10. Paramount was so keen to cash in on the success of Beverly Hills Cop that they started planning a spin-off TV series to debut in the Autumn of 1985. They'd gone a long way into pre-production but at no point in time had anyone ever actually asked Eddie Murphy if he wanted to commit to a TV show! He didn't. So eventually elements of the pilot episode were incorporated into the script for Beverly Hills Cop II.
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