"Roxaaaaanne!" After getting raves for his hilarious sketch comedy on Saturday Night Live in the early '80s, Eddie Murphy turned the spotlight on a movie career in 1982 with his first big-screen effort: 48 HRS. ET's Mary Hart sat down with the funnyman in the days before the movie broke big with a revealing interview in which he got candid about stepping out of his comfort zone and getting serious onscreen.
Video: Eddie Murphy's Funny Friends Honor Actor
"I'm looking forward to the movie coming out, and if my acting looks bad in the movie, which I don't think it will, I'm covered: It's like, 'Well, his forte is in comedy,'" he said with a laugh, adding faithfully, "If you're in a catatonic state, [director Walter Hill] can go in the editing room and make you win awards."
Released 30 years ago this month, the sidesplitting action-comedy finds Eddie in fine form as Reggie Hammond, a man doing time for a robbery who is plucked from behind bars to help hard-edged cop Jack Cates (played by Nick Nolte) nab a pair of vicious cop killers. The pair have 48 hours to get the bad guys -- if they don't kill each other first!
Comparing Nolte to a "big brother," Eddie complimented, "Nick's a great guy to work with and a real good actor, real intense actor -- he makes you act."
Video: Emmy Flashback: Eddie Murphy '83
Of course, Eddie's outdoor interview had its share of sidetracked comedic moments, not to mention his trademark laugh, and a few moments in which he poked fun at Mary. Distracted at one point, he observed, "You see those two butterflies just now, trying to get with it?" Watch and enjoy a slice of the veteran comedy star in his prime: humble and hilarious.