"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.
"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."
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.