'Coming to America' screenwriters say sequel centers on Prince Akeem searching for 'long lost son'

David Sheffield and Barry Blaustein penned the original film 30 years ago.

June 26, 2018, 2:43 PM

"Coming to America" is coming to theaters, again.

The 1988 Cinderella-esque comedy, starring Eddie Murphy as Prince Akeem, who traveled to New York's Queens to find a bride, is celebrating its 30th anniversary Tuesday. But fans are already excited about news that there's a sequel.

It will be called "Coming 2 America," according to the sequel's IMDb page.

David Sheffield, the original film's screenwriter, told "Good Morning America" that he and his co-writer Barry Blaustein were personally called by Murphy to pen a draft of the sequel.

"Eddie called us and said, 'We're going to do a sequel. We have a notion and an idea,'" he recalled.

"It began with the notion that Eddie['s character Prince Akeem] has to find his son, who can become the king because the country has this tradition that the eldest male [will take the throne]," Sheffield continued. "So it's Eddie pursuing his long lost son, who’s an American. That was the basis of it. That was the beginning."


Blaustein told "GMA" that the two "wrote it last summer" after having several meetings at Murphy's Los Angeles home and later renting an apartment to finalize the script.

"Everyone seemed to love it," he added.

Still, Sheffield said that Paramount, the same studio that released the original film 30 years ago, tapped "Black-ish" creator Kenya Barris to "punch up" the script. "Snatched" director Jonathan Levine has agreed to direct the sequel, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Although both screenwriters are thrilled to see the story of Prince Akeem and his bride Lisa McDowell continue, they admitted to pushing back on the idea for decades.

"We had resisted doing a sequel for a long time because we thought it was pretty much a 'fade to complete,'" Sheffield said, using video editing jargon. "We thought it was self-contained... Hakeem’s story was complete. He met the woman of his dreams and we didn’t want to mess with that."


But the sequel didn't die in part to the writers' friendship with Murphy. The two have kept in touch with the famed comedian over the years, after both meeting him on the set of "Saturday Night Live."

"We’re friends and usually with Eddie it starts with a phone call," Sheffield said of their collaborations. "[He asks,] 'Hey want to write this?' And we say, 'Great!'"

The writers wouldn't share any of the details regarding "Coming 2 America," or if that's really even the name of the film's sequel. But they did let one detail slip about Cleo McDowell, played by actor John Amos.

Fans will remember him as owning McDowells, the McDonalds rip off, who later became Prince Akeem's father-in-law after his daughter, Lisa, wed the prince of the fictional African country, Zamunda.

"John Amos is in our version," Blaustein teased. "He’s in Zamunda and he opened up a McDowells."