When Coming to America premiered in 1988, it immediately became a blockbuster hit. The movie launched the careers of Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall, and now its much-anticipated sequel, Coming 2 America, is hitting streaming platforms on March 5, 2021.
Most of the cast from the original movie are back to reprise their roles for the sequel, but with the full cast list released, many fans are wondering whether a bunch of more recent SNL stars, like Leslie Jones, were also in the original.
So, was Leslie Jones in the first Coming to America?
Was Leslie Jones in the original 'Coming to America'?
No, Leslie Jones was not one of the original cast members of Coming to America. In fact, when the movie was released in 1988, she was just starting to come into her own as a comedian.
In 1987, as a sophomore at Colorado State University, Leslie had entered a standup contest and was named “Funniest Person on Campus.”
“As soon as I touched the mic, I was like, 'yeah, that's it,’” the comedian told the Coloradoan. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Although Leslie wasn’t in the first Coming to America, she plays an important role in the sequel. As fans will remember, the original movie saw Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) travel to Queens, N.Y., with his right-hand man, Semmi (Arsenio Hall), to find a woman who would love the prince for who he was, not for his crown.
In Coming 2 America, Prince Akeem finds out that he has a son who was born after a hazy one-night-stand before the prince was married. The movie follows Prince Akeem and Semmi as they return to America to meet the new heir to the crown of Zamunda.
Leslie Jones plays Queens-born Mary, who Akeem unknowingly has a child with named Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler).
The SNL favorite was particularly excited to be a part of the sequel since the first movie came out at exactly the time she started pursuing stand up as a career for herself.
“I am Black, so I have a place in my heart for it,” Leslie told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Datebook. “I would say I hold all of Eddie Murphy’s movies dearly. I think that one was a special one because it was just, like, almost a Spielberg moment for me — for Eddie — because the movie was so beautiful. It looked beautiful. The costumes were beautiful. The actors were great. The plot was great.”
But being on set wasn’t all fun and games. The Jasmine Brand reported that Leslie and her co-star Luenell, who plays her sister in the movie, were actually not speaking on set due to a years-long feud between the comedians.
The issue went back to the days when Luenell was on tour with Katt Williams and there was a “big misunderstanding” between her and Leslie.
Although there were a couple of awkward days on set, the two managed to have a conversation about what was bothering them and were able to move ahead to shoot some great scenes together.
Ultimately, Leslie and Luenell might never fully patch things up, but at least they were able to work together and be a part of this project.
Coming 2 America begins streaming on Amazon Prime Video on March 5.