For some unknown reason, there used to be an unwritten rule that Hollywood’s biggest comedy stars were obligated to make at least one movie where they played multiple characters.
Peter Sellers was famous for it, pulling triple duty in both Dr. Strangelove and The Mouse That Roared, Mike Myers also completed the trifecta in the second and third installments of the Austin Powers franchise, Alec Guinness took eight credits in Kind Hearts & Coronets, and Adam Sandler played both title figures in Jack & Jill.
However, nobody’s done it as regularly as Eddie Murphy, who apparently wouldn’t sign on to a project for a long time unless he was allowed to be at least two different people. After portraying four characters in Coming to America, three in Vampire in Brooklyn and Norbit, eight in The Nutty Professor duology and two apiece in Bowfinger, The Adventures of Pluto Nash and Meet Dave, Murphy has sworn off the prosthetics ever since, at least until sequel Coming 2 America hits Prime Video this Friday.
Norbit in particular was so bad that many industry analysts believe it single-handedly torpedoed Murphy’s chances of winning an Academy Award for his acclaimed dramatic performance in Dreamgirls, for which he’d virtually swept the board at every other major ceremony during 2007’s awards season and was the overwhelming favorite going in.
However, it was a big box office success in its own right after raking in close to $160 million on a $60 million budget, and even scored an Oscar nomination for Best Makeup. That doesn’t mean it’s not an awful movie, which it very much is, but Norbit has nonetheless been climbing up the Netflix most-watched list, and is currently the thirteenth most popular title on the planet according to the global chart.