Eddie Murphy gets serious in “Mr. Church”

After a lengthy absence, Hollywood star Eddie Murphy arrived on the red carpet Tuesday for the Los Angeles premiere of his upcoming – very serious – drama, “Mr. Church.”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (SEPTEMBER 06, 2016) (REUTERS) – Eddie Murphy is legendary – a term that is often overused but in this case aptly applied – as a stand-up comic and Hollywood star of such classic comedic titles as “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Trading Places,” and “48 Hrs.” So, it may be a bit of surprise for his fans to find Murphy showing a very serious side of his acting talents in the true life drama, “Mr. Church.”

“Yeah, it caught me off guard because I normally don’t get offered things like this and I normally don’t have an emotional reaction when I’m reading something,” said Murphy, at the film’s red carpet premiere in Los Angeles on Tuesday (September 06).

“You’re reading ‘Imagine That’ or ‘Daddy Day Care,’ you don’t cry or something,” joked the comedian. “You’re crying when you’re reading this, I had never had that experience. It was a small movie and I had never done that before. You got Bruce Beresford who is a great director, so I was let me go do this. I hadn’t done a picture in 5-years so I was like that will be easy and fun to do.”

And the 55-year-old Murphy’s return to the silver screen and his performance in the film make it look that way.

In “Mr. Church,” directed by Bruce Beresford, of “Driving Miss Daisy” fame, Murphy provides a strong account of himself, playing Henry Church, a cook and caretaker who develops a wonderful and lifelong relationship with Charlotte, a little girl he helps raise after her mother becomes sick.

“Certainly he had very good timing with dialogue,” said Beresford, on the talents Murphy displayed in taking on the serious role. “He had a very good sense of pace. A lot of times I say to actors, ‘It’s too slow, we got to go quicker, we have to do this.’ He always seemed to me to hit the exact speed with everything, the right tenor and an astute interpretation of the character.”

For Britt Robertson, who plays Charlotte and on the verge of becoming a very big star herself, working opposite Murphy was very good.

“I thought that way for Eddie and I thought he was really perfect for the role,” said Robertson. “I loved working with him and I couldn’t see anyone else being Mr. Church, especially once I heard that he was attached to the film. I just kind of hoped to be a good acting partner for him and do the film justice. That is all I was trying to do.”

While “Mr. Church” is a serious role, Eddie Murphy hasn’t given up on comedy just yet. He’s signed on to work with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito in the comedy sequel, “Triplets.”

“Mr. Church” opens in theaters on September 16.