The long wait for Eddie Murphy's next movie at Paramount Pictures is apparently over. The movie will be "Golden Child," an action-comedy set in India and Los Angeles.
A spokesman for the studio confirmed that a deal closed Thursday evening will have Murphy in front of the cameras this fall for a summer, 1986 release. "Everybody is very excited over here," said a high-ranking production executive. "We've got our Eddie movie."
The choice is a surprise. With about 20 projects in development specifically for Murphy at Paramount, the 23-year-old decided on a script by professional photographer Dennis Feldman who co-wrote "Just One of the Guys," a recent Columbia release. 'Golden Child" is the story of a blessed child born in India to lead his people but kidnaped by terrorists and taken to Los Angeles. Murphy will play a street-smart Los Angeles gumshoe who specializes in finding lost kids and is hired to find the golden child. Completed in January, the "Golden Child" script spawned a high-stakes bidding war among Paramount, Lorimar Productions, CBS Theatrical Films and several independent producers. Eventually, sources confirmed, Feldman was paid about $330,000 up front for the script, an enormous fee for a writer with just one credit.
The current deal for Feldman, who has not directed a movie, allows him to direct "Golden Child." Veteran producer Ed Feldman (no relation to Dennis) is in negotiations to produce the movie for Eddie Murphy Productions. Though he refused to comment on specific figures, International Creative Management agent Jeremy Zimmer said Paramount's offer was not the highest. "What was most important to Dennis was not the money but having the chance to direct," Zimmer said. "We could have gotten even greedier."
Insiders said the reason other studios were not involved in the bidding was because of reluctance to hire a first-time director. A spokeswoman for Eddie Murphy Productions refused to comment on the "Golden Child" deal but confirmed that Murphy is impressed by the script. "This is the first script Eddie has liked from beginning to end," said David Kirkpatrick, Paramount's executive vice president in charge of production.
As word spread rapidly Friday that Paramount had closed a deal studio executives were busy reevaluating the merits of "Golden Child." "When there's a hot script people pass on they always criticize the script in retrospect," Zimmer said. "Let's see how they feel when "Golden Child" is No. 1 at the box office all of next summer."
Of course Murphy will have to make the movie first.