John Amos has been a staple in the acting world for over 50 years. He was part of seminal television, having starred in Good Times, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and the 1977 miniseries Roots, and the On the movie side, his intimidating look, deep voice and tall build made him perfect for playing against action stars like Sylvester Stallone (“Lock Up”) and Bruce Willis (“Die Hard 2”)
Looking back, Amos put it simply like this: “Wherever the check didn’t bounce, I was there”
But despite all of these career highlights, perhaps his most memorable role is Cleo McDowell in “Coming to America” from 1988 “
The fun part of owning a competing fast-food restaurant at McDonald’s (“You have the Big Mac, I have the Big Mick”) is one of the memorable elements of this comedy and now Amos is going to take the role in the sequel, “Coming.” 2 America “, available now on Amazon Prime Video
McDowell is still keen to make his restaurant great as it is now in Zamunda, where his daughter Lisa (Shari Headley) is married to Akeem (Eddie Murphy) But we also see that McDowell has become a father figure to Akeem, as the former prince who went to Queens to find a wife is now king
Insider spoke to Amos on Zoom to talk about the iteration of his famous character as he pushed for diversity during his Hollywood career, and this time he almost played Chubbs in the Adam Sandler classic “Happy Gilmore” “
Jason Guerrasio: “Coming to America” has to be the one the fans are talking about the most, or do you get a lot of “Good Times” screams?
John Amos: It varies. Sometimes I go to the airport and someone says, “Can you sign this for my mom, she loved your show?” “But often, yes, it’s” Coming to America “
I have to admit that I was a little worried about “Coming 2 America” because Cleo just seemed to be there for a while to give the McDowell one-liner from the first movie But then this scene on The ending between Cleo and Akeem in the kitchen, that was really one of my favorite scenes in the movie
It was mine, too.It showed the audience the depths of Eddie Murphy’s acting skills, making it so seamless that people take it for granted that it’s a simple process, just like in the original movie, he just shifts gears and becomes one completely different person I can appreciate that as an actor
It has evolved over time, but the bottom line was it was time to deliver a scene that shows a real relationship between Eddie’s character and mine, the writer’s we didn’t have much dialogue and that’s for me the one sign of good writing Get the point across and get the hell off the stage Just keep it
Are you surprised to find yourself playing Cleo again, or were there always whispers that Eddie might want to do a sequel?
Because of the success of the first, it was always in the air it was rumored, but it didn’t solidify for me until it came in the form of a call to work and an agreement to attend then I knew it was real
The first “Coming to America” was a milestone in terms of casting black actors, but this one goes beyond: It was filmed at Tyler Perry Studios. Where do you place this experience in your legendary career?
Well you painted the picture better than I did The fact that we did it at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta to drive through those gates and see the faces of African American icons painted on buildings for me Being a veteran of more than 50 years in the industry, I couldn’t understand everything
It still aligns with the advances made by Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfrey’s business settling in, so many that I’ve come to know and appreciate them, and what they do encourages me to move forward and create
Do you feel you have contributed to what we see now in terms of diversity in Hollywood? You are famous for getting killed on “Good Times” and you said one of the reasons is because you talked about the show where there are only whites in the writer’s room
One day I was at home and it was [“Good Times” Executive Producer] Norman Lear on the phone He said to me, “I have good news and bad news” I said, “Well you called, what is this.” good news? ”and he said the show was renewed and then he said“ and the bad news is that you won’t be with us ”and that was the end of it
But here’s the thinness: The reunion show we did recently showed that two people who bump heads can still get together Here’s a man who changed the face of television What kind of ego would have to be I don’t appreciate that the man came to me after all this – I put him through? [Laughs]
It would be my pleasure not to bring up your memorable roles in the action / thriller genre. If you got the call to work with one of these actors again, who do you say yes to first: Bruce Willis (“The Hard 2 “), Sylvester Stallone (” Locked Up “) or Denzel Washington (” Ricochette “)?
I have to say, Denzel has to say I’ve worked with him in films and on stage with the exception of Ernest Borgnine (“Marty”) who was the accomplished actor and created a niche for me to be Denzel in film seeing it would be my first choice for anyone I could work with again
One of my favorite cameos in recent years is that you appear in Uncut Gems, “How did you get this movie?
No, but I’m [familiar] now and would love to work with you again. A bit bigger, but it was a fun couple of hours of work
It was talked about once as far as I remember I even did a screen test It was up in Canada It never worked, but no hard feelings
No, if I did that, I’d spend the rest of my career looking at films by actors who got roles I didn’t get [Laughs] It doesn’t make me feel any better. But I’m sure Carl has one admirable job done
“Coming 2 America” with Arsenio Hall, Leslie Jones and Jermaine Fowler is now available on Amazon Prime Video
World News – USA – The ‘Coming 2 America’ legend John Amos says the sentimental kitchen scene was his favorite in the star-studded sequel