Eddie Murphy is back and busier than ever.
After a stint away from the screen (he last appeared in 2016’s Mr. Church), the comedian and actor is bursting back onto the scene in a big way this year. In October, he headlines the new Netflix film Dolemite Is My Name, which just premiered to rave reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday. He’s following by hosting Saturday Night Live‘s Christmas episode, marking his first time leading the show in 35 years. And next year will see Murphy, 58, go on a stand-up comedy tour and star in the anticipated sequel to Coming to America.
Explaining his return to the spotlight, Murphy told PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly in Toronto on Sunday, “I was on the couch for maybe five six years and now it’s time to get off the couch.”
“I was on the couch because I was rested, I mean I was tired,” he continued. “I’d been making movies and doing this stuff for so long I just needed time to be on the couch. Now, I’m off and [Dolemite] kind of lit a spark because it turned out so well and it got the creative juices flowing.”
Directed by Hustle & Flow‘s Craig Brewer, Dolemite Is My Name stars Murphy as comedian Rudy Ray Moore, who used the character of Dolemite to become a Blaxploitation icon in the ’70s.
“You know that expression ‘turn lemons into lemonade’?,” Murphy described of his character. “Rudy turned sh– into lemonade.”
Also starring in the movie alongside Murphy are Tituss Burgess, Craig Robinson, Mike Epps, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Keegan-Michael Key, Snoop Dogg, and Wesley Snipes, who reunites with Murphy in Coming 2 America.
Brewer previously told Entertainment Weekly that Murphy took it upon himself to bring about an accurate portrayal of Moore for the film, which follows as he fights to get the 1975 movie Dolemite made.
“I would say that the joy of my life has been this new working relationship with Eddie. I think he’s a true artist, as much as I know some people would go, ‘What? He’s a comedian, he’s an actor.’ Once you say ‘action,’ a fully formed character is coming out,” Brewer said. “We’ve established a really great, respectful working relationship. Also, I just wanted to work my ass off to see him on the big screen again doing what he does best.”
Dolemite Is My Name opens Oct. 4 in select theaters and arrives on Netflix Oct. 25.