Eddie Murphy Says He Feels like an Idiot for Turning down the Lead in 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit'

From chasing down bad guys to being a doctor who can understand animals, Eddie Murphy starred in several blockbuster films since the 1980s. But one role he turned down, turned out to be the one that got away. 

On Friday night, comedian and actor Eddie Murphy shared that he regretted waving off the lead role in the 1988 classic "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" while on "The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon."

Eddie Murphy speaks onstage during the LA Tastemaker event for Comedians in Cars on July 17, 2019, in Beverly Hills City. | Source: Getty Images.

Eddie Murphy speaks onstage during the LA Tastemaker event for Comedians in Cars on July 17, 2019, in Beverly Hills City. | Source: Getty Images.

It is the only role Eddie had ever turned down that became a big box office hit, and the 58-year-old actor would have starred as the grumpy private detective Eddie Valiant, as Eddie added:

"I was like, 'Animation and people? That sounds like [expletive] to me!' Now every time I see it I feel like an idiot."

The film, directed by "Forrest Gump" and "Back To The Future" director Robert Zemeckis, opened up a revolutionary mix of animation and real-life blended into one project and is also what scared Eddie away from doing it.

 Eddie Murphy arrives at the Premiere Of Paramount Pictures & Nickelodeon's "Imagine That" at Paramount Theater on the Paramount Studios lot on June 6, 2009, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images.

Eddie Murphy arrives at the Premiere Of Paramount Pictures & Nickelodeon's "Imagine That" at Paramount Theater on the Paramount Studios lot on June 6, 2009, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images.

"Who Framed Roger Rabbit" became the most expensive animated film at the time with a budget of just over $50 million and ended up grossing nearly $330 million. 

The lead role eventually went to Bob Hoskins after other A-list actors, including Eddie, turned it down. First offered to Harrison Ford, producers turned to Bill Murray after Harrison reportedly wanted too much money. Bill also missed out because he had no manager or agent at the time, and producers couldn't get a hold of him.

The film did as well in the awards department as it did at the box office. "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" earned four Academy Awards in 1988, but it's not the only classic film Eddie Murphy opted out of doing. 

During an interview with Extra back in 2003, Eddie reportedly shared that he had to turn down a role in the 1984 classic "Ghostbusters" because he already started working on his debut film, "48 Hrs." Years later, Eddie turned down the lead opposite Jackie Chan in "Rush Hour" to star in the 1998 film "Holy Man."

Eddie Murphy speaks with the media at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 17, 2006, in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images.

Eddie Murphy speaks with the media at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 17, 2006, in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images.

On December 21, Eddie made his return to host "Saturday Night Live" 35 years after being a cast member on the show. 

The comedian starred on the show for four years from 1980. For his return, Eddie entertained fans with a hilarious revival of some of his most beloved characters, including "Gumby," the green Claymation children's character.

Eddie also recently expressed his desire to get back into stand-up comedy. During an actor roundtable discussion earlier this month, Jamie Fox shared the advice he gave Eddie during a visit to his home.

The first thing Jamie told Eddie to do, its to fix his house because it's "too perfect." Meaning, there is humor in imperfection, and if everything is in perfect working order, it won't be funny. 

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