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Joseph Gordon-Levitt Honors Late Brother by Starring in ‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F’ Alongside Eddie Murphy

Fourteen years after the tragic passing of his beloved brother Dan, actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt has found a heartfelt way to pay tribute to him—by joining forces with Eddie Murphy in the latest installment of the Beverly Hills Cop series, titled Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.

The late Daniel Gordon-Levitt was an ardent admirer of Murphy’s illustrious career, especially praising his performances on Saturday Night Live (SNL) and in classic films like Coming to America and the original Beverly Hills Cop series. Dan’s passion for Murphy’s work left an indelible mark on a young Joseph, introducing him to the flamboyant comedian’s unique style.

Joseph recalled an emotional conversation he shared with Eddie Murphy, saying, “I had a very sweet conversation with Eddie about how Dan showed me a lot of his work, and it was great to connect with him on that level. Eddie also has a nice big family, and we are both dads… so he resonated with me.”

The upcoming Netflix film sees Eddie Murphy reprising his iconic role as Axel Foley for the fourth time. This time, Foley is back on the beat in Beverly Hills, his assignment driven by the alarming threat to his daughter’s life. He teams up with a fresh partner, Detective Bobby Abbott, portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, to unravel the mystery.

Off-camera, Murphy and Gordon-Levitt bonded over their mutual love of music. Murphy, who has released three studio albums and several hit singles, and Gordon-Levitt, who is known for his singing and live performances, found another common ground. Gordon-Levitt delightfully remarked, “We actually talked about music probably more than anything else on set! Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to jam or play music together though… which would have been cool. One day, I’ve got to do a full-on musical, maybe Eddie and I can star in it together.”

Reflecting on Gordon-Levitt’s previous roles, his portrayal of Detective Bobby Abbott in Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F somewhat mirrors his character John Blake/Robin in Christopher Nolan’s 2012 superhero epic, The Dark Knight Rises. As John Blake, a young police officer in Gotham, Gordon-Levitt’s character aids Batman in saving the city. “Ah… of course, and they are both cops! Now I’ve got my Beverly Hills PD badge to go with my Gotham City PD badge, that I still treasure safely. It’s a fun commonality for sure, even though they are two very different movies and characters,” he mused.

When asked about future directorial ventures, Joseph Gordon-Levitt—whose directorial debut Don Jon was released 11 years ago—expressed a keen interest in returning to the director’s chair.

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. “I do love making stuff and I hope to direct a feature soon. But just a couple of years ago, I made a television series titled Mr. Corman on Apple TV+ that I’m very proud of; it’s an odd little beautiful show where I got to do everything I wanted to do artistically, in my own weird taste,” he shared with a smile.

For Eddie Murphy, the return to Beverly Hills Cop was about recapturing the essence that made the franchise a blockbuster hit. He admitted, “The third film (1994) wasn’t as strong as the first two. But we weren’t looking at other movies from the genre and thinking stuff has changed. It wasn’t about sticking to the template per se, but more about getting back to it.”

Despite the gap of 40 years since the debut film and 30 years since its third installment, Murphy is optimistic that the beloved buddy cop-action-comedy genre can still strike gold. “If you do it right, the Beverly Hills Cop movies work for any generation! The last 10-15 years have seen several action films with lots of visual effects and superheroes. But Beverly Hills Cop is a cape-less hero; he’s not Superman, he’s an ‘everyman’ who rises to the occasion and doesn’t play by the rules. People relate to him, and he’s the kind of guy you want to have a beer with,” Murphy explained with a grin.

Eddie Murphy also reflected on his journey since the first film, noting how drastically his life has changed. “Of course I’m not the same person anymore! When I did the first movie, I had just turned a legal adult at 21. I wasn’t married, didn’t have any kids, and hadn’t travelled the world. So much has happened since then; now I’m in my 60s and have 10 kids, I’m even a grandfather. Whenever I see pictures or a scene from the first movie, it’s literally like reminiscing about high school for me… I was a baby!”

However, one consistent factor is the camaraderie between Murphy and his co-stars from the earlier films—Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Paul Reiser, and Bronson Pinchot—who all return for this fourth adventure. “We just got old (laughs)… But the cool thing is, all that stuff is reflected in the movie and script as well. Us getting older, having age-appropriate relationships, how we have changed now and are not the same anymore…”

With palpable excitement, fans are eagerly awaiting the premiere of Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F, set to debut on Netflix on July 3. The legacy of the franchise, combined with the dynamic duo of Eddie Murphy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, promises a thrilling return to the beloved world of Axel Foley.