- “Dolemite Is My Name” is filled with wacky moments recounting Rudy Ray Moore’s quest to make the blaxploitation classic, “Dolemite,” but director Craig Brewer said most of it really happened.
- Brewer told Business Insider that there were even more ridiculous stories from the making of “Dolemite” that he couldn’t fit in his movie.
- The director shared two with us.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
“Dolemite Is My Name” (available now on Netflix) stars Eddie Murphy as Rudy Ray Moore, a comic-musician-entertainer who gained stardom in the mid-1970s when he brought a character he’d been crafting on the night club circuit for years, Dolemite, to the big screen.
Moore’s Dolemite alter ego is brash, knows kung-fu (debatable), and has one of the foulest mouths in movie history.
Though the movie, “Dolemite,” may be one of the worst-produced feature films ever made, Moore’s performance made it a classic from the blaxploitation era. And Moore’s profanity-laced insults and rhyming speech in the middle of the movie, called “Signifying Monkey,” has gone on to gain popularity with stand-ups, rappers, and other entertainers.
“Dolemite Is My Name” delves into Moore’s underdog story and spotlights the lengths he had to go to get his character on the big screen. That included living in a dilapidated hotel that doubled as a shooting location, and spending every dollar he had to make it (made for $100,000, it went on to earn $12 million).
And Brewer insisted that most of the events in “Dolemite Is My Name” really happened.
“The reality is we didn’t have enough room in the movie to put it all in,” Brewer told Business Insider.
During our interview, Brewer gave us two examples of things that really happened on the set of “Dolemite” that he couldn’t fit into his movie:
SEE ALSO: Why Netflix’s “Dolemite Is My Name” is dedicated to Eddie Murphy’s brother, Charlie
The “Waterman” who lived at Dunbar Hotel
In “Dolemite Is My Name,” we watch as Rudy Ray Moore (played by Eddie Murphy) takes the closed-up Dunbar Hotel in Los Angeles and uses it as the nerve center for “Dolemite.” It’s a production office, wardrobe space, string of sets, and place for Moore to live. And to power the building, he stole the electricity from the building next door.
But Brewer said Moore wasn’t the only one living at the Dunbar.
“There was one story about this guy, this Mexican guy, that he let live for free there,” Brewer said. “He was known as The Waterman. His job was when they were filming he was bringing water to the cast and crew. But there was no running water at the hotel, so he had to go somewhere, get water, bring it back, put it in cups and give it to the cast and crew. Because of that he got to stay in one of the rooms for free.”
Wesley Snipes’ performance seems over the top, but the director of “Dolemite” was that outlandish
One of the highlights of “Dolemite Is My Name” is the performance by Wesley Snipes as D’Urville Martin. An actor in the 1970s known best for playing Diego the elevator operator in “Rosemary’s Baby,” Martin met Moore by chance before shooting started. Moore wanted him in “Dolemite” but Martin demurred. Then Moore told him he could direct the movie and that sold it.
But as “Dolemite Is My Name” depicts it, Martin was very unenthusiastic about the project. Realizing he was surrounded by amateurs, he spent his time on set drinking and giving an outlandish performance as the movie’s villain, Willie Green.
It may seem Snipes is going overboard with the portrayal of Martin, but Brewer said that’s really how he was. And he got confirmation from the cinematographer of “Dolemite” when he visited the set.
“The kung-fu scene where Rudy kicks the guy into the trunk, we filmed at the same house they filmed the scene in ‘Dolemite,'” Brewer said. “That day we invited the original director of photography, Nick Josef von Sternberg. He was telling us stories about D’Urville Martin, saying that he would come to set and was so not interested in the movie because he realized there was no money in it that he just stayed drunk. At one point he just laid on the floor, semi-passed out, and just directed from a reclining position.”