The 1983 movie Trading Places used the familiar plot device of people in opposite situations literally trading places, as in The Prince and the Pauper and the story of the city mouse and country mouse. What made it special was how wonderful funny it was, and the film established Eddie Murphy as a bona fide movie star. Over 40 years later, it stands up well. Let’s learn something more about the production of Trading Places.
3. IT WAS ORIGINALLY A RICHARD PRYOR/GENE WILDER VEHICLE TITLED BLACK AND WHITE.
Richard Pryor was originally attached, but as director John Landis put it, he then "unfortunately set himself on fire."
4. LANDIS DIDN'T KNOW WHO EDDIE MURPHY WAS.
"48 Hrs. (1982) hadn't come out yet, but they'd previewed it, and Eddie Murphy had previewed very well, and they thought, 'Ah this kid's going to be a star,'" Landis recalled of his discussions with Paramount Pictures. "So they said, ‘What do you think about Eddie Murphy playing the Billy Ray Valentine part?’ And I of course said, ‘Who’s Eddie Murphy?’"
Ralph Bellamy, who played Randolph Duke, remembered a moment on set between himself, Don Ameche (who played his brother, Mortimer Duke), and Murphy in the makeup trailer on the first morning of shooting. "I said, 'Why, this is my 72nd movie.' And Don answers, 'Why, this is my 56th.' And Eddie Murphy looks embarrassed and said, 'Boys, this is my first. Ever.' It broke everybody up, and the movie became my biggest hit."
Well, it was Murphy’s second movie, but you should never let details get in the way of a good line. And it was the second movie role that Murphy landed after Richard Pryor was considered. Read the rest of the trivia list about Trading Places at mental_floss.