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Martin Lawrence Originally Wanted Eddie Murphy For Bad Boys. What Convinced Him That Will Smith Was The Right Choice

 Martin Lawrence and Eddie Murphy.
Martin Lawrence and Eddie Murphy.

Thanks to their work on the Bad Boys movies, Martin Lawrence and Will Smith have made up one of the most iconic big-screen duos for decades now. Fans surely love the thrills that the action movie saga offers, though I’d argue that it's the chemistry between the two leads that’s really made this franchise shine. So it’s somewhat hard to imagine anyone else but Smith and Lawrence playing the roles of Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett, respectively. However, it turns out that Lawrence initially wanted someone else to be his co-star: Eddie Murphy. The actor recently explained why Murphy didn’t end up joining up with him and shed light on what convinced him that Smith was the right choice.

Most fans are surely aware that Sony Pictures’ box office hit of a franchise began back in the mid ‘90s. What they may not be aware of, though, is the fact that it was first offered to Martin Lawrence as a potential big-screen vehicle. The veteran actor reflected on that while appearing at a Q&A alongside Will Smith in promotion of the upcoming Bad Boys: Ride or Die. It was at that point that he revealed his initial desire to have Eddie Murphy play his on-screen partner. He also humorously divulged the (understandable) reason why Murphy wasn’t cast:

I had a deal with Sony, and this was a movie they brought to me to see if I wanted to do, and I just had to find a partner to do it with. And I was thinking about doing it with Eddie Murphy and all that, but he costs too much.

Of course, Will Smith was ultimately the person to get the gig. Martin Lawrence went on to say in the YouTube clip from Funny Marco that he “picked the right person.” As for how he was encouraged to seek out the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star, he cited two key moments:

But I picked the right person, because my sister was the one who told me, ‘You should do it with Will.’ Two sitcom stars, y’all coming together to meet on the big screen, that could be something special. So me and Will had a dinner, and after five minutes of talking to Will, he’s the best salesman ever. So I couldn’t say no, and it’s been Bad Boys ever since.

I’d have to agree that everything turned out just fine. Otherwise, I’m not sure the pair would be marking the release of a fourth installment in the series about 30 years after making the first. And, based on the first trailer for Bad Boys: Ride or Die, the two stars’ chemistry is as strong as it’s ever been. On top of that, they’re off-camera bond seems to still be strong as well. Nearly a year ago, while they were filming the movie, Will Smith highlighted his friendship with Martin Lawrence while wishing him a happy birthday. And, shortly after, Lawrence shouted out “Big Willie” amid his Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony.

They may not have gotten to work together on the 1995 movie, but Martin Lawrence and Eddie Murphy are still connected. They starred alongside each other in the 1992 rom-com Boomerang and would team up again for the 1999 prison comedy Life. Additionally, Murphy’s son and Lawrence’s daughter are engaged, and the two have exchanged funny takes on who’s paying for the wedding. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious as to what Murphy would’ve brought to the series, I’m certainly glad that Will Smith was picked as the co-leading man.

You can see the hilarious duo on the big screen together once again when Bad Boys: Ride or Die opens on June 7 as part of the 2024 movie schedule. You can also stream the first two installments using a Hulu subscription.