‘Beverly Hills Cop’ recasting directly inspired this Sylvester Stallone movie

Sam Ashurst
Contributor
Eddie Murphy was the unlikely inspiration for Cobra (credit: Paramount)

As any recasting fan will tell you, Sylvester Stallone was originally meant to play Eddie Murphy’s Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop.

Now, thanks to James A. Miller’s ‘Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency’ book, we’ve had some new details of the casting - with the revelation that Stallone’s work on the Beverly Hills Cop script inspired him to take on the cheese-tastic cop flick Cobra.

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The book reveals Sly’s agent, Ron Meyer, really wanted him to take on the Foley role. “I called a group together at Sly’s house with all the people who were close to him,” Meyer said. “His inner circle. I said, “I have an offer for Sly for a movie I think he should do. I think it’s an important film for him to do in every way.

“I don’t want someone else to do it, because it’s going to be a huge hit.” And I said, “I have a copy of the script for each of you to read, and I’m going to call you all in the morning, but I want the answer to be yes. I don’t want any second-guessing.” The next morning, everybody said, “Yes.””

According to ‘Powerhouse’ Stallone took the job, but wasn’t comfortable with the comedic aspects of the film, so rewrote the screenplay to suit his skillset.

Sly Stallone in Cobra (credit: Cannon)

In Sly’s version of Beverly Hills Cop, the main character’s name was changed from Foley to Cobretti, and the jokes were replaced with action set-pieces and hard-edged violence.

Sadly, Stallone’s changes took the film to a budget level Paramount weren’t comfortable with, and producers swapped Stallone out for Eddie Murphy, and it resulted in a blockbusting hit.

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But Cobra, repurposed from Stallone’s development work on Beverly Hills Cop, also ended up becoming a hit in its own right, directed by George P. Cosmatos (Mandy director Panos Cosmatos’ dad), it’s gone on to be a major cult classic.

So, Beverly Hills Cop and Cobra are connected in the weirdest way - thank goodness ‘80s cheese fans can watch both!