Eddie Murphy's Coming 2 America has a surprising connection to rapper Rick Ross. The fictional country of Zamunda, the home of the royal family at the film's center, was much closer to the U.S. in reality. Ross' mansion outside Atlanta was used for many of the Amazon Prime Video movie's sets, with a few post-production tricks to make it look like the home of Zamunda royalty.
Production designer Jefferson Sage and his team did not want to build a palace from the ground up for the long-awaited comedy sequel, but this presented another problem. "Our big problem was, where do we find a house that had the scale of the possibilities for a very lavish palace?” Sage told Variety. They discovered Ross's 45,000 square-foot mansion in Fayetteville, Georgia would work. The home sits on 235 acres and has 12 bedrooms and a dining room with space for up to 100 people. The location was perfect for Sage and director Craig Brewer.
"That entrance foyer with the big two-story interior and double-winding staircase was perfect,” Sage told Variety. “Off of that, there were two beautiful big rooms with giant windows and 18-foot ceilings. We used five key spaces that we turned into Zamunda.” The dining room was converted into a film set. They even used Ross's own bedroom as the King's in the film.
Ross loved the idea of Coming 2 America being filmed in his home since he considers the original Coming to America (1988) his favorite movie. He enjoyed watching Murphy and Arsenio Hall working there. He even asked the production team to leave the new wallpaper they installed in the dining room. They also gave him the dining room table created for the film as a gift, he said.
Sage and his team were careful to include references to the original film, so it looked like it was the same palace, just with a few renovations made over the years. They also created sets on soundstages inspired by Ross's home for scenes they could not shoot there. "We did that so it would always feel like the same building," Sage said.
Coming 2 America also featured a new My-T-Sharp barbershop sequence. Sage created the new set by researching the original set designed by Richard Macdonald. "We went to great lengths to find as much as we could, and we got just about everything," he said. "The sense of going back to that set is a tie-in to the original and brings the two movies together."
Coming 2 America was released on Amazon Prime Video on Friday. It follows the events of the original film, with Murphy returning as Prince Akeem Joffer and Hall as his best friend and aide, Semmi. Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, Wesley Snipes, and James Earl Jones also star. As for the idea of a Coming to America 3, Murphy jokingly told Variety he wants to make it when he turns 75 in 16 years.