A first draft was supposed to feature both a young love interest for Murphy as well as a plot line which had him posing as a security guard to take down a kingpin.
Sylvester Stallone was the original star, but dropped the role reportedly because of a dispute over the brand of orange juice in his trailer. Just think, we were a bottle of Tropicana away from Sly as Axel Foley.
The eventual director Martin Brest flipped a coin to decide whether to take the project.
It took 7 years from script to production to find a director, after being turned down by the likes of Martin Scorsese and David Cronenberg.
Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, and Eddie Murphy improvised in many scenes, causing lots of takes to have to be thrown out when they would break out of character and laugh.
The movie held the box office record for a R-rated film for 20 years.
After the first film killed it, Paramount wanted to transition it into a TV series. Eddie Murphy also turned down that idea, and they made more movies instead.
Tony Scott directed the second movie and dropped an Easter egg in the credits, referencing Michael Rappaport’s character Dick Ritchie in True Romance.
The third film almost included a crossover with Crocodile Dundee. Thankfully, Eddie Murphy shot it down.
The third film also almost featured Sean Connery as a Scotland Yard officer, but it was abandoned because of similarities to Black Rain.
After Trading Places and Coming to America, John Landis and Eddie Murphy had a rift between them, so it was a shock when the studio convinced them to work together again for the third movie.
In the script, Axel was supposed to put a potato from the kitchen into the tailpipe, but they cut the kitchen scene so they had to change it to something readily found in a hotel lobby – a banana.
Before Murphy took over, producers were thinking of hiring Al Pacino, Mickey Rourke, and James Caan all for the role.
The song playing at the strip club, Nasty Girl, came at the suggestion of one of the real strippers who worked there.
Bronson Pinchot was supposed to split his dialogue with another character, but the director liked his Serge character so much, he gave all the dialogue to Pinchot. He couldn’t reappear in the sequel because of a conflict with Perfect Strangers.
The theme hit number 3 on the Billboard 200 and has been sampled more than 15 times.