Written by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski (Big Eyes, Ed Wood, The People Vs. Larry Flynt), Dolemite is essentially a story about the American Dream and a sense of community for those in the margins in Hollywood. Moore was a comedian who had more failures than successes until he assumed the persona of Dolemite. Many saw the alter ego as crude, and his blatantly explicit album covers and songs were too racy for radio, so they began selling bootlegs of his albums.
Wanting to elevate and expand the character, Moore went to socially minded playwright Jerry Jones (played in the film by Keegan-Michael Key) to make a film, helped by his new comedic partner in crime Lady Reed (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) and hoity-toity director D’Urville Martin (Wesley Snipes). Despite a lack of money, no faith from Hollywood and numerous obstacles working to overcome, Moore’s sincerity and passion fueled 1975’s Dolemite, a film that would become a box office success and, despite bubbling over with camp, cheesy action, crazy car chases and low-fi kung fu, a benchmark in black culture and cinema.
Since opening in theaters in October and streaming on Netflix, the film has generated buzz primarily for the its ensemble cast, led by a stellar performance from Murphy and outstanding support from Snipes and breakout star Randolph.
Read the script here.
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