Archive of columns.

03/05/99: This week's question:

What Does The Next Year Hold For Eddie Murphy?

Eddie Murphy's filmography at the IMDb

CARD 1: Major Arcana 20 - Judgment (John Wayne)
CARD 2: Queen of Pentacles (Mae West)
CARD 3: 9 of Wands - Mistrust (David Duchovny)
CARD 4: Major Arcana 16 - The Tower (Bruce Willis)
CARD 5: Prince of Wands (Bruce Lee)
CARD 6: Major Arcana 18 - The Moon (Ava Gardner)
CARD 7: Ace of Cups - Love (Elizabeth Taylor)
CARD 8: King of Cups (Leonard Nimoy)
CARD 9: 5 of Cups - Regret (Hugh Grant)
CARD 10: 4 of Pentacles - Avarice (Montgomery Burns)

Madame Esmeralda reads the cards:

Eddie Muphy, Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy...oh, yeah, I remember him now. He's that guy who used to be funny, back in the early '80s. I loved that guy. Obnoxious as hell, if I'm remembering the right person.

Is he really still alive? He must be, I guess, if we're doing a reading on him. Although that gives me a great idea - maybe we should start doing readings on dead people. I think it would be really interesting to see what 1999 holds for John Wayne. I think in 1999 Barbara Walters should do a joint interview with John Wayne and Deepak Chopra - a sort of revelry of superficiality. One or more of them being dead wouldn't have much of an impact on the integrity of the interview.

Oh well, back to Eddie Murphy: The question is laid out in Cards 1 and 2, Judgment, (the John Wayne card), and the Queen of Pentacles (Mae West). I remember now: Eddie Murphy got in trouble a couple of years back for being caught with a transvestite. It appears that the question is: is the movie-going public going to keep judging him for this little indiscretion?

Well, this reading does sound like fun. Card 3, bad Eddie's Challenge in this situation, is Mistrust. Eddie Murphy had been trying to develop a movie identity as a King of Wands archetype - a devil-may-care, love-'em-and-leave-'em, fear-no-man, laugh-in-the-face-of-death kind of guy; the swashbuckler, Errol Flynn kind of guy; the kind of guy George Clooney could play with his eyes closed, yet inexplicably keeps getting miscast as everything else (Batman is the Moon, not the King of Wands...but I digress). Back to Eddie: we can forgive almost anything from the King of Wands, since it's his nature to be lovably untrustworthy, EXCEPT: sexual ambiguity. There are only two absolutes about the King of Wands: (1) he never takes anything seriously, and (2) he's an utterly hetero manly kind of man. We mistrust Eddie because his National Enquirer persona failed to live up to the pure hetero code of the King of Wands. Eddie's unfortunate situation is an example of how the public blurs the lines between Level One and Level Two Archetypes.

Oops. That's some Challenge there, guy.

Card 4, God's purpose in this situation, is The Tower, a.k.a. the mega crisis that shakes everything up so you can begin again from scratch. You have to start all over, because you don't have any other choice. It's time for Eddie to make himself a new identity archetype.

The 5th Card, the card of the Present and where Eddie has come from, is the Prince of Wands. Although he tried, he never quite made it into the King of Wands big leagues, because we were never quite able to accept him as an adult; he was always more of a Prince than a King.

Maybe Eddie should consider doing what Ricky Shroeder did when he wanted folks to take him seriously as an adult: stop using the diminutive version of his name. He needs to start all over and develop a new archetype anyway. There's something very adult-like about the name "Ed". Think Ed Harris.

Card 6, the card of Eddie's immediate Future if there are no conscious changes in the situation, is The Moon. Eddie's little walk on the wild side does make him an ideal candidate for The Moon - mysterious, unknown, provocative, a little frightening. The problem from a career perspective is: there aren't a lot of roles for Moons. That's the problem Armand Assante has always had: the man's a Moon, and except for Batman the '90s just haven't been a good time for Moons, male or female (and as I said, that role's always been miscast).

Card 7, the Ace of Cups, is the question we should have asked: will Eddie Murphy find True Love? Well, thank God we didn't ask that question and we don't have to worry about it now.

The card of the archetype currently acting in this situation, Card 8, is the King of Cups. This is the card of the person in strict control of his emotions. Clearly Eddie's been having a tough time, keeping his emotions together within himself.

But he should just let go, let himself wallow in his pain and get it over with and then get on with his life, as instructed by the Tower: the archetype Eddie should be modeling in this situation, Card 9, is one of my favorite cards: Regret. Hugh Grant had a similar experience as Eddie's, except in his case it was with a woman (plus his fiance was Elizabeth Hurley, so there was no unfortunate sexual ambiguity connotation). Eddie should just accept that the incident happened, regret it for a while, and then put it behind him and get on with the business of making himself a new archetype.

And what archetype should he make himself into? Card 10, Eddie's Destiny card, is Avarice. We can read this two ways: (1) as a strategy for planning his career -- what archetype is going to make him the most money? Or (2) as the Archetype he should choose to adopt. I suggest he do both. Eddie Murphy should redesign himself as a Montgomery Burns/J.R. Ewing/Ebenezer Scrooge Archetype. What's wrong with adopting an archetype the public loves to hate? Why should Dennis Hopper and Gary Oldman be the only actors getting bad guy roles? Sexual preference is basically irrelevant in these parts -- and there's the added bonus that they're usually semi-comic characters, which should really appeal to Eddie Murphy, since he used to be a pretty funny guy.

Lady Esmene responds:

Oh, poop on all that! You shouldn't have dismissed the Ace of Cups in position 7, Esmeralda, because all Eddie Murphy needs to get back on track is the love of a good woman (like his wife!) Let him clean up his love life, and all the rest will fall right into line.

And I thought George Clooney was a darned terrific Batman. Armand Assante would be way too scary.

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