Since when does a city get to dictate a screenplay?
Beverly Hills Cop is an all-time classic movie. In the movie, Eddie Murphy plays a cop named Axel Foley who tracks some murderers from Detroit to Beverly Hills. There, he has a major culture shock as he knocks some heads and tracks murderers into some beautiful mansions for an epic shootout. The movie was a huge hit for Paramount and was the highest-grossing R-rated action movie of all time until the third Matrix movie unseated it in the early 2000s. Adjusted for inflation, it's the third highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time!
It's safe to say that Beverly Hills Cop was an absolute landmark in cinema. It was probably my first exposure to Los Angeles, as I watched the movie when I was 10 years old and laughed my butt off. When I got to the real Beverly Hills, roughly 15 years later, I thought the movie did a good job lampooning a lot of what's there.
The movie went on to spawn a trilogy, and late last year we found out Netflix was going to make the fourth installment, with Eddie Murphy returning as Foley.
Rumors about the story swirled, but it turns out... all the rumors should have been run past the City of Beverly Hills.
How Did the City of Beverly Hills Get Script Approval on the Upcoming Movie?
To shoot there, on location, Netflix allowed them to have script approval. And it turns out city leaders don't want the city to resemble what it did in the earlier movies.
"Many things that were funny in the 80s are not funny now, and it's really important to all of us to make sure that the integrity of our Beverly Hills Police Department is really maintained because we do have an incredible police department," said Mayor Lili Bosse of Beverly Hills.
So yes, the City of Beverly Hills will be censoring the script for the fourth movie in exchange for permits to shoot in the city.
A representative of Beverly Hills and the police department will read the Beverly Hills Cop 4 screenplay and pay attention to its portrayal of the city, as well as crime and the police. They'll have the final say in what should be in the movie and what has to go. If they don't like parts and Netflix won't take them out, they'll lose the ability to shoot there.
That feels like extortion to me, but I'm no cop.
The city has yet to appoint a representative, but all the leading candidates mentioned by Patch are police officers.
Also, the city has already rejected a scene in the movie where Murphy would be thrown through a window (a callback to the original) because of recent smash-and-grab burglaries there. Also, there are other very specific ways they want crime shown, and they also don't want it to appear that Beverly Hills is a crime-ridden area. They want the movie to help advertise the city and show that it's a safe, comfortable place for tourists. And they want the Beverly Hills cops to all look like heroes at the end, which they do in all the other movies.
This all reeks of oversensitive censorship and honestly feels so gross and pointless. A city controlling a script is frustrating and anti-art. Hearing they got rid of a simple callback over some break-ins is so dumb, it pains me even to type those sentences.
It feels pertinent to mention that the Beverly Hills police department has been in hot water recently. Former Beverly Hills Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli resigned in shame in 2020 after lawsuits surfaced saying she made racist remarks and harassed city employees. The entire department is facing a class-action lawsuit claiming large-scale racial profiling.
Chances are, those won't be in the movie either.
Let me know what you think in the comments.