Dan Aykroyd, a veteran comedic actor with decades of experience, is still working at the age of 70. The Canadian actor is currently filming the sequel to Ghostbusters: Afterlife and was the subject of a new interview detailing his career highs and lows, including that unfortunate Blackface scene in the Eddie Murphy vehicle, Trading Places.
Dan Aykroyd spoke exclusively with The Daily Beast from the set of Ghostbusters: Afterlife and reflected on the creation of Trading Places, which just celebrated its 40th anniversary earlier this month. While Aykroyd spoke glowingly of his castmates in Murphy and Jamie Lee Curtis, he seemed to understand the gravity of the Blackface scene where he put on a faux Caribbean accent and a dreadlocks wig.
From The Daily Beast:
Well, I was in blackface in that film and I probably couldn’t get away with it now,” Aykroyd admits, reflecting on the scene where he appears as a Jamaican character, complete with dreadlocks and a Caribbean accent. “Eddie and I were improvising there. Eddie is a Black man and his entourage were all Black people, and I don’t think they batted an eye. There was no objection then; nobody said anything. It was just a good comic beat that was truthful to the story.”
That said, he concedes that the scene couldn’t be replicated today. “I probably wouldn’t choose to do a blackface part, nor would I be allowed to do it. I probably wouldn’t be allowed to do a Jamaican accent, white face or Black,” he suggests. “In these days we’re living in, all that’s out the window. I would be hard-pressed to do an English accent and get away with it. They’d say, ‘Oh, you’re not English, you can’t do it.’”
Reading Aykroyd’s recollection makes it appear that he doesn’t quite regret the choice but instead realizes it wouldn’t go over in today’s climate. And it also looks like he viewed Murphy’s quiet approval as a pathway to emulate the accent.
Check out the entire piece here.
Photo: Variety / Getty
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