The long-anticipated sequel to Coming to America debuted last Friday night to fans across the world that have been patiently waiting for over 33 years. The tale of the African prince from the fictitious kingdom of Zamunda has been a staple in American and pop culture since the original film launched in 1988.
Much of the movie was filmed in Georgia (USA) at the mansion of famous American rapper – Rick Ross, who graciously opened the doors of his massive estate so it could be transformed into a movie set.
The estate that was formerly owned by champion boxer Evander Holyfield sits on 245 acres (95 hectares) comprising 45,000 square feet, with 12 bedrooms and a dining room that holds around 100 people.
The directors of the film Craig Brewer and Jefferson Sage were looking for a set that was big enough to handle the scale and all the props that would befit an elegant and extravagant African palace. Ross’s estate fit the bill perfectly, and according to production designer Sage it was a perfect fit.
“That entrance foyer with the big two-story interior and double-winding staircase was perfect, off of that, there were two beautiful big rooms with giant windows and 18-foot ceilings. We used five key spaces that we turned into Zamunda.”Sage
One of the main 5 spaces used in the house was Ross’s master bedroom, which was converted into the royal bedroom and adorned with flowing drapes, a silver leaf bed and finishes fit for the King and Queen of Zamunda. Many of the sculptures and art pieces were sourced from local Atalanta area dealers and private owners, while other pieces were made from scratch.
The result was a stunning and realistic set that helped transport viewers and make them feel as if they were in a faraway land, when in fact they were in Atlanta.
Rick Ross was reported as saying that he would keep some of the additions that were made in his mansion, such as the wallpaper that was used in the dining room, and he was also gifted the enormous table that can sit over 50 people.
Nigerians and Africans Played Big Roles
There was a big Nigerian presence in the film. Rotimi (Olurotimi Akinosho,) – the Nigerian American actor played the son of Wesley Snipes character, who was seeking to marry the King’s duaghter.
Nigerian megastar Davido also had a cameo in the film when he performed for the king at the palace. The film’s soundtrack was heavily influenced by Nigerian artists, such as Burna Boy, Davido, Tiwa Savage, and Tekno.
Other notable African celebrities in the film included comedian Michael Blaxton, Trevor Noah, and his fellow South African actress Nomzamo Mbatha, who played the princess to be in the movie.
The movie hit a lot of points and did a brilliant job paying homage to the original film and incorporated most of the original cast in some capacity. The visual effects were stunning and it had that “African essence”, even if it could be seen as somewhat stereotypical.
The much-anticipated movie made a big impact and the house and set provided also showed that real estate can also play an influential role in the design, set up, and staging of major feature films.
Go and see it.