Eddie Murphy Becomes The Cook

In Bruce Beresford's new drama

Eddie Murphy currently has a fourth Beverly Hills Cop and Twins sequel Triplets on the boil. Before he serves up either, however, he's preparing a more serious drama. He's signed on for the title role in Cook, which Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy) will direct.

The story involves a dying man who hires Murphy to rustle up meals for his girlfriend and daughter after he's left this mortal coil. It was initially earmarked for Samuel L. Jackson until scheduling conflicts caused him to decline. Susan McMartin (Californication) wrote the script, and Mark Canton (300, Immortals, Escape Plan) is among the producers.

"It's a great screenplay," Canton told Empire when we had cause to speak to him recently. "It's a small story - a true story - of a family and a guy who comes into their lives. You have to come up with either really great big franchise driven movies or little character driven movies. Those are the two businesses to be in. I'm in both. You don't like to be caught in the middle."

Canton likens Cook on some level to Jennifer Aniston drama Cake, which recently premiered at TIFF and called on its star to go out on something of an acting limb. "Cake startled people because Jen gained a lot of weight and cut her hair and has a lot of scars and it's a serious drama," he explains. "Cook is another one. Everyone now wants to do what Matt McConaughey did, so we're financing these movies when we think they're put together the right way. This will be Eddie Murphy like you've never seen him. Of that I can assure you."

Murphy's first non-comedy, non-Donkey role since 2006's Dreamgirls, goes before the cameras next month. Expect further casting details in short order.