Eddie Murphy will play a cook who is hired by a dying man to prepare meals for his girlfriend and her daughter when he passes in a US drama to be directed by Bruce Beresford.

The screenplay is by Susan McMartin, an experienced TV writer whose credits include Two and a Half Men, Gary Unmarried, Californication and Another World.

The producer is Lee Nelson, whose credits include the romantic drama Celeste & Jesse Forever and the action-thrillers Chained and Freezer.

Shooting is due to start in New Orleans on November 17. Samuel L. Jackson was originally in talks to play the cook but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. The other cast isn’t confirmed.

“It's a dramatic role and I think Eddie realised it’s a nice change of pace for him,” Beresford told IF.

Murphy returns as wise-cracking cop Axel Foley in the fourth edition of Beverly Hill Cop, which Brett Ratner is directing for Paramount. And he’s reportedly set to join Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito in Ivan Reitman’s Triplets, the sequel to Twins.

Beresford confirmed he has turned down an offer to write and direct a new version of Swedish director Kay Pollak’s 2004 comedy-drama As It Is in Heaven.

He was asked to create an English-language reboot by Los Angeles-based producer James Gibb but decided not to proceed because the producer wanted a carbon copy of the original and he wanted a fresh approach.

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