Mark Molloy Said Yes to Jerry Bruckheimer Only After Hearing About ‘Axel F’

The filmmaker discusses the challenge of bringing an ’80s sense of danger back to movies and reveals that neither he nor Bruckheimer have watched the ill-fated third ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ movie. Mark Molloy, now the latest filmmaker recruited by Jerry Bruckheimer from the world of advertising, directed the much-anticipated ‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.’

With a background in creating at least four commercials for Apple, the humble Australian filmmaker doesn’t claim to follow directly in the footsteps of Bruckheimer’s past discoveries like Tony Scott and Michael Bay. However, Bruckheimer has consistently found new talent through commercials and music videos, just as he did with Molloy.

Also Read: ‘Beverly Hills Cop 4’ Review: A Healthy Dose of Nostalgia

Mark Molloy Axel F
Image Courtesy: The Hollywood Reporter

In the ’80s, Scott was among a group of British commercial directors who brought their unique styles to the United States, with Bruckheimer and Don Simpson’s ‘Top Gun’ (1986) marking his American debut. The film’s massive success led the producers to quickly rehire Scott for ‘Beverly Hills Cop II’ (1987). Molloy channelled the spirit of Scott’s sequel in Netflix’s well-received legacy sequel ‘Axel F.’ While Molloy was eager to work with Bruckheimer, he surprisingly declined several initial script offers.

“My agent called one day and said, ‘Jerry Bruckheimer wants to talk to you.’ I immediately agreed,” Molloy says. “Jerry mentioned wanting to make a movie together and sent me several scripts. I turned them all down because they didn’t feel like the right fit. But then he sent me ‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.’ Twenty pages in, I was hooked and knew I wanted to do it.”

Molloy embraced the audience’s nostalgia for the Eddie Murphy-led action-comedy franchise. Unlike some filmmakers hesitant to “play the hits” in legacy sequels, Molloy openly embraced it, incorporating the iconic soundtrack during filming. As we were shooting, I would play the ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ soundtrack,” Molloy says. “During a long pan, I’d put the music on and adjust the scene’s pacing to match the vibe. The music was always in my head.”

For his directorial debut, Molloy focused on Martin Brest’s 1984 franchise starter, Scott’s 1987 sequel, and other ‘70s and ‘80s action films, consciously avoiding 2013’s unaired CBS pilot and 1994’s ‘Beverly Hills Cop III’. In a subtle nod to the franchise’s least popular instalment, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, Detective Bobby Abbott, remarks to Axel, “Not your finest hour,” referencing Axel’s 1994 escapades. Molloy’s dedication to capturing the essence of the original films, combined with his unique vision, aims to deliver a nostalgic yet fresh experience for fans of the ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ series.

-Sushmita Sarkar