'Beverly Hills Cop' star Judge Reinhold says 'executive murder plot' crushed career


Judge Reinhold is sharing the story behind why his career may have been stunted.

The actor, who stars alongside Eddie Murphy in the "Beverly Hills Cop" franchise, said his attempt at a leading role in the film "Vice Versa" was squashed due to a figurative "executive murder plot."

Reinhold, 67, told Vanity Fair in a profile published June 13 that the 1988 "body-swap" film with Fred Savage was destroyed at the box office due to similar movies coming out at the time, as well as behind-the-scenes moves by former Columbia Pictures CEO David Puttnam.

"It was basically an executive murder plot. David Puttnam, who produced 'Chariots of Fire,' became the head of Columbia Pictures, and we all loved him because he was a creative and he had done indies," he said. "The downside with David was he wanted to bring the price of lead actors down, but make the backend profits real."

Join our Watch Party! Sign up to receive USA TODAY's movie and TV recommendations right in your inbox

Judge Reinhold, who stars in the "Beverly Hills Cop" franchise alongside Eddie Murphy, recalled the 1980s film that he feels sidelined his career.
Judge Reinhold, who stars in the "Beverly Hills Cop" franchise alongside Eddie Murphy, recalled the 1980s film that he feels sidelined his career.

Puttnam was CEO for 15 months, from June 1986 to September 1987.

He continued: "I believed him. I really did. And he wasn’t, unfortunately, around long enough to prove that formula."

"Vice Versa" follows a divorced executive and his 11-year-old son as they encounter a mysterious Tibetan skull. The skull releases a magical power that causes the two to switch bodies.

As noted in Vanity Fair, the film came amid a slate of age-change movies, including "Like Father Like Son" in 1987, and "Big" and "18 Again!" in 1988.

"What happened was Dudley Moore and Kirk Cameron's 'Like Father Like Son.' Tri-Star Pictures threw that movie into production while we were already shooting," said Reinhold. "And Coca-Cola owned both companies. When I started the film, I knew that that was a risk to be so closely identified with the other ones. I know that it was a premise that had been done before. I didn't know about the Dudley Moore movie."

The "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" actor went on to star in "The Santa Clause" series and made guest appearances on "Ellen," "Monk" and "Arrested Development," and many television films.

Reinhold starred in every installment of the "Beverly Hills Cop" franchise, including a 2013 TV movie.

He revives his role as Billy Rosewood in Netflix's upcoming "Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F" film, streaming July 3.

Hitting the big screen in 1984, the original "Beverly Hills Cop" catapulted Murphy into superstardom. The classic buddy-cop action comedy spurred two sequels, all starring Murphy as the titular street-smart cop who came to California from Detroit to investigate crime and corruption.

"Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley" reunites Murphy and Reinhold with franchise co-stars John Ashton, Paul Reiser and Bronson Pinchot. New to the franchise are stars including Kevin Bacon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Taylour Paige.

Contributing: Sarah Al-Arshani and Eric Lagatta

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Beverly Hills Cop star Judge Reinhold recalls film that shelved career