Although Paula Abdul is revered for being the craftswoman behind the moves of her own high octane music videos as well as some of Janet Jackson, Prince, George Michael, The Jackson 5, and the Laker Girls’ most memorable performances, many may not know her resume also extended to film.
Choreographing some famous dance sequences in top films ‘Jerry Maguire,’ Tom Hanks’ 1988 classic ‘Big,’ and more, one of her most impressive achievements to date is often mistakenly attributed to other choreographers: the dance scenes of Eddie Murphy‘s ‘Coming To America.’
As buzz builds for its long-awaited follow-up, ‘Coming To America 2,’ Abdul sat down with our friends at Yahoo! to reflect on the film’s impact on her career. An insightful interview indeed, look inside to hear what she said:
Reflecting on the film’s famous wedding scene (seen below), Abdul said:
“To this day, a lot of people don’t know that I choreographed Coming to America,” she tells Yahoo Entertainment. “John Landis [the director] wanted to meet with the girl who choreographed Janet Jackson,” Abdul recalls. “And I just remember coming in very businesslike with a briefcase that all I had in it was my taped Laker Girl routines and Janet Jackson’s — a couple of her videos, that was it. But I remember [thinking], ‘This could be really exciting.’
She went on to say:
“I remember John Landis coming out to the waiting area, opening up the door and going, ‘What are ya, 17?’ And I went, ‘19.’ I was turning 18. … I had to prove myself, because he thought I was going to be someone older and more experienced. I always have been one of those people that, you know, what do I have to lose? I’m going to prove myself. And I offered to work with dancers, workshop them, and ‘I’ll come up with something and you take a look at it, and you tell me if you want to hire me.’ And that’s what I did.”