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‘Axel F’ Throwback Trailer Cut By Editor Who Made Original One In 1984

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EXCLUSIVE: It’s no accident that a new trailer for Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F looks and sounds a heckuva lot like the trailer for the original 1984 movie starring Eddie Murphy.

That’s because it was made by Benedict Coulter, the veteran editor who cut the first trailer for Beverly Hills Cop 40 years ago while working for Kaleidoscope Films. Then a frustrated musician who ended up at one of those Hollywood trailer companies, Coulter was one of only a handful of artists who cut trailers for motion pictures back in the days of leg warmers, Michael Jackson wannabes and the Pointer Sisters.

Coulter’s unique style was to make kick-ass teasers with unforgettable songs (he would go on to cut the trailer for Top Gun). Netflix was so enamored with the way Coulter promoted Murphy’s breakout performance, that it asked Coulter to cut a special one for the July 3 premiere of Axel F with one caveat: that he lift the voiceover work of the late Don LaFontaine from Coulter’s other trailer for Beverly Hills Cop II and use it in the new throwback one.

(The late Gene McGarr narrated the first Beverly Hills Cop trailer but his dialogue was limited to “Eddie Murphy is a Detroit Cop on vacation in Beverly Hills.” LaFontaine’s voiceover was much more usable for Coulter’s 2024 cut since he said, “Axel Foley is back, back where he doesn’t belong, reunited with his old buddies. The heat’s back on!”)

“Don is probably laughing and going, ‘I’ve been dead for 16 years and they’re still using my voice,’” said Coulter, who called LaFontaine’s widow for permission to lift her husband’s voice. “Trailers are not narrated these days. They use graphics and cards. You don’t really hear much of that kind of old school voiceover. These days the stuff is a lot slicker, much more polished, with a lot of sound design and visual trickery. Mine were just kickass bombastic, all balls out, full music. Stop, just go, go, go. The funny thing is that at first, I think the first couple of cuts I showed to the director [Mark Molloy], he was like, ‘whoa, whoa. I don’t know if it’s too much.’ I said, well, that’s the style. That’s how we used to cut reels in the eighties. We just threw everything at you.’”

Benedict Coulter

Courtesy

Coulter still remembers the day at Kaleidoscope when he was asked to turn around the Beverly Hills Cop trailer in less than 48 hours.

“I was becoming kind of the top editor at Kaleidoscope Films,” recalled Coulter. “I did a bunch of trailers that year for big movies. I was just about to leave on a Friday night when my bosses came to me with a dark look on their faces and said, ‘we need your help. Are you available this weekend? We have this movie Beverly Hills Cop and another editor cut a trailer. It’s terrible, and Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer are coming over to Kaleidoscope on Sunday to look at the trailer. We need a trailer badly.’”

“I said, sure I’ll do it,” Coulter continued. “You have to remember, this was 1984, so we were working on film. I was working on my Moviola. There were 12 reels, separated picture and sound. The picture was black and white because the studios didn’t spend money to give us a color print. So they basically made a duplicate black and white print. And then the sound was on a separate reel. At the very end of reel 12 where the end credits were, there was the song “Neutron Dance” by the Pointer Sisters, and it had great energy. I said, ‘well, perfect. I’ll just cut to this song.’ So I didn’t have to look for music.”

“I started cutting right away on Saturday, and I finished it pretty early Sunday. Simpson and Bruckheimer came over to Kaleidoscope, looked at it and freaked out and said, ‘this is fantastic.’ I think it was one of my very few, version one finishes. There was no need to change anything.”

The 1984 trailer features some of the most indelible moments from the movie, like when Axel Foley first arrives to the 90210 area code, when he gets thrown out a window of Victor Maitland’s building and when he’s hanging from the back of a speeding tractor trailer. The new one has the same vibe, thanks to Murphy’s laugh, the sounds of the Pointer Sisters and Judge Reinhold’s Billy getting out of hand with a gun (again).

“For me personally, it has really been kind of a crazy adventure that reminds me of the reason why I never stopped editing … opportunities like this that come around,” continued Coulter, who is now the co-owner of Rebel advertising agency. “I had a blast putting this thing together.”

Here’s Coulter’s original trailer, followed by the trailer for Beverly Hills Cop 2. See the throwback one above.



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