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33 years after first gracing the silver screen as African royalty, Eddie Murphy is back as Prince Akeem in Coming 2 America, which just premiered last week on Prime Video. Of course, no royal family is complete without its own palace, and in the case of this film, it was a combination of CGI and the real life mansion of rap legend Rick Ross that brought the royal residence to life. Below, House Beautiful breaks down everything you need to know about the mansion, including how it landed a starring role in this regal film and how it was transformed for its palatial appearance.
An Illustrious History
The 45,000-square-foot abode—which acts as a palace in the fictional African country of Zamunda—sits on 235 acres and is located in Fayetteville, Georgia. If that wasn’t impressive enough, it’s also the biggest home in all of Georgia and it boasts one of the largest swimming pools in the United States, at over 350,000 gallons in total.
Boxer Evander Holyfield had the home built in 1994 and lived there until 2013, when it was acquired by JPMorgan Chase for $7.5 million in a foreclosure. In 2014, the dwelling hit the market for $8.2 million, and Ross purchased it shortly thereafter.
Costly Upkeep and Over-the-Top Offerings
According to what Holyfield told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it cost him approximately $1 million a year to run this mansion, which included a $17,000 electricity bill every month. We can see why the boxing icon went on to sell this expensive—and expansive—property.
In total, the home now boasts 109 rooms, including 12 bedrooms, 21 bathrooms, a dining room that can sit up to 100 people, a 135-seat movie theater, and a bowling alley, to name a few of the abode’s many impressive amenities. Just last fall, Ross reportedly spent $1 million to purchase 87 acres near the mansion, including two houses that may be renovated for the rapper himself to live in, or serve as rental properties, according to TMZ. He even posted about the purchase on his Instagram.
How the Home Prepared for the Screen
So, how did Rick Ross’s mansion end up with a starring role in Coming 2 America? Well, in 2019, when filming was underway for the sequel, Ross told Nick Cannon in an interview on Power 96.1 that his favorite film happens to be Coming to America (the original), and that was the primary reason behind his desire to be part of the second film. More recently, Ross divulged more about the film’s production process in an Instagram Live this past January, stating that he charged producers just to visit the estate when they were scouting potential filming locations. “It’s not free to come check out the estate. Twenty people are wanting to see it today, every day,” Ross revealed. “What we do is charge people to come look at it, and there’s still 18 people that want to come a day. So, welcome to the promised land.” Hey, you've got to pay that electricity bill somehow, right?
According to Variety, five areas of the mansion were used to bring the fictional palace to life, including the grand foyer, two stately rooms (both of which boast 18-foot ceilings!), the aforementioned dining room that can fit up to 100 guests, and the main bedroom, which happens to be Ross’s room.
(Side note: The original Coming to America palace was created using CGI and a studio set built in Hollywood.)
Ross recently told Variety that the film's production team “changed the wallpaper in the dining room, so I asked them to keep it up there.” And that wasn’t the only parting gift he received: “They also created that huge dining room table for a dining scene that seats 50-60 people, and they left that for me as a gift. It’s humongous.”
A few rooms were brought to life on sound stages separate from the mansion, like the throne room and the ballroom, but the set designs stayed true to the architectural make up of Ross’s home.
You can watch Coming 2 America—and take in the palatial beauty of Prince Akeem’s royal abode for yourself—here.
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