Eddie Murphy was never first choice to play the lead role in ‘Candyman’, its director has insisted.

Bernard Rose, who made the original 1990s horror, debunked the long-standing myth in an interview about the release of a 4K version of the chiller.

The 61-year-old told the NME: “That whole b******* thing that’s around about Eddie Murphy, there’s not a shred of truth to it.

“It was never even talked about.”

Hook-handed Candyman was played by 6ft 4in all Tony Todd, 67, in the 1992 original – with the actor also playing the ghoul in two sequels, ‘Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh’ in 1995, and 1999’s ‘Candyman: Day of the Dead’.

Long-running reports say one of the reasons 5ft 7in tall Murphy, 61, wasn’t finally cast as Candyman was his height, as he is only a few inches taller the film’s female lead Virginia Madsen, who played urban myths researcher Helen Lyle, who stumbles on the demonic presence while investigating a story about him in a run-down housing estate.

Candyman, 30 years old this year, is based on Clive Barker’s short story ‘The Forbidden’.

Written during the mid-1980s when Margaret Thatcher was in power, it merged themes of social deprivation with nightmare.

Rose says he would make ‘Candyman’ again today “or something similar” as he claims it also addressed white privilege.

He added: “You’ve got to remember, (the story) is told from Virginia Madsen’s (character’s) perspective, a white person going in there.

“I think there’s been something slightly missed about the film… it’s an inversion of the ‘white saviour’ narrative.

“Instead, she goes in there and makes things worse. And I think that’s the point. “There’s fear of the Candyman, which is irrational, but there’s also the bourgeois fear of the projects, which is equally irrational, and is at its heart, you know, an excellent demonstration of racism. And I think that’s where the film got its power from.”

He added he liked the 2021 remake of the flick by ‘Get Out’ director Jordan Peele, 43, adding: “It follows on directly (from the original) and Jordan’s film has an interesting thesis. And what a lot of people don’t know is, Jordan was developing Candyman before ‘Get Out’.”