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'Tower Heist' stars Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller discuss their criminal pasts

Tower Heist Stiller Murphy

(David Lee)

For Tower Heist (in theaters Nov. 4), comedy titans Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy team up for the first time ever as two members of an unlikely group of blue-collar bandits out to snag $20 million from a corrupt Madoff type (Alan Alda) who made off with their pension fund. It’s a major act theft – especially considering there’s a recession on – and while the stars of the upcoming comedy caper may have never attempted larceny so grand in real life, they don’t have completely clean slates, either. As luck would have it, both actors have had some experience with the five-finger discount.

“I used to steal sunglasses all the time as a teenager,” says Murphy, who plays a petty thief enlisted to help plan the big steal. “You know, from that round sunglasses display at the grocery store.” Similarly, Stiller – in the movie, the titular tower’s betrayed chief of staff – had his own experiences pulling off very miniature heists. “When I was a kid, there was this mini-shoplifting phase that happened,” Stiller says. “I stole a lot of Dubble Bubble.”

The bubblegum may explain the sticky fingers, but Murphy can do him one better. “I actually stole some hubcaps my first year on Saturday Night Live,” he says. “I would park my car in Freeport on the Long Island Rail Road, and then ride it into New York. I came back one day and I saw some nice hubcaps, popped them off of someone else’s car, and then when I got home, I was on TV.” Luckily, Beverly Hills Cop soon set him on the path of law and order (and awesome theme music).

For more on Tower Heist – and more of this fall’s biggest releases – check out Entertainment Weekly’s Fall Movie Preview Issue, on stands now.

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Originally posted August 16 2011 — 12:00 PM EDT

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