Faizon Love is one of the many well-known actors who owe their big break to the Friday franchise. Debuting in 1995, the movie helped launch Ice Cube, Chris Tucker, and many many more into the mainstream film world. The movie has become a cult classic, despite it being revealed over the years that the majority of actors got paid little to no money to shoot its first installment. Faizon Love recently discussed his time shooting Friday and why he was absent from all of its corresponding sequels.
Faizon Love played one of the film’s protagonists, Big Worm. Big Worm is the neighborhood dealer who tasked Chris Tucker’s Smokey with selling some product for him. Unfortunately, Smokey decided to partake in the supply instead of selling it, and for the majority of the film is dodging Big Worm who is looking to collect his money. The film ends with Smokey finally paying him back after some misadventures and promising to go to rehab and quit smoking before delivering the famous 4th wall line break “I was just BS’n! And you know this, man!”
Love opened up to Comedy X Hype about the role, expressing his gratitude to writers Ice Cube and DJ Pooh for the opportunity. The comedian and actor says that he only got paid $2500 to play Big Worm, which at the time for him was a win. It gave him credibility as an actor, allowed him to pay his rent, and establish himself in Hollywood. However, when it came time for the movie’s sequel, Love says the money played a more significant factor because now there were more roles available. According to Faizon, they only offered him $5000 to return in Next Friday. Love says he turned it down, and the following day got a call from Warner Bros to be in the film Replacements, which scored him a $100k payday.
For Faizon Love, the real money came from television. Love says while starring in The Parent ‘Hood he received 25k an episode. The Parent ‘Hood is an American sitcom television series that aired on The WB from January 18, 1995, to July 25, 1999. The show featured 26 episodes in its first season, so Love was seeing a lot of dough. Love was making so much money he was scared to cash the checks and often left them in his car.
Eventually, he realized he had to spend the money because not only did the checks have expiration dates, but he also owed the government money on taxes. Love jokes that he originated “bottle service” because he literally just went to the bar and spent the money so he would not have to pay it in taxes.
With rumors of a final Friday looming, Faizon Love was asked if he would consider returning for the film. Ice Cube has been very public about wanting to complete the franchise, something that is becoming increasingly harder with members of the original cast passing away. For Love, returning is a no-brainer. The now accomplished comedian says that even if there were no budget, he would return on general principle. Love says he is still a huge fan of Ice Cube and actually feels Cube is underrated. Love also understands the impact of the film on his career and thinks it is important to return to help complete the story if asked back.
Faizon Love is not the only actor to open up about how little they got paid for Friday. John Witherspoon opened up about this as well, claiming only to have gotten paid $5000. They did up the money for the following films and he returned for both sequels.
Chris Tucker was rumored not to have returned over pay issues as well. While he did not confirm it, Tucker did clarify why he did not initially to play Smokey. According to Tucker, he did not like the stereotypes perpetuated by his character Smokey, a stoner. Tucker wanted to set a better example for kids at the time. Some called BS however, and sighted Tucker’s massive Rush Hour payday as the reason he did not return. Chris Tucker skyrocketed following Friday and pocked a cool $25 million for his role in Rush Hour 2. A far cry from the 10k he made for the two weeks of filming the first film.
Deceased actor AJ Johnson reportedly pocketed far less for his role as Ezal. Johnson claims Ice Cube regretted writing his part so small for the first film and promised him a more significant part in Next Friday only to recast him and block him from coming on set. Johnson unfortunately joins Witherspoon, Bernie Mac, Tiny “Zeus” Lister Jr. and Yvette Wilson as actors who will not return for a final Friday because they are deceased.