The “Friday” franchise is a beloved American classic. It helped introduce the world to the likes of Ice Cube, Mike Epps, Bernie Mac, Nia Long, and Katt Williams, amongst others. Cube has been lobbying for a final installment for some time now, blaming politics at Warner Bros for the delay. As he and his team continue to push for a “Last Friday”, fans want to make sure that one person is not omitted from the final chapter. “Friday” breakout star Chris Tucker.
“Friday” debuted in 1995. The film became a runaway success and put an instant spotlight and stars Ice Cube and Chris Tucker. While they both went on to become big stars, Tucker’s rise was a little more sudden as he immediately was recruited for the “Rush Hour” franchise. He became such a massive commodity that when it came time to do a sequel “Next Friday,” Tucker’s ‘Smokey’ was nowhere in sight.
Despite all of “Friday’s” success, much of the cast has lamented over the years that the first film did not net them much money. Tucker reportedly only got paid $10,000 for 2 weeks of shooting. Despite the studio offering him more money for the sequel, that could not compete with the $3 million he was being offered to star in “Rush Hour.”
Tucker was able to negotiate an even larger payout for its sequel, netting $20 million to return to the buddy cop franchise. With those kinds of checks, he was said not to be very interested in returning to the low-budget “Friday” franchise. At the time, he argued that he was an action star and should be making just as much as Tom Cruise. “I said, after the success of the first Rush Hour, my movie made over $100 million, Tom Cruise’s movie made over $100 million. He’s getting $20 million, so I need to get $20 million,” Tucker said in an interview.
According to a recent interview, Chris Tucker claims there was a more personal reason why he did not return to the “Friday” franchise. The film series is largely centered around smoking and getting high. His character ‘Smokey’ is an iconic film stoner role. Tucker told Eddie Levert and his family during their podcast that he was more concerned with how influential the character would be on kids than anything else. “I didn’t want to get everyone smoking weed and high in the world.” He goes on to say, “I never really told people this. I don’t want to represent everyone smoking weed.”
The Rush Hour actor says he worried about the impact it would have, glorifying weed usage. It was not something he was interested in promoting. According to him, this helped advance his career because it opened him up to new roles and pushed him to look for other things to play. “It kept me moving, to the next phase and next movies.” Fans in the comments called BS however. Several called “cap,” saying “Cap ! They wasn’t paying him enough”, aware of the rumored pay disputes. Other fans took the topportunity to call on Chris to return to the franchise, claiming Friday needs smokey. With looming talks that Cube and Warner Bros could soon come to an agreement on the final installment, only time will tell if Chris Tucker decides to return.