Ice Cube Explains Chris Tucker’s Absence From Next Friday’s Show
Despite a $10-$12 million offer, Chris Tucker declined to reprise his role as Smokey in Next Friday, according to Ice Cube.
Chris Tucker‘s absence from the comedic sequel Next Friday has been officially confirmed by Ice Cube. The first Friday, which premiered on April 26, 1995, featured Craig Jones (Ice Cube), a guy who loses his job and starts to use cannabis with his buddy Smokey (Chris Tucker), accidentally putting himself in the crosshairs of a legendary drug dealer. Friday was such a financial and critical success that it generated its own franchise, with sequels Next Friday and Friday After Next released in 2000 and 2002, respectively, and an eight-episode Friday animated series on MTV in 2007.
Chris Tucker, who had acted in popular films such as Rush Hour, Jackie Brown, and The Fifth Element in the meantime, did not reprise his role as Smokey in Next Friday or its sequel. Instead, the new character Day Day, portrayed by Mike Epps, stepped into his shoes. Chris Tucker’s absence from the sequels was not officially acknowledged at the time, but after acting in the following two Rush Hour films, he faded into obscurity, appearing in just two films after 2007. However, if the long-awaited Rush Hour 4 comes to existence, it’s probable that he’ll reprise his role.
Ice Cube replied to a post from a fan accusing the makers of Friday of not paying Chris Tucker enough for the sequel on his Twitter account. Tucker declined the film for religious grounds, according to Ice Cube, who said that “he didn’t want to swear or consume dope on camera anymore.” He was so committed to his ideals that he rejected away a prospective payout of “$10-12” million. Take a look at the following tweet:
Ice Cube’s remark backs up a popular notion regarding why Tucker didn’t return to the series. In 1997, the actor became a born-again Christian, and as a result, he became considerably more selective about the assignments he accepted. Similarly, his position in the Rush Hour series paid off so well that he was able to turn down even high-paying jobs like Smokey.
We were ready to pay Chris Tucker $10-12m to do Next Friday but he turned us down for religious reasons. He didn’t want to cuss or smoke weed on camera anymore. https://t.co/1pfo1FHWzp
Next Friday was a huge hit even without Chris Tucker, grossing $60 million on a $11 million budget. If Tucker had signed on, it seems that the budget would have grown, taking away a significant portion of the earnings. A Friday 2 with Chris Tucker, on the other hand, may have been a lot larger hit, so it’s difficult to say what could have happened if he hadn’t opted out.