Comedic actor Chris Tucker revealed that he hardly got paid anything to star in the urban classic comedy Friday opposite Ice Cube in 1995.
It was the hilarious role of the weed-addicted junkie named “Smokey” that propelled Tucker to Hollywood stardom where he’d later command upwards of $20 million for the Rush Hour franchise.
But Tucker laughs that he could barely rub two nickels together even after he was paid for Friday, which also starred an all-star ensemble including John Witherspoon, Tom “Tiny” Lister, Nia Long, Regina King, Bernie Mac, Faizon Love, Paula Jai Parker, Anna Maria Horsford and DJ Pooh.
“It’s one of those things —it was just a small movie. We filmed it in 20 days. I got about $10,000 for it or whatever, I didn’t care. I wanted the opportunity.” Tucker revealed on NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe’s podcast, “Club Shay Shay.”
Tucker, 49, explained the budget was a paltry $3 million, mere pennies according to Hollywood standards, so Ice Cube had to cut corners everywhere. He added that the actors only got two chances to get a scene right before it would be pulled.
The star of The Fifth Element and Money Talks, opposite Charlie Sheen, clearly feels strong nostalgia as he reminisces about the iconic film.
“It was that small of a movie, but that was the beauty of it. It allowed me to get into character. It wasn’t no big distractions like big movie sets. You got light people and sound people and everybody wanna be a star. But that movie was just a camera and me and Cube on the porch. Magic came out of it, thank God.”
Friday’s tiny $3 million budget translated into $28 million at the box office worldwide, a huge profit margin, which is why Cube was able to make Next Friday in 2000 and Friday After Next in 2002. Tucker, unfortunately, was a major no-show as he was occupied with the blockbuster comedy Rush Hour franchise that began in 1998. However, the subsequent Friday sequels did introduce the world to comedian Mike Epps.
Flip the page to listen Tucker regale his fans with his Friday memories.