The Friday movie series is considered a comedic staple in the canon of Black American cinema. And although we’ve had some sequels, we were teased for Smokey’s return for many years. So how come Chris Tucker never returned to the franchise and reprised the role? Could we at least hope for an appearance in the rumored next installment, Last Friday?
Well, last year, on Power 106 FM’s Nick Cannon Mornings, Ice Cube put the ball in Tucker’s court, saying, “It’s really about Chris Tucker making a commitment. He’s not gonna hold up the movie.” But recently, on Shannon Sharpe’s podcast Club Shay Shay, Tucker answered the question himself in a proper sit-down and said why.
“It’s one of those things… it was just a small movie,” Tucker said. “We filmed it in 20 days. I got about $10,000 for it or whatever; I didn’t care. I wanted the opportunity.”
Sharpe was stunned to hear that Tucker received so small an amount, especially when you consider that Tucker received $20 million for his appearance in Money Talks only two years later. But for Tucker, it was all love, less about the money and more about the art. “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.”
These comments are reminiscent of a standup set Tucker delivered a little over three years ago and joked, “Cube got mad cuz I didn’t wanna do part two. I told I ain’t doing it; I said no. He got mad. I told ‘You ain’t pay me for the first one, s**t.’ He gon’ give me some CDs and some weed. Hell nah. You better give me some money!”
But for what it’s worth, though, it looks like “Smokey” isn’t alone in how he felt. Although similarly grateful for the opportunity and the doors opened to a younger generation, John “Pops” Witherspoon echoed similar sentiments in 2018 when he sat down with DJ Vlad: “We got paid $5,000 a piece to do that movie… [Tucker] went with Jackie Chan to make Rush Hour and $20 million. I wouldn’t go back to Friday either.”
So it looks like Big Worm will have his emotions played with for a long time.