Chris Tucker Reveals the Real Reason He Left ‘Friday’
Chris Tucker’s exit from the Friday franchise is one of the most-talked-about movie departures ever. He’d had a breakthrough role in the film that earned him great recognition and paved the way for even bigger movies. But despite its success, Tucker famously turned down all of the sequels. Here’s the real reason he left Friday, in his own words.
‘Friday’ is one of Chris Tucker’s most memorable roles
After honing his skills as a stand-up comedian and appearing in House Party 3, Tucker was approached about a role in Friday, a film that follows best friends Craig (Ice Cube) and Smokey (Tucker) as they endure an eventful day in their Los Angeles neighborhood.
DJ Pooh, who produced and wrote Friday with Ice Cube, said their interest in Tucker came after seeing him on Def Comedy Jam. “We thought, ‘This dude would be able to play the hell out of Smokey. Let’s see if we can get him to come in and read for him.’ And that’s what happened and it was over like that,” he told Complex.
Friday came out in 1995 and wound up being bigger than anyone expected, generating positive reviews, over $25 million worldwide against a $3.5 million budget, and a cult following. It also got two sequels, Next Friday (2000) and Friday After Next (2002). But neither featured Tucker.
Why Chris Tucker quit the ‘Friday’ franchise
Appearing on Shannon Sharpe’s Club Shay Shay podcast in January, Tucker was asked about the reason he never returned to the sequels. He confessed, around the 16:00 mark:
“I wanted to move on because when I did something, I never wanted to do it again. Back then, I was all about going to the next level. I had a good sense of like, ‘OK, now it’s time to go do an action movie.'”
“So when they asked me to do a Friday, I was like, ‘Nah, I wanna go do something else. We done did that,” he continued. “…I was thinking about my career, saying, ‘Nah I wanna go do Money Talks or something.’ Let me do my own movie.’
“It was about going to the next level. They couldn’t believe I didn’t want to do another one, but I was right when I think back on it. I was like, ‘It’s time to do something new. We did that.’ I did everything I could do, and I was prepared [to move on]. And I’m satisfied with it.”
His career took off after ‘Friday’
Friday served as a springboard for Tucker’s film career, helping him secure roles in blockbusters such as Rush Hour, The Fifth Element, and Jackie Brown. By the turn of the century, he had even become the highest-paid actor in Hollywood.
While you may not see him much now, Tucker mentioned to Sharpe that he’s ready to get back to work. But don’t expect him to be involved in the rumored fourth Friday film.
“I probably won’t [do the movie] because I never want to shortchange my audience and fans,” he told Sharpe when questioned about the film. “I know they want it because that’s what they know and love … but I don’t want to come back in something that I probably can’t do what they want me to do because I’ve grown. But not only grown, I’m different.”
Moving forward, he said he hopes to do more projects that align with his life and experiences as a 40-something. “Now the stuff that I’ll do from this point on is where I’ve been these last 20 years growing up, I think,” he added.