Friday has kept its cult classic status for almost three decades. One of the main reasons for this is because of the supporting cast backing lead Ice Cube, most notably fan-favorite Chris Tucker. Unfortunately, Tucker’s drug-dealing Smokey hasn’t made another appearance since the first film. For years, rumors have been swirling about why the Rush Hour star never returned for any Friday sequels. After years of speculation, he's revealed the real reason he stepped away from the comedy franchise.
Chris Tucker shot to film stardom by playing the hilarious sidekick to Ice Cube’s jobless Craig. The two actors displayed an incredible dynamic onscreen. But after the film’s success, Tucker chose not to reprise his breakout role. Rumors from onscreen friction to money issues were cited as reasons for the Silver Linings Playbook star not coming back. After years of hearsay, Tucker opened up to the Flix Talk podcast about what led to him passing on Next Friday, saying:
Given Smokey’s status as a certified stoner, the Fifth Element star didn’t seem comfortable being the face of stoner culture. It’s a heavy burden to be the representative of a movement especially if the character is fictional. Chris Tucker understood how impactful Smokey was on pop culture, and his lines and scenes were amongst the comedy’s most memorable.
Chris Tucker also might’ve been fighting to keep from being typecast. Having that stigma attached to him could’ve kept him from gaining other roles. Unfortunately, in Hollywood, a breakout role can be a ticket to superstardom but can also pigeonhole the performer. At that point, Friday was his Tucker's third film. He wanted the chance to show Hollywood his range as an actor.
In retrospect, Chris Tucker was correct in his approach. From 1995 to 1997, he starred in a wide range of films, including Dead Presidents, The Fifth Element, Jackie Brown and the first Rush Hour. While playing Smokey helped launch Tucker’s film career, he wanted to be more than a drug-dealing stoner.
In recent years, Chris Tucker’s film appearances have been sporadic as he concentrated more on his stand-up comedy career. The last film he appeared in was 2016’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. Hopefully Tucker will return to the big screen someday. Just don’t expect him to reprise the fan-favorite character in any Friday sequels. Of course, he wasn't the first star to back away to the franchise.
If you want to see Chris Tucker in his breakout role, you can check out Friday on HBO Max.
A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).
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