In 1995, Chris Tucker starred alongside Ice Cube in the classic film, “Friday.”
The actor and comedian playing Smokey is one of his most widely known roles. However, he wasn’t a part of the film’s sequel, “Next Friday,” which was released five years after.
Ice Cube has come forward to clear the air as to why Tucker didn’t return to the big screen as Smokey.
Following the success of the first installment of the “Friday” series, Tucker was asked to reprise his role, but he chose not to.
With the missing comedic presence of Tucker in “Next Friday,” Ice Cube and his production company, CubeVision, brought on Mike Epps to play the humorous Day-Day.
During an interview with the “Full Send” podcast, the West Coast rap legend revealed how much Tucker passed up on, as well as the reasoning behind it.
“You’ll hear 1,000 different stories but we wanted to pay him $12 million to do that movie and he turned it down,” Ice Cube shared.
“He said it was for religious reasons,” he continued. “He didn’t wanna cuss and he didn’t wanna smoke weed on camera.”
Although Ice Cube recognized Tucker’s impact on “Friday,” he admitted that he’s content with how everything ultimately worked out.
“But I’m glad he didn’t do it ‘cause we wouldn’t have Mike,” he said. “Mike, to me, is funnier.”
The turn of events worked out in both comedians’ favor. While Epps had his breakout movie role, Tucker starred in “Rush Hour 2,” which was released a year after “Next Friday” and grossed over $300 million worldwide, according to IMDb.
Integrity seems to be a core belief for Tucker.
He recalled once stepping away from Hollywood despite being the highest-paid actor at the time because he wanted to focus on providing humanitarian aid.
Tap into Tucker’s full explanation here.
In 2023, Tucker returned to the big screen as Howard White in Ben Affleck’s “Air,” a movie about Michael Jordan’s monumental partnership with Nike.