Rapper Ice Cube has revealed that actor Chris Tucker, his co-star in the popular 1995 film “Friday,” didn’t appear in the sequels because of his Christian faith, turning down a $10 million to $12 million offer to portray a character known for cussing and smoking marijuana.
Ice Cube shared the information on social media after being asked if Tucker quit because the comedy actor, who portrayed the character “Smokey” in “Friday,” was underpaid.
“We were ready to pay Chris Tucker $10-12m to do ‘Next Friday’ but he turned us down for religious reasons,” he tweeted. “He didn’t want to cuss or smoke weed on camera anymore.”
In an interview with All Urban Central last November, Tucker, who is best known for his role in the “Rush Hour” film franchise, had hinted at the reason why he refused to appear in the sequels “Next Friday” and “Friday After Next.”
“Back then, I gotta tell you, one of the reasons why I didn’t do the second one was because of the weed. Because I said, man, that movie became a phenomenon. I don’t want everybody smoking weed — and I never really told people this because I kind of forgot about it, but it was one of the reasons why I didn’t do it. Because I said, ‘I don’t wanna represent everybody smoking weed.’”
He added, “And that’s one of the reasons why I said, ‘Nah.’ I didn’t wanna keep doing that character. It probably was good for me because it kept me moving to the next phase and next movies.”
Tucker has publicly spoken about his Christian faith. In 2018, he told Piers Morgan, who was co-host of ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” at the time, that he prayed for former President Donald Trump.
“I hope he does a good job, because I pray for him. I hope he does a great job, because we need a good president,” he said. “We need a lot of things to happen in our country, America. So I hope tomorrow he wakes up and just does the right thing.”
Tucker also explained why he didn’t make fun of Trump.
“I say a little bit of stuff, but I try and encourage him to do the right thing,” he said. “I’m not a comedian that dogs people out. I want you to do that right thing. Hopefully, we can be friends one day and we can talk. I want him to be successful. I want him to do that right thing. That’s my whole attitude and, in my show, that’s what I talk about.”
In 2014, Tucker told the Canadian newspaper Straight that he returned to stand-up comedy because of his faith.
“Being a Christian helps me in comedy,” he said. “I have to talk about other stuff. Normally, most comics talk about stuff that’s easy — maybe cussing or saying something raunchy. I have to dig deeper to find something that’s still funny and not raunchy. It’s harder. I like the challenge.”
Tucker was raised Pentecostal and regularly attended church, according to FaithWire, which says the actor abandoned his faith after becoming famous but later became a born-again Christian after moving back to Atlanta in the late 1990s.