Despite the immeasurable success Friday chalked up following its release, one of the main actors in the 1995 comedy film, Chris Tucker, revealed he did not really make that much for playing his beloved Smokey character.
During a recent interview with Shannon Sharpe on his Club Shay Shay podcast, the 49-year-old said he only received $10,000 for his role in the popular movie. He, however, said he wasn’t too concerned about the money as he was looking at the bigger picture.
“It’s one of those things… it was just a small movie,” he said. “We filmed it in 20 days. I got about $10,000 for it or whatever; I didn’t care. I wanted the opportunity.”
The Rush Hour star then explained that the entire budget for the movie was tight and they had a deadline to meet. “It was either $2 million or $3 million to do,” he revealed. “I know we had 20 days [to finish shooting] because they kept reminding me every day.”
He also said that restricted the actors on set to having just two takes per scene, meaning there was little room for error and not getting your lines right after a second try meant your part was going to be cut.
“It was that small of a movie, but that was the beauty of it,” he continued. “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 [Ice] Cube on the porch. Magic came out of it, thank God.”
Tucker also candidly reflected on his relationship with fellow actor Faizon Love during production, saying they fooled around the entire time. Love played Big Worm in the movie.
“We were best friends. We clowned around all day, every day,” he recalled. “It was so easy to work with him, but we were laughing a lot. Faizon would laugh all the time because he looking at me like, ‘Look at him trying to be serious.’”
He also paid tribute to Bernie Mac (played character of Pastor Clever in the movie), referring to him as one of his heroes. “I was fanning him,” he said.
On working with Ice Cube and John Witherspoon on set, Tucker said: “Watching John Witherspoon and growing up with Cube’s music… every time I was with them I was excited and it was just easy to do.”
Released in 1995, the movie, which was followed with two sequels in 2000 and 2002 respectively, propelled Tucker into stardom. At the start of the interview, the actor admitted he never expected the movie to eventually become a Black cult classic.
“Sometimes when God bless you, man, he bless you more than you can even dream and that was one of those things,” he said.