Chris Tucker Says He Was Only Paid $10,000 For Masterful Performance In ‘Friday’ Movie
Without Chris Tucker, “Friday” may not have become a classic franchise that still influences Black culture and lingo to this day. Though Tucker only appeared in the first “Friday” film, his character, Smokey, is still one of the film’s most beloved characters. After all, he is the man who popularized the catchphrase, “Damn, you got knocked the f**k out” like only he could.
Even though the Friday sequels were all wildly successful, Tucker’s presence from the films was definitely missed. In 2018, John Witherspoon said he and Tucker were paid $5,000 each for the film. He added Tucker left the franchise because he was offered $20 million to make “Rush Hour” alongside Jackie Chan.
In an interview with Shannon Sharpe on his “Club Shay, Shay” series on Jan. 27, Tucker revealed he was actually paid $10,000 for his role in Friday. Still a small amount for a movie that grossed over $300 million and became a cult classic.
“That’s one of those things; it was just a small movie. We filmed it in 20 days and I get but about $10,000 for it or whatever. I didn’t care. I wanted the opportunity,” Tucker told Sharpe.
Tucker added the movie’s entire budget was $2 or $3 million and actors were only permitted two takes for scenes or run the risk of their roles getting cut.
“It was that small of a movie, but that was the beauty of it because it allowed me to get into character,” Tucker said. “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 Cube on the porch. Magic came out of it, thank God.”
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Tucker also reminisced on spending time with Faizon Love, who played Big Worm in the movie.
“The beauty about the scene with me and Big Worm, with Fasion Love, We were best friends so we clowned around all day, every day,” Tucker said. “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.’” Tucker also touched on Bernie Mac: “And Bernie Mac, of course, he’s one of my heroes. I was fanning him. So everybody I had a connection with … every time I was with them I was excited and it was just easy to do.
Tucker summed up his experience filming Friday and its subsequent success with one line.
“Sometimes when God bless you man, He bless you more than what you can even dream,” Tucker said.