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Late Actor John Witherspoon Claims Every Actor In Friday Was Only Paid $5K, Says Chris Tucker Didn’t Return Because Career Took Off

The fate of the Friday movie franchise has been a topic of discussion for years. Ever since the last installment “Friday After Next” hit theaters in 2002, fans have been wondering what would occur in another adventure for “Craig”, “Day-Day”, played by Ice Cube and Mike Epps, respectfully, and prayerfully “Smokey” who was in the original and played by Chris Tucker. Sadly, over the years a few members of the film’s cast have passed away, leaving fans to wonder what the future of the franchise would be. Some fans have felt that the “Last Friday” film should not happen unless Chris Tucker is involved. According to a recent conversation that Ice Cube had, there was an iteration of the script where “Smokey” would have been involved, but if the business is anything like the first film’s, none of the original cast could potentially return.

Talks of a fourth and final installment of the film’s franchise, Last Friday, have been going on for years and were confirmed in a 2017 interview by the late actor John Witherspoon, who played the role of “Willie Jones”. The script had reached completion according to Ice Cub., However, although the original hope and plan was for the film to arrive in time for the franchise’s 25th anniversary, the deaths of both John Witherspoon in 2019 and Tommy Lister, Jr (the actor who portrayed “Deebo”) in 2020 left the film’s status unknown to many.

Ice Cube had a recent sit down with podcaster Kevin Smith on his SModcast where he shared that although he owns the franchise with the film studio New Line Cinemas, they have the rights as to whether or not it is released or green-lit. In the same conversation, Cube shared summaries for two potential plots he developed for the film’s script.

“One they just wouldn’t do because it was before cannabis was legal,” the rapper/actor explained of the first script. “Craig and Day Day had a dispensary and they had a flash mob in there who stole all the s**t, and we ended up f*****g up some kids and going to jail. In jail, we see all the [MFs] we put there … So our whole thing was trying to survive in jail with all these [MFs] locked in with us. Then we get sent to a rehab run by Smokey and it’s a f****n’ scam. They back there smoking all the dope they find on people.”

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Cube shared that the studio felt as though the story was “not really funny”, which he says made him redo the script. The second one, he says, was “perfect” and included a “love story”, but they claimed to not understand that angle either. “For whatever reason, they were like, ‘Well the love story part, I don’t really understand.’ I was like, ‘What the f**k?’” he stated. “That s**t is so minute in this whole story. It’s so small. What are you holding up a whole franchise for?”

With that reveal that Chris Tucker’s character could potentially be involved in the film, the question remains if it does come to fruition, will Tucker return? Fans have missed his character’s presence in the film and have asked the question for years. According to an older interview with Vlad TV, actor John Witherspoon gave some behind-the-scenes insight on many of the actor’s experiences on set, including the salary they received for their work.

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“We got paid $5,000 apiece to do that movie,” said Witherspoon. “The movie grossed $300 million! And they’re not gonna come back and say, ‘Look, we made a lot of money [and we are] gonna give y’all a bonus.’ That’s some [BS]. That don’t happen in Hollywood.” The film’s budget was $2 million to produce.

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Witherspoon also touched on what he felt were Chris Tucker’s reasons for not returning for another installment. “He [was] with Jackie Chan doing Rush Hour, making $20 million. I wouldn’t go back to Friday either,” the actor shared. “It’s all about money… He would’ve gotten more [had he come back for the sequel], but it wasn’t no $20 million. If I could’ve gotten a three-picture deal for $20 million each, I would’ve been right there with him.”

Speaking on the religious reasons that Tucker would also choose not to return, he says, “plus, he got religious, and they said if they don’t smoke weed, they don’t want kids smokin’ weed…the preachers got to him and said, ‘you can’t be in a movie where they smokin’ weed and stuff.’ Now weed is legal. Now he wanna go back.”

After years of silence, Chris Tucker finally came forward with his reasons for not returning to the film. While speaking to Shannon Sharpe on his Club Shay Shay podcast, he revealed that he simply did not want to do the same thing twice in his career. “I wanted to move on because when I did something, I never wanted to do it again,” Tucker stated. “Back then, I was all about going to the next level. I had a good sense of like, ‘OK, now it’s time to go do an action movie.’”

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He added, “So when they asked me to do a Friday, I was like, ‘Nah, I wanna go do something else. We done did that… I was thinking about my career, saying, ‘Nah I wanna go do Money Talks or something.’ Let me do my own movie.’ It was about going to the next level. They couldn’t believe I didn’t want to do another one, but I was right when I think back on it. I was like, ‘It’s time to do something new. We did that.’ I did everything I could do, and I was prepared [to move on]. And I’m satisfied with it.”

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Tucker also revealed that he got paid $10k to film his role, however, he appreciated the experience. “It’s one of those things —it was just a small movie. We filmed it in 20 days. I got about $10,000 for it or whatever, I didn’t care. I wanted the opportunity.”

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