Despite ‘Friday’s’ status as a cult classic, it wasn’t a huge moneymaker for Chris Tucker, who played the character Smokey.
Friday fans still imitate Chris Tucker’s hilarious portrayal of Smokey, but many will be surprised by how much money he actually made from the role. Speaking with Shannon Sharpe on “Club Shay Shay,” Tucker revealed that although the cult classic has been praised as comedy gold for years, it wasn’t exactly a cash cow for those who signed onto the project.
“It’s one of those things… it was just a small movie,” Tucker said. “We filmed it in 20 days. I got about $10,000 for it or whatever; I didn’t care. I wanted the opportunity.”
While Sharpe was shocked that Tucker earned so little from the role, Tucker explained that the film’s whole budget was only $2 to $3 million.
“It was either $2 million or $3 million to do,” he said. “I know we had 20 days [to film it] because they kept reminding me every day.”
Tucker added that the production team also kept costs low by only giving actors two takes; meaning Tucker had to get his lines exactly right in just two tries or they would cut it from the script.
“It was that small of a movie, but that was the beauty of it,” he added. “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 reminisced about working with his “best friend” Faizon Love, who played Big Worm.
“The beauty about the scene with me and Big Worm, me and Faizon Love, was we were best friends,” he said. “So, we clowned around all day every day, going to comedy clubs at night. So, it was really easy to work with him… because we were friends.”
Tucker also called Bernie Mac, who played Pastor Clever, one of his “heroes” and described what it was like working with the beloved John Witherspoon and Ice Cube.
“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,” he said.
Tucker added that at the time of filming, he had no idea that Friday would blow up to be the comedy classic that it’s now revered as.
“Sometimes when God bless you, man, he bless you more than you can even dream and that was one of those things,” he said.
See Tucker’s full interview with Sharpe below.
As many times that ‘Friday’ has been played, surely Chris Tucker has made that ten times over in residuals.