Ice Cube Responds To Claims Of Underpaying Friday Actors

It has been nearly 27 years since Friday premiered in theaters. However, the film continues to earn its place among the Comedy classics and make waves in other ways. In recent weeks, some of Cube’s costars and collaborators on the 1995 film expressed reasons why they left the franchise, which had two sequels, and a planned book-ending fourth film.

After small roles in Meteor Man, Fear Of A Black Hat, and Bébé’s Kids, Faizon Love broke out as the threat-making drug dealer “Big Worm” in Friday. The role in the film propelled him to more work over the next quarter century. In speaking with Comedy Hype earlier this month, he looked back at Friday. “It wasn’t about the money then,” Love said, adding that he is not bitter for making $2,500 for a film that reportedly grossed over $27 million. However, Love did confirm that low rates were the reason he turned down a role in 2000’s Next Friday.“They wanted to give me double scale. So scale was $2,500, right? So double scale was $5,000,” The actor stands by his decision. “The day after I said ‘No,’ I got a call to do a film for Warner Brothers called [The] Replacements, and they paid me $100,000. So I ain’t crazy.”

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Notably, Faizon worked with Ice Cube on 1998’s The Players Club. He reunited with Cube’s Friday co-writer, DJ Pooh, on 2017’s Grow House. Love also pointed to great paying jobs on television, including The Parent ‘Hood. Faizon says he is open to more work with Cube, and calls Pooh a brother. “If Cube said, ‘Faizon, there’s no money; I need you to do this,’ I would have to do it on GP. Because it was that character really brought me into the game heavy.”

Within 10 days of the interview being published, Ice Cube has responded after some social media users tagged him in the clip. “I didn’t rob no-f*ckin’-body,” Cube tweeted. “The 1995 Friday movie cost $2.3 [million] to make. Shot it in 20 days. Fazion worked one day, maybe two. All the actors got paid scale to do the movie. They could’ve simple said ‘No,’ but they didn’t. So miss me with that sh*t…”

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Cube also went on to deny claims that Next Friday‘s low pay rates disrupted the franchise. After another social media user compared Faizon’s (and other actors’) claims to co-star Chris Tucker, Cube refuted the notions. “We were ready to pay Chris Tucker $10-12 [million] to do Next Friday but he turned us down for religious reasons. He didn’t want to cuss or smoke weed on camera anymore,” wrote Cube. Chris Tucker’s appearances in the franchise have been discussed throughout the years. The actor left after the debut, which was a breakout role for the standup comedian.

Following Cube’s tweets, Faizon Love posted a photo of the pair. He then condemned headlines for spinning his remarks earlier in the month. “First of all, I not only consider Ice Cube a comrade, but my brother. And I’m still a fan I think he’s one of the dopest ni**as to ever touch a mic,” he wrote. “I guess it’s a slow news week so let me say what I got paid is a moot point, it was the price of admission to a game.”

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Last month, Chris Tucker publicly addressed his departure from the Friday franchise while speaking with All Urban Central. “Back then, I gotta tell you, one of the reasons why I didn’t do the second one was because of the weed,” said the comedian-actor. “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.’” Tucker did not specify his other motivations for saying no. “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.”

Ahead of his 2019 death, it was co-star John Witherspoon who broke some of the news surrounding the pay rates of Friday. “[Friday cost] $2 million [to make]; we got paid $5,000 a piece to do that movie,” ‘Spoon told Vlad TV in 2018. New Line Cinema put up the money, after producer/creator Ice Cube initially made the offer for the 20-day shoot. “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 bullsh*t—that don’t happen in Hollywood.” While Witherspoon was upset at the business, he confirmed an appearance in Last Friday, the fourth film in the franchise.

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Witherspoon added that the $5,000 checks were the standard scale rate for a cast that also included Nia Long, Bernie Mac, A.J. Johnson, Tiny Lister, Jr., Regina King, and Chris Tucker. He did allude to Faizon Love as well. “Five grand. Everybody else on the show, they’re gonna say they made more money, ain’t nobody make no money on that movie. Five thousand.” In that interview, Witherspoon acknowledged Chris Tucker’s moral reasoning for his exit, but clarified that money mattered most. “[Chris Tucker was] with Jackie Chan doing Rush Hour, making $20 million. I wouldn’t go back to Friday either. It’s all about money.” John said he was aware that Chris was offered much more for Next Friday, but suggested it was well short of his other deals. “Plus, he got religious [and the church council did not want to glorify] 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. [So now he can] go back. [But] he got another job with Jackie Chan again,” referring to the confirmed Rush Hour 4 news.

Following John Witherspoon’s death, Ice Cube blamed New Line Cinema for failing to get Last Friday made ahead of the loss. In September, Friday actor A.J. Johnson died at the age of 55. One of Cube’s former Lench Mob Records artists, Kausion member Gonzoe, was fatally shot in July.

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#BonusBeat: In 2020, Ambrosia For HeadsWhat’s The Headline podcast examined Ice Cube’s work with the Trump Administration: