Chewing the fat with Chris about everything from Jackie Chan to Kanye West
Born in Atlanta, Georgia on August 31, 1972, Chris Tucker has come a long way since his days doing stand-up on Def Comedy Jam. Starring in box office smashes that include the #1 grossing comedy Rush Hour 2, as well as Friday, Dead Presidents, Money Talks and the original Rush Hour (which grossed $250 million worldwide), he has clearly proven himself to be one of Hollywood's hottest talents. Born in Atlanta, Georgia on August 31, 1972, Chris Tucker has come a long way since his days doing stand-up on Def Comedy Jam. Starring in box office smashes that include the #1 grossing comedy Rush Hour 2, as well as Friday, Dead Presidents, Money Talks and the original Rush Hour (which grossed $250 million worldwide), he has clearly proven himself to be one of Hollywood's hottest talents. Tucker entertains audiences the world over with his motor-mouthed brand of humor and animated facial expressions which always leave a lasting impression.
During his downtime, Chris traveled to Africa with U2's Bono and Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill on a fact-finding tour to help countries plagued with AIDS, hunger, and unsanitary living conditions. Deeply-affected by the conditions he discovered, Tucker has since returned to the region regularly on humanitarian missions, also functioning as a people's diplomat, raising cash and awareness to help deal with the crises.
As a consequence, he's been so busy he hasn't made a movie in a half-dozen years. Here, he chats about Rush Hour 3, his first film since Rush Hour 2.
CT: Hey, Kam.
KW: Chris, thanks so much for the time.
CT: Oh, you're welcome, thank you.
KW: How did it feel being teamed up with Jackie Chan for a third time?
CT: Oh, I loved it, man! I loved it! It was just as much fun, or maybe even more fun as the first one and the second one, 'cause it's such a fun movie to do and being teamed back up with Jackie was great.
KW: How'd you enjoy the Paris locations?
CT: That was great, too, shooting in Europe, man. We did a lot of stuff outdoors… Riding around the streets and drinking wine for lunch… It was great!
KW: Seems like you and Jackie have perfect screen chemistry. You have very different types of talents which complement each other, so you never end up stepping on each other's toes. Did you know that was going to happen the first time you go together?
CT: No, the first time we got together, it was just like you see in the first movie. Jackie didn't speak much English, and I didn't know Chinese at all. I brought that out in Rush Hour 1, like when I screamed, "Do you know the words that are coming out of my mouth?" That's basically what I wanted to say to him the first time I met him. So, no, we didn't know, but the chemistry was perfect. I think that was because it came from a real place. What you see on film is the same friendship and relationship between us you see in real life.
KW: So, was that "Do you know the words that are coming out of my mouth?" line improvised, or was it in the script?
KW: And how many of your lines were improvised in Rush Hour 3?
CT: Oh, a lot of them. A lot of them were written, but I'm always improvising. Once you get into the scene, it just comes to me.
KW: This is your first film in six years. You make fewer films than any other big Hollywood star. Why do you make so few movies?
CT: I don't know. It's never planned. I love to travel, and that takes up most of my time, because I'm doing a lot of foundation work. That's a big part of my life now, and of what I do. But I love making movies, too, so I don't know.
KW: I know that you're getting a record $25 million for this picture, which sets the record for a comedy, plus an additional percentage of the gross. So, you've got great representation which I guess enables you take long breaks for vacations and your charity work.
CT: Yeah, that definitely does give me a lotta' room, so I can travel and not have to worry about a lot of things.
KW: I saw that you were in Philly to introduce Destiny's Child at the Live 8 concert.
CT: Yeah, that cause had to do with raising aw