Chris Tucker has been one of the most popular, highest paid comedians in Hollywood for the last decade — but he’s only made three films.
After the massive success of 1998′s Rush Hour, his breakout action-comedy hit alongside Jackie Chan, Tucker had his pick of any number of major film roles. But instead he chose to lay low, pal around with Michael Jackson, and get paid $2o million-plus to star in two Rush Hour sequels.
Outside of his recurring Detective James Carter role, Tucker’s most memorable performance was arguably his dumbstruck look on live television following Kanye West’s “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” In recent years he’s made headlines mostly for his tax troubles and the plethora of roles he missed out on, including lead parts in Any Given Sunday, The Pink Panther, Tower Heist and Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Django Unchained.
But now Tucker seems poised for a much-deserved comeback, with a supporting role in the Oscar-worthynew film Silver Linings Playbook, which opens in select cities this weekend. Film critics and fans have been constantly asking: ‘What took you so long?’ “The break wasn’t planned—it just happened that way,” said Tucker in an interview with the Daily Beast. “I waited a long time and the right things were not coming to me—the roles I was offered were not that challenging—so I started trying to develop a bunch of projects for myself.”
It appears that Tucker has chosen wisely, his part in Silver Linings Playbook, his first in five years, is earning some of the best reviews of his career. For instance, Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times called him “irresistible” and the Wall Street Journal‘s review says he’s “memorably funny” in the movie.
What’s next for Chris Tucker? Believe it or not, he hasn’t ruled out a Rush Hour 4. But he’s also looking to keep stretching as an actor. Tucker recently said in an interview with The Guardian, “I would love to do more serious movies. Because people haven’t seen me do a lot of that.”