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Funny man Chris Tucker has a different side

Popular actor and comedian Chris Tucker is making a comeback. However, don’t bet on seeing him play the same roles he did over a decade ago in the memorable and classic comedy, “Friday.” Instead, the Atlanta native hopes to take on more diversified characters as he does in the new film “Silver Linings Playbook,” starring actors including Robert Dinero, Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games) and Bradley Cooper (The Hangover). The popular funny guy, who starred in highly successful movies such as “Rush Hour,” aside actor Jackie Chan, is planning to film his next upcoming stand-up comedy Nov. 9 and Nov. 10 at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre to be released as a movie as well. With all of this in mind, it seems as if Tucker is ready to reclaim his spot in the entertainment industry.

Q: I heard one of your interviews where you said the reason you took a break from starring in films was because you wanted to diversify the roles you’re most known for playing. How important was it for you to return to making films as a different Chris Tucker we’re used to seeing?

A: It was good because I wanted to show people a different side of me, you know? Instead of the [audience] getting used to maybe the “Rush Hour” side because I did three “Rush Hour Movies in a row for several years, but this is good to switch it up and really surprise people, shock people [to] say, ‘oh, he’s doing something different. It’s hard to find roles like that and I was blessed to find a role that I could show that different side of me and also with a great director [in] a great movie with a great cast, so it was a good opportunity for me. It’s a little smaller role of what I usually do but it was important. The character is an important role throughout the movie; he’s a positive figure in the lead character’s life, Bradley Cooper. So that’s the reason why I took it because I knew it was smaller but it was an important role.

Q: What exactly attracted you to the script aside from you wanting to diversify the kind of characters you’re remembered for playing?

A: It was a good script and I enjoyed reading the script and the director…I kind of figured it would be a great cast and that’s pretty much what attracted me to it.

Q: What can audience members expect to hear you joke about?

A: You’ll hear a lot about my life, a lot about me being a father, a lot about stuff I’ve gone through, and a lot about current events [and] what I think about the world…When you come into that theatre, you come into my world. It’s going to be fun.

Q: What’s different about Chris Tucker the actor and comedian, aside from the fact that you’re older?

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A: [I’m] just more experienced. I’ve lived more [than] when people saw me on Def Jam [Comedy]. I’ve experienced more. I think I’ve just learned more in life. My stand up, you know, I think is better because I’ve lived a little bit more and experienced things a little bit more. [I’ve] been through it all: relationships, being a father and all that stuff, so I think people are going to hear, you know, the grown up Chris Tucker this time around.

Q: I heard on the Tom Joyner Morning show that you doubt you’ll reprise your role as Smokey in a future Friday film because you don’t think it’ll be as special. Why is that?

A: I think Friday was a phenomenon or a great movie because of its time. Timing was great for it because before that all you saw was…you know, movies like Boyz in the Hood or Menace to Society; these were just serious movies [about] being in the hood. And then Friday came along and in ’95 and it was a comedy in the hood, so nobody had ever really saw it before. I think we were all in a great place in our careers, I was just coming out of stand-up [comedy] myself, and I was hungry to get into the movies. I think that was a [certain] period in my life; that’s why it hit so well. But now I think it’s like me where I’m at in my career [and] in my life I think it’s bigger and newer things that I could probably do. But I don’t think going back through it, I wouldn’t do it any justice…because I think I’d rather have that live forever because it was just that timing, [the] people – everybody was just so great, [even] the director. So I think it was the time and the timing of it when it came out.

Q: Moving on to Rush Hour, I’ve heard and read on interviews that you’d be willing to reprise your role on another Rush movie alongside Jackie Chan. I hear you guys are really close

A: Yeah, we are. We’re good friends. I just saw him recently and I think it’s [the movie] is action and you always move, even if we do another type of buddy movie, not just [another] Rush Hour. Our chemistry together [is] good, so [I] would make another movie with him.

Q: Okay, so you’d be willing to make another Rush Hour?

A: Yeah, yeah.

Q: How was it working with Jackie Chan?

A: He [was] great. He’s iconic. I was a fan of him before we did the movie so it was exciting so I knew we’d do something special because he had the martial arts [experience] and action on lock down. In comedy, I was just coming up so it’s just…it was a great opportunity for me to show my comedy skills mixed with action and being physical with that, so it was great.

Q: Okay. So let’s talk about your son for a little bit. Has he seen any movies you’ve done?

A: He saw most of them. I think he’s seen all of them but he was in Rush hour 3. He was the little kid in Rush Hour 3 in the little karate scene.

Q: What does he think about Friday for example, because I know he’s older than 14 right now.

A: Yeah, yeah. He’s 14. He likes it. I mean I think he’s at the age now where if he watches a movie he understands it a little bit more and he thinks it’s probably funny. He [saw] daddy looking young and [silly].

Q: Does he want to get into the entertainment business?

A: Yes, I think he does. I think he’s [interested] more [in] behind the scenes…but I think he wants to do it all, definitely. You might be seeing a lot of him.

Q: What have you told him about the entertainment world, or what are you going to tell him?

A: [I] just tell him little notes and stuff but he’s pretty good in how he learns stuff. But over the years [I] probably will tell him to stay focused and work hard and believe in yourself and keep pushing. You can’t plan out these types of careers, you just have to go and do something and keep going to the next thing, and then it just happens.

Q: I read somewhere that your favorite comedian, or one of your favorite comedians, is Richard Pryor. How should audience expect to see you incorporate sort of the Richard Pryor era of comedy into your acts on Friday and Saturday?

A: You’ll see a lot of animation. I’m very animated…I do a lot of characters like Richard. I act out a lot of stuff like Richard so I talk about my life a lot like Richard. So I learned a lot, even from facial expressions. I learned that you have to…be in the moment, and Richard always did that. So he’s definitely the man, the true king of comedy