As he basks in the box office success of Furious 7 (based on screenings, the film has already raked in a record-breaking $60 million internationally), Ludacris is internally thanking Ja Rule right about now.
In the debut movie, The Fast And The Furious (2001), we saw Ja Rule as Edwin, the street racer with a smart mouth and a missed opp at a ménage à trois with a sideline spectator named Monica. His role here was brief, but Ja was supposed to be tapped for the second installment of the series. Director John Singleton wanted to reprise Edwin’s role and develop his character for 2 Fast 2 Furious, but Ja Rule declined the offer. Grantland spoke to Singleton about what exactly happened with Ja Rule’s decision.
“Ja got too big for himself. He turned it down. He turned down a half a million dollars,” Singleton said. “He was really big at that time. I guess Murder Inc. was throwing out hits and were making money hand over foot. He was acting like he was too big to be in the sequel. He wouldn’t return calls. I went to the studio to go see him — that’s just my mantra, I deal with a lot of music people. He was kinda playing me to the side and I was like, ‘What? What is this shit?’”
It wasn’t all bad, though. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, because the vacancy allowed Ludacris to step in and become a series staple.
“I called Ludacris,” he said. “I said, ‘Hey, Luda, I haven’t met you before, but I like what you’re doing right now.’ Luda was all humble, excited to meet me. I said, ‘I’m doing this movie and I’m wondering if you want to be a part of it.’ He goes, ‘What? Yeah! Anything you do I want to be a part of.’ That’s how Ludacris got in 2 Fast 2 Furious, and the rest is history.”
That sucks. Ja might have missed out on a huge opportunities, but it’s all love between him and Singleton.
“Years later I saw Ja Rule at the Source Awards and we joked about it,” he said. “I took him under my arm and said, ‘Man, when I call you, you listen. I ain’t calling you for no bullshit.’ He said, ‘Yeah, man, I’m sorry about that.’ He apologized. I love Ja. I still think Ja has a lot of personality and can come back in a different way.”
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