Martin Lawrence Reveals He Turned Down Role in Rush Hour with Jackie Chan

Martin Lawrence reveals he turned down Jackie Chan’s Rush Hour offer due to insufficient pay

Martin Lawrence reveals he turned down Jackie Chan's Rush Hour offer due to insufficient pay.
Martin Lawrence and Jackie Chan

Martin Lawrence recently shared a surprising piece of Hollywood history: he turned down a major role in the blockbuster film Rush Hour.

The actor, known for his roles in the Bad Boys franchise, revealed this tidbit during an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Lawrence, 59, was on the show alongside his Bad Boys: Ride or Die co-star Will Smith, 55, when he disclosed that Jackie Chan had approached him to co-star in Rush Hour before Chris Tucker landed the role.

During a segment of the show called The Tonight Show’s true confessions game, Lawrence admitted, “Jackie Chan asked me to star in Rush Hour with him, but I turned it down.”

This revelation prompted an enthusiastic reaction from Smith and Fallon, both of whom were eager to learn more about the circumstances.

Smith, known for his humor and quick wit, responded with, “Jackie Chan likes Black people,” as he and Fallon, 49, tried to piece together the story. Lawrence explained that the conversation happened during an in-person meeting and over dinner with Chan. 

When asked why he declined the offer, Lawrence simply stated, “Wasn’t enough money.” He confirmed the truth of the story shortly after, explaining that he was ultimately happy for Chris Tucker and Chan.

“I was happy for Chris, that’s what it was supposed to be,” Lawrence said, indicating no regrets about his decision even though Rush Hour became a massive hit. “Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan, and they brought a beautiful franchise with Rush Hour.”

Released in 1998, Rush Hour starred Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker as two mismatched police officers tasked with rescuing a kidnapped Chinese diplomat’s daughter in Los Angeles.

The film became the ninth highest-grossing movie of that year in the domestic box office and spawned two sequels in 2001 and 2007, cementing its place as a beloved action-comedy franchise.

Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan in 1998's Rush Hour. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, BOB MARSHAK/NEW LINE/ROGER BIRNBAUM/KOBAL/SHUTTERSTOCK)
Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan in 1998’s Rush Hour. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, BOB MARSHAK/NEW LINE/ROGER BIRNBAUM/KOBAL/SHUTTERSTOCK)

Chan, now 70, hinted in December 2022 at a potential fourth installment in the Rush Hour series. “We’re talking about part four right now,” he said at a film festival in Saudi Arabia, according to Deadline.

Meanwhile, Lawrence is busy with his own successful franchise. He is set to return to the big screen with Will Smith in Bad Boys: Ride or Die, the fourth film in the Bad Boys series.

The movie follows detectives Marcus Bennett (Lawrence) and Mike Lowrey (Smith) as they return to Miami. Directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, the film also features Alexander Ludwig, Vanessa Hudgens, Eric Dane, Tasha Smith, Ioan Gruffudd, Paola Nuñez, Jacob Scipio, Melanie Liburd, and Tiffany Haddish.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die is a sequel to 2020’s Bad Boys for Life, which saw Lawrence and Smith reprising their roles after a long hiatus. The franchise, known for its blend of action and humor, first hit theaters in 1995, with a sequel in 2003.

The chemistry between Lawrence and Smith has been a significant factor in the series’ success, drawing audiences with their dynamic performances and comedic timing.

Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan in 2001's Rush Hour 2. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, PETER SOREL/NEW LINE CINEMA/THA/SHUTTERSTOCK)
Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan in 2001’s Rush Hour 2. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, PETER SOREL/NEW LINE CINEMA/THA/SHUTTERSTOCK)

Reflecting on his decision to pass on Rush Hour, Lawrence expressed no bitterness. Instead, he acknowledged that the film found the right team with Tucker and Chan, and he is content with how things turned out. This sentiment highlights Lawrence’s positive outlook and appreciation for the paths his career has taken.

As fans eagerly anticipate the release of Bad Boys: Ride or Die on June 7, Lawrence’s revelation adds an interesting layer to Hollywood lore. It underscores the unpredictability of the film industry and how career decisions can shape the landscape of popular culture.

In a world where blockbuster franchises dominate, the story of Lawrence turning down Rush Hour serves as a reminder of the choices actors face and how those choices can lead to different, yet successful, outcomes.

Lawrence’s career, marked by iconic roles and memorable performances, continues to thrive, and his latest project promises to deliver the action and comedy fans have come to love.

With the release of the new Bad Boys film just around the corner, both Lawrence and Smith are set to once again capture the hearts of audiences worldwide, proving that sometimes, everything works out just as it should.

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