Chris Tucker hasn't made a movie since he reprised the character of Detective James Carter in "Rush Hour 3" in 2007. But don't ask him why.
When Gatecrasher attempted to talk to the 32-year-old comic actor about his career at the Apollo Theater's 2010 Spring Concert and Awards ceremony Monday night, Tucker headed for the exits faster than a Ferrari in an HOV lane.
Although a recent Gawker post reported that Tucker and "Inglourious Basterds" director Quentin Tarantino are talking about two projects - a film using Tucker's standup comedy routine and a "soldier" film - the Internet Movie Database does not have the actor starring in any upcoming projects.
Speculation about Tucker's almost three-year idle period tends to focus on a handful of factors. One is that Tucker, who made $25 million on "Rush Hour 3," is, as one movie industry insider put it, trying to "protect his quote." That's his asking price to star in a film, which can't be easy to justify, given that star salaries are trending downward in today's brutal moviemaking economy and that "Rush Hour 3" grosses were disappointing.
Another rumor is that Tucker is fiercely loyal to director Brett Ratner, who made Tucker a star with the "Rush Hour" series. Another industry source points out that Tucker, given his last payday, doesn't really have to work and prefers to devote much time to charity (including his Chris Tucker Foundation). The source points out that unlike a lot of celebrities, Tucker rarely publicizes his good deeds.
Apparently he also doesn't like to explain himself to the press. When Gatecrasher asked him at the Apollo about his loyalty to Ratner, he shot us a deadly look and didn't answer.
Tucker was more talkative about Michael Jackson, whom he helped induct into the Apollo's Legends Hall of Fame (Aretha Franklin was also honored). Spending time with "my good friend" Jackson "was like hanging out with a modern-day king," Tucker told the crowd, adding that whenever he saw anything of Michael's he liked, Jackson would gift it to him, including a 46-inch flat-screen TV. With friends like that, who has to work?