Ja Rule could have been one of the stars in the long-running “Fast & Furious” film franchise had he not turned down the role in the first sequel. The rapper portrayed a minor character in the first installment and has yet to return.
Ja Rule, who has an estimated net worth of $4 million, has had a series of failures and legal troubles associated with his bad business moves. In the wake of the most recent film, “Fast X” (also known as Fast & Furious 10), observers might say his departure from the “Fast & Furious” franchise was a mistake.
“Fast X” opened May 12, with a weekend box office take of $318 million in global sales. It has grossed over $603 million worldwide, becoming the fifth highest-grossing film of 2023, and has pushed the franchise gross past the the $7 billion mark.
The First ‘Fast’
In 2001, Ja Rule appeared in “The Fast and the Furious,” the debut installment of the franchise. He played Edwin alongside Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, who played Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Conner, respectively.
Edwin was initially a one-off character who challenged Toretto and O’Conner to a race. Edwin wanted to use the race to impress a woman named Monica. When Edwin loses the race Monica rejects his advances and humiliates him in front of a crowd.
For those who remember the humble beginnings of the “Fast & Furious” franchise, it was an over-the-top drag race B-movie that turned into an A-list summer blockbuster.
“The Fast and the Furious” went on to gross more than $207 million worldwide, which is a mega box office hit, considering the first film cost $38 million to make.
Ja Rule, who played a small role, was paid $15,000, according to the late John Singleton, who directed the sequel “2 Fast 2 Furious,” a 2003 release.
It was during negotiations for the sequel, “2 Fast 2 Furious,” that Diesel and Ja Rule walked away from the project, giving more focus to Walker, who became the heart of the film series until his death in 2013.
Diesel reportedly wanted $30 million for the sequel, which Universal Pictures refused to give him. Ja Rule, however, didn’t want to reprise his role as Edwin and ignored Singleton’s calls even though his salary saw a huge bump up.
“Ja got too big for himself. He turned it down. He turned down a half a million dollars,” Singleton said in an interview. “He got 15 grand to be in the first movie. 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 sh-t?’”
As Finurah previously reported, Ja Rule’s second and third albums, “Rule 3:36” and “Pain is Love,” were released on Oct. 10, 2000, and Oct. 2, 2001, respectively, and were hugely successful. His songs reached #1 on the Billboard 200 chart with hit singles like “I’m Real (Murder Remix)” featuring Jennifer Lopez and “Always on Time” featuring Ashanti.
Ja Rule later admitted he turned down the “Fast & Furious” opportunity.
“Me and Vin talked after he turned it down,” Ja Rule told MTV in 2002. “He hollered at me ’cause they still wanted me to do the film and they bumped up my role as a starring role and everything. And you know, we talked about it. I just felt it wasn’t the best move for me as far as what I want to do in Hollywood right now.”
He continued, “I’m really trying to do this acting thing very seriously. And you know, sometimes every move is not the right move.”
“2 Fast 2 Furious” cost $76 million to make, with the film grossing more than $236 million worldwide.