Chris Tucker’s latest hiatus appears to be coming to an end.
The motor-mouthed comic, who last appeared on the big screen in 2007’s “Rush Hour 3,” is in talks to join David O. Russell’s “The Silver Linings Playbook” at the same time he’s circling a key role in 20th Century Fox’s comedy “Neighborhood Watch.”
Prone to long stretches of inactivity, Tucker has made only three movies since 1998, all in the “Rush Hour” franchise. The last of these came after a break that dragged on for six years, in part because Tucker was in no hurry to make the film.
Late last year, Tucker was attached to Warner Bros. heist pic “The Rabbit,” a project the studio is still developing; and earlier this year he was considered for a lead role in Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” but the part went to Jamie Foxx.
“The Silver Linings Playbook” stars Bradley Cooper as a former high school teacher who’s institutionalized for depression and then released into the care of his mother. He tries to win back his ex-wife but becomes involved with an eccentric neighbor with problems of her own. Jennifer Lawrence is set to play the neighbor, while Robert De Niro will play Cooper’s father.
Tucker will play Cooper’s spirited friend who lives in a mental hospital. He escapes on several occasions to visit the troubled protag, as the duo have a special understanding of each other.
The Weinstein Co. is behind Russell’s adaptation of Matthew Quick’s novel, and Harvey Weinstein will produce. TWC had no comment on Tucker’s casting.
As for “Neighborhood Watch,” Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill are set to star in the Akiva Schaffer-directed laffer, which follows a group of suburban neighbors whose Neighborhood Watch is really a front for them to escape their families — until they discover a plot to destroy the world. Tucker is being eyed for the role of Jamarcus, who is recently divorced.
Shawn Levy is producing through his 21 Laps banner. Jared Stern wrote the original script, which Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg subsequently rewrote.
Tucker broke out playing Smokey alongside Russell’s “Three Kings” star Ice Cube in the 1995 New Line comedy “Friday.” He stayed in demand through the mid-to-late ’90s, working with a diverse group of helmers including Quentin Tarantino (“Jackie Brown”), Luc Besson (“The Fifth Element”), Brett Ratner (“Money Talks”) and the Hughes brothers (“Dead Presidents”). It wasn’t until Ratner cast Tucker opposite Jackie Chan in 1998’s “Rush Hour” that the actor hit the bigtime, however, landing $20 million and $25 million paychecks for the pic’s two sequels. Overall, the “Rush Hour” trilogy grossed more than $850 million worldwide.
This year, Tucker has been on a standup tour that started in July and runs through November. At a stop in Mountain View, Calif., last month, Tucker told the New York Times that his time off the bigscreen has more to do with the roles offered him and that he doesn’t feel like he’s been on a hiatus “until people say, ‘Hey, where you been?’ I’ll be like: ‘I’ve been here. I’ve been living.'”
Tucker is repped by WME.