Chris Tucker explains why Prince turned down his role in ‘The Fifth Element’

Chris Tucker has revealed why Prince turned down the eccentric role of Ruby Rhod in the film The Fifth Element.

During his appearance on The View, Tucker shared the pop icon’s reason for rejecting the role in the 1997 Luc Besson-directed sci-fi film. The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg mentioned the film was one of her favorites and praised the actor for his performance. Tucker then revealed that Besson had told him that the role was originally for Prince.

The American actor and comedian then recalled the moment in which Prince’s security approached him at a club in Los Angeles, claiming that the pop icon wanted to meet the person who got the role.


“He said, ‘You played that part in Fifth Element. I was supposed to play that part,’” Tucker shared. “I said, ‘For real?’ He said, ‘Well, I didn’t like the costumes. I didn’t like those.’ And I looked at him and I said, ‘But you got your butt hanging out your pants!’ He said, ‘But this is my design, my design.’”

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The role ended up catapulting Tucker to success. The following year, the actor starred in Rush Hour, alongside Jackie Chan.

French designer Jean Paul Gaultier, who created the film’s iconic costumes, also shared his experience with meeting Prince in 2016. According to Consequence, during his exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, Gaultier revealed: “I showed Prince my drawings, but he didn’t say a word.”

He continued: “I had had an idea for a really funny costume with netting which quite long body hair would pass through, and I had done front and back versions of it. […] I slapped my buttocks to show him how the back of the costume would be designed.” Prince reacted to this by giving him a “Charlie Chaplin kind of look.”

1997 Bruce Willis stars in the new movie The Fifth Element Credit: GETTY
1997 Bruce Willis stars in the new movie The Fifth Element Credit: GETTY

Besson has previously shared that another reason why Prince turned down the role was because his hectic touring schedule clashed with shooting.

In other news, Tucker has said that he will be in the upcoming fourth film in the Rush Hour franchise.

Speaking about his upcoming work, the actor shared: “I’m excited about that. It’s not going to be what you’ve normally seen… Rush Hour 4, that’s something I definitely will probably drop in there because I love working with Jackie, but I’ve got some new stuff that I think you’re really gonna like. I’m excited about it.”