In 2001, Ja Rule made an appearance in “The Fast and The Furious” franchise after he was signed by Murder Inc. The movie reportedly made $40 million in its June 2001 opening weekend and went on to gross over $144 million domestic, against a $38 million production budget.
Directors hoped that Ja Rule, who played street racer Edwin and reportedly made $15,000, would return for the sequel — 2 Fast 2 Furious — but he declined the opportunity to reprise his role. By dropping out of the film, he ultimately declined the $500,000 offer that was made to him to feature in the movie. This was made known by John Singleton, director of 2 Fast 2 Furious, in 2015.
“Ja got too big for himself. He turned it down. He turned down a half a million dollars,” Singleton said, according to Grantland. “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–?’ This was all initiated by me.”
On his part, Ja Rule said he stepped away from the sequel because he felt it was not the right move for him at the time in Hollywood.
“Me and Vin talked after he turned it down,” Ja Rule explained to 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. I’m really trying to do this acting thing very seriously and you know, sometimes every move is not the right move.”
Meanwhile, Ja Rule was replaced by Ludacris and Edwin became Tej. According to Singleton, Ja Rule not doing 2 Fast 2 Furious changed Ludacris’s life.
“Years later I saw Ja Rule at the Source Awards and we joked about it. I took him under my arm and said, ‘Man, when I call you, you listen. I ain’t calling you for no bullshit.’ He said, ‘Yeah, man, I’m sorry about that.’ He apologized. I love Ja. I still think Ja has a lot of personality and can come back in a different way,” Singleton told Grantland in 2015 before he passed away four years later.