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Upon its debut in 1995, Ice Cube’s comedy classic Friday started a franchise that would see the writer/actor kick off a run of films that, to this very day, hold up as fan favorites. With two sequels, Next Friday and Friday After Next, continuing the legacy, one final film, Last Friday, has been intended to cap off the entire run in a big finale. The only problem is that a whole decade of delays have plagued the project.
During my recent discussion with Ice Cube, in support of his role in the dramedy ensemble film The High Note, I asked him if he had done any more work on the script for Last Friday. As he had last updated the film’s progress towards the end of 2019, with the passing of actor John Witherspoon leaving the project in need of heavy rewrites, I was curious if there were any further developments.
Ice Cube answered this question with the following heartfelt response:
For those of you keeping score at home, the last Friday film to hit theaters, Friday After Next, was released in 2002. So according to Cube’s words in the interview above, Last Friday started out as an idea roughly around 2010, i.e. eight years after Friday After Next. This tracks with the fact that around 2011 was when we got the first word that Ice Cube was going to write, star in and produce the film.
Over time, that auspicious announcement became a bit of an albatross. One that, according to Ice Cube’s new remarks, spawned two rejected drafts and “a bunch of dumb notes” from studio New Line Cinema. It’s all added up to Last Friday has been in a holding pattern for some time, with the project being teased as being in various points of development, giving fans continued hope that it would happen yet.
Of course, that was until last year, when John Witherspoon’s death threw perhaps the greatest wrench in Last Friday’s production. As Willie Jones, father to Ice Cube’s protagonist Craig, was an integral figure throughout the Friday franchise to begin with, Last Friday would have still felt the sting of his absence, even if the script didn’t use his character that much.
Now with Willie Jones unfortunately unable to drop in for one final appearance in Last Friday, that’s another draft that will have to be written in order for this movie to take another stab at existence. And like anyone else who’s suffered the loss of a long-time friend and coworker, Ice Cube has found himself with a case of writer’s block because of this absence.
That’s not to say that Ice Cube isn’t interested in getting Last Friday back on track. With the promise that he’ll continue fighting the good fight, and the insistence that New Line Cinema could do the right thing, the final film in the Friday saga isn’t out of business just yet. As he’s insisted for some time, the ball is still in New Line Cinema’s hand, and the bat is in his.
So as soon as he’s ready to revisit this new sequel, more than likely complete with a tribute to John Witherspoon’s passing, it’ll be up to New Line’s execs to heed the call to complete the Friday franchise.
Here’s hoping that studio and star can both play ball, knocking Last Friday out of the park and into history. In the meantime, you can see Ice Cube and his legendary improv skills in The High Note, as it’s now available for rental on VOD.