By EW Staff
Updated August 07, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Glen Wilson
  • Movie

Chris Tucker’s eyes pop as ornate wooden doors swing open on the set of Rush Hour 3. He and Jackie Chan are led into a lavish Parisian party filled with gorgeous, exquisitely dressed women. Unfortunately, the ballroom is actually deep in the bowels of a dilapidated Los Angeles theater, the flutes are filled with fake champagne, and this is the 37th time the duo has made this entrance today. ”We don’t always do 37 takes,” says director Brett Ratner. ”With Chris, the first 10 were just him feeling it. At the end when he started going ‘Ooh la la!‘ — he started really feeling it.”

It’s November, barely the film’s second month of shooting, and it’s understandable that the cast would still be warming up. The last time the director brought Tucker and Chan together as bumbling, backflipping buddy cops Lee and Carter was six years ago. Rush Hour 2, like the first, was a rollicking success, hauling in nearly $350 million worldwide. Box office bonanza aside, it started to look like Rush Hour 3 would not happen. Someone was dragging his feet. ”Chris isn’t in a rush,” chuckles Ratner. ”So, Jackie goes off and does his movies. I go off and do X-Men 3. [Chris] hasn’t worked in five years.” Whispers circulated that Tucker, who earned a staggering $20 million for Rush Hour 2, was holding out for more money this time around — which he denies.

”It wasn’t me,” insists the comedian. ”It was finding the script. [New Line was] saying, ‘We’ll get you a script. Just sign on.’ I usually don’t do that. That was the big holdup. I need to see a script.” Nevertheless, Tucker eventually relented, and a script was written that involved Lee and Carter trailing a list of Chinese gangsters through Paris. Ratner and Co. shot on location for about a month, so if you’re aching for scissor kicks on the Eiffel Tower, you got ’em. Speaking of landmarks, Chan, who earned less up front than Tucker for his chopsocky contributions to Rush Hour 2, will be getting a healthy portion of Rush Hour 3‘s distribution rights in China. ”I like to bet,” says Chan. ”Maybe, at the end, I’ll [make more] than Chris.” Guess Tucker’s not the only one feelin’ it now. (August 10)

Rush Hour 3

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 91 minutes
  • Brett Ratner