Rapper Ja Rule's ego cost him the chance to become a permanent cast member of the hit Fast And Furious film franchise after rejecting a $500,000 offer to appear in the original sequel, according to director John Singleton.
The Always On Time hitmaker had a small role in 2001's The Fast and The Furious, the movie which kickstarted the blockbuster franchise, and Singleton wanted the hip-hop star to reprise his role as Edwin for the follow-up, 2 Fast 2 Furious, in 2003.
However, the filmmaker claims Ja Rule felt disrespected by the money offer and turned down the job - prompting Singleton to reach out to the then-rising rapper Ludacris to take his place.
Singleton tells Grantland.com, "Ja got too big for himself. He turned it down. He turned down a half a million dollars. He got $15,000 to be in the first movie. He was really big at that time. I guess Murder Inc. (his record label) 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... He was kinda playing me to the side and I was like, 'What? What is this s**t?' This was all initiated by me. I then made a call. I called Ludacris. I said, 'Hey, Luda, I haven't met you before, but I like what you're doing right now.' Luda was all humble, excited to meet me. I said, 'I'm doing this movie and I'm wondering if you want to be a part of it.' He goes, 'What? Yeah! Anything you do I want to be a part of.' That's how Ludacris got in 2 Fast 2 Furious, and the rest is history."
Ludacris has since become one of the stars of the franchise, while Ja Rule's career has faltered following a series of legal woes - but Singleton insists his relationship with Ja Rule has since been repaired.
The director continues, "Ja Rule not doing 2 Fast 2 Furious changed Ludacris' life. Years later I saw Ja Rule at the Source Awards and we joked about it... He said, 'Yeah, man, I'm sorry about that.' He apologised. I love Ja. I still think Ja has a lot of personality and can come back in a different way."