Chris “Ludacris” Bridges never planned on being an actor when he started his rap career during the late ’90s. He attributes his successful transition from music to acting to late writer-director John Singleton, who gave him his breakout role as Tej Parker in the “The Fast and the Furious” (2001) sequel “2 Fast 2 Furious” (2003).
During a discussion about his new role as Eddie Garrick in Disney+’s new Christmas movie “Dashing Through the Snow,” Bridges discussed his more than 20-year career as an actor, and how acting initially was never “part of the plan.”
While his debut role was playing an unsatisfied customer in record producer and filmmaker DJ Pooh’s comedy “The Wash” (2001), it wasn’t until Singleton cast him as a former street racer and mechanic that his acting career went full speed ahead.
“No, it was not part of the plan. I always give credit to John Singleton, who has taken people like Ice Cube and Morris Chestnut (“Boyz N the Hood”), so many different people, even Tyrese [Gibson] (“Baby Boy”), and put them in film – we all came from music, apart from Morris Chestnut. But [Singleton] is very famous for taking people from music and putting them in films,” Bridges, who also produced the song “Act a Fool” for the “2 Fast 2 Furious” soundtrack, told TheWrap. “He did that for me on ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’”‘ and the rest is history. I loved it. My music videos were kind of an extension of me acting, and I think I embraced it so much.”
Singleton also said “the rest is history” when he explained how Bridges got the role as Tej over fellow rapper Ja Rule, in a 2015 interview with Grantland.
“Ja got too big for himself. He turned it down. He turned down a half a million dollars,” Singleton said. “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 shit?’ 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.”
Since then, and while juggling his Grammy-winning rap career, Bridges has starred in films and TV shows including “Crash” (2004), “Max Payne” (2008), “Doc McStuffins” (2017) and several of the “The Fast and the Furious” sequels. He’s even put on the producer’s hat, executive producing the film “John Henry” (2020), and the animated Netflix series “Karma’s World” (2021).
“To look at the journey and see the path that I’ve gone over the last decade or so is absolutely nothing short of amazing,” Bridges said. “I just appreciate people for supporting me because it’s not easy to transition from one thing to another. When it comes from doing music to film, it’s one that if you take it serious, it can definitely be beneficial.”
“Dashing Through the Snow” landed on Disney+ on Nov. 17. The film stars Bridges, Lil Rel Howery, Madison Skye Validum, Teyonah Parris and Oscar Nuñez. It was directed by Tim Story and produced by Will Packer’s Will Packer Productions with Smart Entertainment.