When you think about the “Rush Hour” trilogy, the comedian that the films catapulted to new heights comes to mind. Now with Rush Hour coming to the small screen in the form of a scripted television show, there will be a name other than Chris Tucker synonymous with the franchise. Justin Hires will be taking over the role of Detective James Carter when the 30 minute scripted comedy debuts on March 31st on CBS. We caught up with the actor to discuss the new starring role, the expectations that come with it, and how he’s sustained a career in such a fickle industry for over a decade. Check out our interview below.
Keyauna: After a long acting career including some pretty cool supporting roles, how does it feel to be starring in a show based on such as popular movie trilogy like Rush Hour and playing the role that Chris Tucker made famous “Detective James Carter”?
Justin: This is literally a dream job for me! I’m a stand-up comedian, so being able to do an action/comedy show every week is pretty incredible. I consider it a huge honor to follow in Chris Tucker’s footsteps.
Keyauna: How did you land the role? Did it fall in your lap or did you have to really work for it?
Justin: It was a super last minute audition. Originally, I couldn’t audition because I was attached to a pilot at another network, but CBS couldn’t find a “Detective Carter” they were completely satisfied with. So they had one final audition and allowed me to come in. Fortunately, I had a great audition and two call back auditions later I booked the role.
Keyauna: Jon Foo will be reprising the role of Detective Lee in the new series. How has it been working with him so closely and building the chemistry needed to bring to life the partnership between Carter and Lee?
Justin: It’s been terrific. Fortunately, I think myself and Jon Foo’s chemistry is incredible! Foo is a genuine introvert and I’m a genuine extrovert. We’re the perfect ying and yang on and off camera.
Keyauna: The popularity of the Rush Hour films was massive. To this day I watch all of them whenever they’re on TV and own the DVDs. Do you feel pressure to live up to that hype with the show?
Justin: I don’t feel as much pressure as I think people believe I should feel. Chris Tucker is a comedic legend to me. I grew up watching all of his movies, his Def Comedy Jam sets, and have seen him live in concert. I’m not going to be better than Chris Tucker. He originated the role and did it perfectly. All I can do is be myself and leave set everyday knowing I did my best. I honestly believe we are capturing great scenes and moments everyday on set and my hope is that I not only make the fans of Rush Hour proud, but Chris Tucker proud as well. So, yeah I feel a ton of pressure lol.
Keyauna: How have your supporting roles throughout the years prepared you for this starring role?
Justin: The great thing about doing those supporting roles is that you get to watch and learn from some of the most talented people in Hollywood. Being on set is the type of training an acting class can’t fully provide.
Keyauna: What has been your personal favorite of the roles you’ve played thus far?
Justin: Easily, Detective Carter on ‘Rush Hour.’ I get more than two lines to say and they allow me to improv in the scenes.
Keyauna: Who are the actors that you look up to or have pulled from during your career?
Justin: For comedy, Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Marlon Wayans, Jim Carrey, Chris Tucker abd Bernie Mac. For drama, Denzel Washington, Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Morgan Freeman, and maybe surprisingly to some Shia LaBeouf.
Keyauna: I always ask 5 random questions to give readers more insight into the person. So here goes…What are the top 3 songs you’re listening to on your ipod right now?
Justin: I don’t have particular songs, but I was listening to that “Drake/Future” album a lot.
Keyauna: When you have free time and you’re not working do you make a point to chill and do nothing or do you hit the town?
Justin: I like to chill and do nothing. If anything, I’ll watch some movies and go do a little stand-up comedy.
Keyauna: Do you consider yourself a hopeless romantic or a playa?
Justin: A hopeless romantic.
Keyauna: Do you like sweets or salt?
Keyauna: Do you prefer home cooking or takeout?
Justin: Home cooking. Especially on Sundays.
Keyauna: Tell everyone when Rush Hour is set to air, where they can watch it and how to find you online, social media, etc.
Justin: ’Rush Hour’ airs March 31st at 10PM on CBS! Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat/Periscope: JustinHires
Get a first look at Justin in action in “Rush Hour” below.