EXCLUSIVE: Keeping Up With Kevin Hart
With “Ride Along” making history and “About Last Night” on the way, there’s no stopping Kevin Hart.
Kevin Hart has accomplished more in the first five weeks of 2014 than most people will accomplish all year. Following up a breakout 2013 where the Philadelphia-born comedian produced and starred in the successful standup special Let Me Explain, matched wits with screen legends in This is the End and Grudge Match and held down another season of BET’s The Real Husbands of Hollywood, 2014 is sure to be a career-defining year for Hart if he has anything to do with it. His cop comedy Ride Along, also starring Ice Cube, is just a few million shy of crossing the $100 million mark, and is the top January opening weekend film in history. The scary thing is that the budding superstar is just getting started.
Up next is About Last Night, a remake where Hart joins Regina Hall, Michael Ealy and Joy Bryant for a modern love story about one-night stands that lead to something more. “I’m different in this than I was in Think Like a Man, Grudge Match and Ride Along,” says Hart of his suave, lady-killer character Bernie, adding “It’s edgy, it’s raw and they allowed me and Regina to take a raw approach in showing a different way of loving.”
Hart’s meteoric takeover was no accident. “You don’t become a person who’s on a pedestal by laying back and just waiting for opportunities” says Hart, who finances many of his projects through his company HeartBeat Productions. “I’m a guy who creates what he wants and does it how he should do it.” The 34-year-old carefully spaces out his projects to make sure he’s always shooting a documentary, working on another season of RHOH, or filming no fewer than two movies every other year. “People have said ‘Kevin you have to stop, it’s so much,’ but I don’t understand that,” Hart half-jokes about friends that are in awe of his schedule, adding “What’s the point of putting your blood, sweat and tears into something and then getting to a place where you finally get your rewards and then say “I don’t want it?” I don’t want to make the mistake I’ve seen other people make.”
For About Last Night, Hart has big shoes to fill, as he bravely takes on a role made famous by fellow funnyman Jim Belushi. This was a risk Hart was willing to take for the updated retelling, which boldly replaces the original white, Chicago yuppies with black, Los Angeles singles.
“Remakes are dangerous because there’s no in between,” admits Hart, “It’s either going to go really good or really bad.” The Valentine’s Day release could soften the blow from the R-rating, which often hurts romantic comedies, especially those with an all-black cast. Marketing a raunchy romance film with four African American stars to white audiences is more plausible today than it would have been just three years ago, however, thanks to the success of recent African American-lead films like The Best Holiday and Hart’s own previous work. “The stigma of “the black movie” is slowly getting erased because people aren’t paying attention to it,” Hart says, adding “Now that it’s getting erased, it’s putting people in a position where you can do whatever you want.”
Quips and comebacks aside, Hart is well aware of his current place on the Hollywood totem pole. Hart thinks he’s successful, but nowhere near Will Ferrell, who he will begin shooting Get Hard with this month. Hart knows his strengths, but he also knows that if he doesn’t show versatility, his shtick will get old. And even when it comes to recognition, Hart would be much more comfortable hosting an event like the Oscars than taking a shiny statue home himself. “Here’s the thing about the Oscars: It’s a great moment in any actor or actresses career, but what else comes with an Oscar?” says Hart. “There’s so many people that have won an Oscar and today are in a difficult place because of work….I’m not looking for accolades.”
Shontel Horne is the Senior Lifestyle and Entertainment Producer for Loop21.com. Follow her on Twitter @writerrambling.
Photo Credit: Getty