*Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson are ready to turn up in your theaters this weekend when their action-comedy “Central Intelligence” opens nationwide. The story centers on Bob Stone (Johnson), a bullied teen for being overweight, who shows up to his high school reunion looking fit and muscular. There, he finds Calvin Joyner (Hart), “a fast-talking accountant who misses his glory days as a popular athlete. Stone is now a lethal CIA agent who needs Calvin’s number skills to help him save the compromised U.S. spy satellite system. Together, the former classmates encounter shootouts, espionage and double-crosses while trying to prevent worldwide chaos.”
Hart and Johnson certainly make for quite the amusing duo, and Dwayne has cemented his presence as an organic actor with perfect comedic timing. EUR/Electronic Urban Report caught-up with Hart ahead of the film’s opening to get his take on working with the wrestler-turned-action star-turned new comedy hero.
“When you think comedy, Dwayne isn’t coming from an amazing comedic background. What he is-is an entertainer,” Hart said. “What I love about this movie is that Dwayne was able to jump into the comedic realm. He pushes the comedy in this movie and I’m more of the straight guy. Yes, you’re going to laugh at me and there’s points where I’m funny but the main thing that I was supposed to be was the P.O.V for the audience.”
Hart continued: “So me going into this film was to be opposite and do opposite of what people have seem from me in the past. As my career continues to grow, you look for challenges and you look for people that you can be confident enough in within their talent to pull off those challenges and that was the reason for this one and I’m quite sure in the movies to come that will be the reason for those. But what me and Dwayne have found is something that’s real and something that’s very unique and that doesn’t come across often which is why we’re doing another movie.”
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The next movie Hart is referring to is a remake of the 1995 adventure fantasy film “Jumanji.” Directed by Joe Johnston, the movie is an adaptation of the 1981 children’s book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. The film stars Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, David Alan Grier, Bonnie Hunt, Jonathan Hyde, and Bebe Neuwirth. The story centers on “12-year-old Alan Parrish, who becomes trapped in a board game while playing with his best friend Sarah Whittle in 1969. Twenty-six years later, siblings Judy and Peter Shepherd find the game and begin playing and then unwittingly release the now-adult Alan. After tracking down Sarah, the quartet resolve to finish the game in order to reverse all of the destruction it has caused.”
“We signed on to do a remake of “Jumanji” and we start filming that in September,” Hart revealed. “It’s me, Dwayne and Jack Black, and right now we’re about to cast the female so we have a big announcement coming soon. It’s just a remake of a movie that was done brilliantly with the late-great Robin Williams of course. We just want to do a modern version of it for those people who may not be familiar with it. We want to bring a unique appeal to it, not try to outdo what’s been done, just try to refresh it and pay homage to the late-great Robin Williams.”
Kevin began his career by winning several amateur comedy competitions at clubs throughout New England, culminating in his first break in 2000 when he was cast by Judd Apatow for a recurring role on the TV series “Undeclared.” Since then, Hart’s comedic reputation has earned him roles in films such as “Think Like a Man,” “Grudge Match,” “Ride Along,” “About Last Night,” and “Get Hard.” He has also released several comedy albums, and currently stars as himself in the lead role of “Real Husbands of Hollywood.”
“To say one person would be doing so many a disservice,” Hart replied when asked who has had the greatest impact on his career and how. “I’m lucky enough to have great friends that act as role models. Chris Rock, Steve Harvey, two of the smartest guys I know. Chris Rock, just within the realm of stand-up, and just keeping himself relevant and always putting that pen to the pad, always writing and always creating. Steve Harvey, just as a businessman and as a guy who hustles and just doesn’t stop. You look at how many different things he’s doing, and it’s just cause he’s trying to do his version of doing it all. I can go down the line: Chapelle, Pryor, Murphy, Seinfeld – these are just people that really inspired me. Then on a business level, Jay-Z, Oprah, Tyler Perry — self-made moguls. When you look at what they’ve created and the blueprint that they’ve set and that they’ve shown, I feel like you’re a fool not to try to follow it. So that’s all I’m trying to do. I’m trying to walk down the path that others have set and extend that path a little bit more so other people will be able to walk down the one that I created,” Kevin explained.
With over a dozen movies listed on his impressive resume, we asked Hart what key element he looks for in characters that helps him determine whether the role is the right fit.
“A character with levels,” he said, adding: “I think the beauty in all the characters that I’ve played is they’ve had range. Yes, they’ve been funny but the reason why they’ve been funny is because the funny has been grounded. When you look at ‘Think Like A Man,’ Cedric was a guy who wanted so much. He wanted a sense of approval because that’s the one thing that was lacking in his relationship. Then going from Cedric to my ‘Ride Along’ character which is a guy who was looking for a career that was a lifelong dream of his and in pursuing being a detective, it was about taking care of a foundation with his woman and making that woman a clear source of comfort and secure. So the movie was about approval, me trying to gain and get approval as much as I could and I think that’s something that’s always good in anything you do. People should always be able to relate and identify. Then go from that to ‘About Last Night,’ to ‘Wedding Ringer,’ to ‘Get Hard’ — all of these guys had levels, and that’s what I respect the most about them. That’s what made me happy about jumping in and playing the characters.”
Catch Hart and Johnson in “Central Intelligence” when the film arrives in theaters on June 17.