Kevin Hart and Ice Cube lead the lineup in Ride Along, the new film from the director and the producer of the blockbuster comedy Think Like a Man. When a fast-talking guy joins his girlfriend’s brother—a hot-tempered cop—to patrol the streets of Atlanta, he gets entangled in the officer’s latest case.
For the past two years, high-school security guard Ben (Hart) has been trying to show decorated APD detective James (Cube) that he’s more than just a video-game junkie who’s unworthy of James’ sister, Angela (Tika Sumpter). When Ben finally gets accepted into the academy, James invites him on a ride along designed to scare the hell out of the trainee. John Leguizamo and Laurence Fishburne join the cast of the action-comedy directed by Tim Story.
In Australia to promote the film, Kevin found time in his busy schedule to have a chat to Glamadelaide reviewer Will Allen over the phone about the film and a few other things.
The gaming theme in Ride Along is accurate and hilarious, are you a gamer?
Oh man, I’m a gamer. I can’t play as much as I used to cause of my schedule, but back in my heyday, I was quite the gamer. All those gamer phrases (in the film) came from me.
Did you come up with the name Black Hammer?
(Laughs) Yeah man, it had to be put in.
One of the main draw cards in Ride Along is the chemistry between the two main characters. How close are you and Ice Cube?
He’s actually a really good friend of mine. We got closer as the filming for Ride Along progressed, but it’s all founded on a mutual respect for each other and what we’ve done in our respective careers. I grew up on Ice Cube, so I’m a huge fan of his. And seeing him go through rap and hip hop and then transform to producing, writing, directing, so its kind of unbelievable. So the fact that I got the opportunity to work with this guy at this point in my career is huge, and we achieved something together that’s unheard of. We set records domestically in the box office in the States, so you can’t ask for a better situation.
How much fun is it to slap Ice Cube?
That’s the best part. That was the best part. My favourite scene in the whole movie. I can never get away with that in real life, so I grabbed that opportunity.
What inspiration did you draw from other buddy cop films in the lead up to Ride Along?
We loved having the opportunity to jump into that realm of buddy cop movies with loads of action. When you think of these films you think of Beverley Hills Cop, Lethal Weapon, Rush Hour, and you know, 21 Jump Street did a great job of jumping back into that realm, but beyond that there has been a bit of a void for them. There haven’t really been many that have stuck recently, so the fact that me and Ice Cube were able to do what we did and achieve what we have in this film is great, we now have the opportunity to set up a franchise here. That’s what we both worked hard for.
Any life lessons you’ve taken from working with Ice Cube?
You know what, I think the biggest thing is literally stay true to your craft and work for what you wanna do. He’s a firm believer in not waiting on people for your success or any kind of success, and you create your own. So I’m going to follow suit.
What was the main thing that helped you transition from being the small role comedy actor to a lead comedy actor?
Just staying true to your fan base. The one think I think I do is that I understand that I’m a brand, and part of being a brand is evolving and not staying the same. I stay true to my comedy career, and the bigger that I got as a comedian, the bigger I got as an actor. Once you get to a sort of level where people genuinely want to see you, you can step up to the plate and show that you can act, but hey, I’m a double edged sword, and because of the comedic success that I’ve had in the past, that put me in the position to be an actor as well.
When does training start for the next NBA All Star Celebrity game?
(Laughs) I don’t know, these knees are getting bad man, they’re getting really bad. I’m not the same as I used to be.
What does the future hold for Kevin Hart?
Right now I’ve got another movie out in the States called About Last Night, I’m about to film a movie with Will Ferrell called Get Hard, Think Like A Man 2 comes out this summer, another movie called Wedding Ringer comes out in January, my TV show Real Husbands of Hollywood, and you know, going back out on tour. Staying busy, not letting off the gas pedal!
How are you enjoying Australia?
Oh man, I love it. The people have been amazing, the fans have been amazing, you know, this is what it’s about, becoming an international success, and I’m going to do it. The best way to do it is to go all over the world, stay true to your fan base and embrace them the same way that they embrace you.
Ride Along releases nationally on the 20th of March.
Interviewed by Will Allen