CHANGE OF HART
HOLLYWOOD’S FAVOURITE COMEDIAN KEVIN HART TURNS UP THE ACTION IN NEW FLICK RIDE ALONG 2
The first Ride Along movie was a real sleeper hit – what can you tell me about the sequel and your character Ben?
Ben has stepped it up a notch. Not only is he getting married but he is now a cop so his authority level has been raised. So my action definitely went up some; I was able to do more and be involved in more. I get to shoot guns a little more; I get to be in the chase scenes. There’s more action in this movie and we wanted to make sure the audience that left part 1 would feel we did a great job of ramping it up in part 2. More laughs, more action; we have given people a lot more bang for their buck.
You’re slapping around Ice Cube again in this one – we saw Straight Outta Compton and he’s a pretty dangerous guy. How did that go?
He was fine. It’s all play – we don’t take ourselves too seriously and the beauty of that is we both have a good sense of humour. There are no egos on the table and, when we show up to work, we show up to do our job. But not only are we doing our job, we are having a lot of fun doing it.
What do you learn from a guy like Ice Cube?
You learn the art of longevity. Cube has been in the game for a long time as an actordirector-producer who has stayed relevant for more than 25 years. So from a guy like that, the one thing you learn is the importance of staying true to your craft and always being creative and inventive.
Ride Along didn’t get a lot of love from critics but performed at the box office – how do you feel about that?
Well, to be honest, critics, their job is to critique. The day you allow a critic’s judgment to skew your views of where you are and what your product is, is the day you shouldn’t be in the business. The movies that the critics hate the most are the ones that fans love the most. I just don’t feed into that stuff.
Does it help that you can now engage directly with your fans through your huge social media profile?
The beautiful thing about social media is that it’s your brand – it’s what you started and you develop it all on your own. Those are people who support and follow you and have grown with you. So if you stay true to that, you always have an outlet and a different promotional tool that others don’t have and there is a huge value in that.
You were back in Australia with your What Now? show this month – what do you get from stand-up comedy that you don’t get from anywhere else?
I own it. I control it. It’s all operated by me. That’s what makes stand-up so amazing. The fact that you can go around the world making everybody laugh, that’s a big, big deal.
It must be harder to work up new material now you are a star – if you go to a small club, everyone has a phone and a camera these days. How do you deal with that?
I have a policy where people can’t tape or record during my show – if they do, they are asked to leave. So that keeps me well positioned so my material can be saved so it’s brand new for each city. Comedy isn’t like music – you can hear a song but you can listen to it over and over again. Comedy isn’t the same; when you hear a joke you have heard it, so I don’t want to kill or spoil that moment for my fan base. If I am working on material, I go to small comedy clubs and build up my material until I am at a comfortable point where I can take it to a massive touring level. You don’t want to lose sight of who you are and that’s why I love still going to smaller comedy clubs.
You keep returning to standup even though your movie career has taken off in a big way – does it keep you grounded and energised?
Of course. We definitely have a level of intensity that goes along with it because when you are on stage telling stories and gauging the instant reaction of a crowd, and that reaction is coming through laughter, you get a major level of excitement from it.
Ride Along 2 opens today
Ice Cube, Olivia Munn and Kevin Hart in a scene from Ride Along 2.