Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out–boy in love with girl seeks approval of girl’s protective big brother—the length that boy will go to get big brother’s nod is where this story takes root.
Ice Cube as James, king of the intimidating raised eyebrow, meets the king of funny, Kevin Hart as Ben, in the contemporary action comedy, RIDE ALONG. The adrenaline-fueled romp also stars Tika Sumpter (Madea’s Christmas, Sparkle, OWN’s Haves and Have Nots), John Leguizamo (Rio 2, Kick Ass 2), Bryan Callen (Hangover 1 & 2), Bruce McGill (Collateral, Lincoln) and Laurence Fishburne (Man of Steel, Matrix trilogy) in Universal Pictures/Relativity Media/Cubevision/Rainforest Films’ January 17th release, directed by Tim Story (Think Like A Man 1 & 2, Fantastic Four).
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. Now, in order to prove that he deserves his future bride, he must survive the most insane 24 hours of his life.
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 (Sumpter). When Ben finally gets accepted into the academy, he thinks he’s earned the seasoned policeman’s respect and asks for his blessing to marry Angela.
I spoke to Tika Sumpter about her role as Angela, Ben’s beloved girlfriend and James’ prized little sister—
Sandra Varner/Talk2SV: You are viewed as the fresh wonderful face now paired with many actors who have been long time favorites, bringing a new dimension to this dynamic. What’s your comment?
Sumpter: It’s a pleasure to work with people that are definitely well regarded and well respected in the industry, especially people like Kevin (Hart) who has been around for a while; now it’s his time and it’s just been exciting. To have the opportunity to work with different directors, to be part of different movies with ensemble cast members that are very well respected really feels great. To have casting executives and studio heads believe that I bring something else to the movie is very affirming.
Talk2SV: The love relationship between Ben and Angela anchors RIDE ALONG; Ben will do almost anything to earn her brother’s respect and prove his love. Is there anything about the portrayal of that relationship that reminds you of a previous relationship or one that you’d like to have?
Sumpter: I’ve definitely been in relationships where the person would bend over backwards for me and he would do whatever…it feels good to anybody who is in a relationship for somebody to really fight for the person and be there for the person. I think every woman or man wants that. Hopefully my next relationship will be like that.
Talk2SV: Let’s talk about the flip side, James, the over-protective big brother. Did anything about Ice Cube’s portrayal ring true for you?
Sumpter: Yeah, my mom is kind of like that unfortunately but, obviously I have my own mind. Definitely you want to run major love relationships by someone. I’d rather get to know somebody before you Google them but it’s kind of hard so my mom’s that person.
Talk2SV: You are on quite a ride during this very active phase of your acting career; how fortunate you must feel. Is the success you’re enjoying part of a plan you’ve devised?
Sumpter: I feel like everybody has a path to walk and not necessarily by design. I think I had a plan in my head but I didn’t know exactly how the plan would be executed. I’ve worked hard for certain things to happen and because of the hard work I’ve put in, other options were available to me; meaning, people believing I can play different roles, not the same one over and again. By design, I mean, I don’t know but it definitely is my path.
Talk2SV: Will we see you doing anything on Broadway any time soon?
Sumpter: I would love to do a play, that’s one thing I do want to conquer, even if it’s off Broadway. I hope to do something like that this year. As a matter of fact, recently, I told my agent that I’m working to get over my fear (of the stage) especially coming from the world of New York.
Talk2SV: Producer Will Packer of Rainforest Films (The Gospel, Stomp the Yard, Obsessed, This Christmas, Takers, Think Like A Man) is too on a winning streak in Hollywood. Did you have any exchanges with him while working on this film?
Sumpter: Oh, yeah, I’ve known Will for a while. He actually cast me in one of my first films, Stomp the Yard 2, and from there he told me, ‘Tika great things are going to happen for you.’ I love Will; he totally believes in me and wants me to just be myself.
Talk2SV: It does help to have someone support you 100%. Too, I am amazed by his command of this business and the way he navigates a steady course throughout. In your own words, how would you describe Will Packer?
Sumpter: I would describe Will as a hard worker, someone who didn’t wait for a studio to come and make his dream happen. He and Rob Hardy formed a company and started small; from that vantage point you can’t deny talent or hard work and he’s a likeable person. Will knows how to put a movie together and sell it, just like Think Like a Man and the upcoming sequel. You can’t deny the level of success he’s achieved and that’s when different studios came knocking. I would describe him as someone who takes life by the reins and does what he needs to do to conquer his dreams; he’s definitely inspiring.
TalkSV: Speaking of making dreams come true, we’re in the month of January, people are still making plans for the rest of the year. Do you have any extraordinary plans for 2014?
Sumpter: For sure, I want to travel a little more. There are a few things bubbling and coming alive this year that I’m very excited about. Essentially, my goal for the year is to enjoy life because it moves so fast in this industry. I try to really live in it and be present so that’s one of the things that I’m going to definitely try to do this year.
Talk2SV: And one last thing, video games factor prominently in RIDE ALONG. What experience did you have with playing them prior to filming this movie?
Sumpter: Actually, my brother and I used to play video games when we were little; he was kind of a gamer so it was funny to be the girlfriend of a gamer. My film boyfriend (Hart) is kind of a nerd too, a bit quirky, so is my brother. It was funny in that way to see those parallels to my own life.