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14 Feb. 2014

Way to this man’s heart


Kevin Hart as "Bernie" in ABOUT LAST NIGHT

Kevin Hart as “Bernie” in ABOUT LAST NIGHT

Kevin Hart and Michael Ealy in ABOUT LAST NIGHT

Kevin Hart and Michael Ealy in ABOUT LAST NIGHT

Love’s Laughter this Valentine’s Day, “About Last Night”

 

 

Funny all night long!

 

 

Kevin Hart goes full throttle, again!  I can’t remember when I last laughed so loud and so often while watching a movie.  ABOUT LAST NIGHT made me holler, many times.

If you’re wondering why it’s because of the subject matter—real relationship challenges– and the way handled by four magnetic actors whose dual arcs of comedy and drama run concurrently to hoist the story, the language, the look, and the timing all in terrific tempo.

As relationships go, we all have histories: some we’d like to forget, some unfinished, some we fantasize.

Starring Kevin Hart (THINK LIKE A MAN, GRUDGE MATCH), Regina Hall (BEST MAN, BEST MAN HOLIDAY), Joy Bryant (BOBBY) and THINK LIKE A MAN’s Michael Ealy, ABOUT LAST NIGHT is a Screen Gems release produced by Will Packer (THE GOSPEL, OBSESSED, TAKERS), directed by Steve Pink (GROSSE POINTE BLANK,  KNIGHT AND DAY), opening Valentine’s Day.

This updated version of the Demi Moore and Rob Lowe 80s chick flick is a welcome addition to the desired adult dramatic comedy genre.

Hart as Bernie, an out-for-sex-only kind of guy, meets his equal in Joan (Hall) who can write a book about the ways to emotion-free relationships or so she thinks.

Theirs’ is an electric, part eccentric, part eclectic, kinetic dalliance that extends well beyond the wham bam, thank you m’aam night club variety.  They actually like each other but the road to commitment is littered with pretense and premonition.  Both think they know the end of the story before it actually happens.  Love is sometimes funny that way and these two bring the laughter in such fashion you can’t get enough of their scenes, always wanting more.

Where Hart is concerned, less maybe more for the five-foot superstar whose costarring role in RIDE ALONG drove three weeks in the top slot, earning over $100 million since opening– his allure is so appealing, his wit so appropriate and his presence so affecting– one realizes we haven’t seen this type of stand-up-comedian-turned-actor success since Eddie Murphy burst onto the scene over twenty years ago.

An Olympic trained swimmer, Hart has a wing span reminiscent of Evander Holyfield.  His one-two punch at the box office proves he’s a sure bet.

When he explains his unwavering commitment and the joys of fatherhood, he echoes Bill Cosby.

But make no mistake, Hart is his own man and maintains that stardom hasn’t changed him, at all.

He entered our interview suite at the Beverly Hilton, sans the all-too-familiar, ever-present entourage, and responded to all questions, never missing a beat.

Before you walked in we were discussing your career trajectory, comparing it to others who have had a huge ascension but can’t maintain at that level. It seems you are in rarified air; how does that feel?

Hart: I try not to put too much thought into it because at the end of the day I have goals and I’m accomplishing my goals.  The more goals you accomplish, the more goals you should set. I don’t feel like you should ever get content with accomplishing a goal. After you do one, then you set another one. I think the reason it seems like there’s a continued ladder that I’m climbing is because things are happening one right after another. But these things were filmed a year and a half to two years ago.

Right now, I’m filming more work as we speak so as this stuff is coming out…is surfacing, people begin to think, ‘ wow that’s crazy, he’s not stopping!’ But that’s because I still work, I just keep going, and I’m not going to stop. In order for me to achieve what I want to achieve and to be on that pedestal with the other great comedians before me, I have to have a great body of work. I am trying to put that body together.

I mean, when you think about it, I’ve only really had two or three successful movies: Think Like a Man, Ride AlongGrudge Match was somewhat successful but Grudge Match wasn’t my movie. Other than that, I’ve been popping up in movies, tidbits and cameos. Soul Plane didn’t do what I thought it was going to do when I was the young age of 23-24; I thought that movie was going to launch me, to make me a star and nothing happened, you know.

I thought Fools Gold was going to launch me…we’re talking Matthew McConaughey, Kate Hudson…I thought that movie was going to be the best thing ever, nothing happened. It’s like everything happens when it’s supposed to so now the success of these current movies makes people ask, ‘oh my God, who is this Kevin Hart guy?’  But I don’t have those movies without Let Me Explain and Laugh At My Pain, my personal stand up comedy movies that I did on my own.

 And that makes the point; you’ve had a parallel going, features films and independent projects that elevated your game.

Hart: Well, I spent $750,000 of my own money to produce Laugh At My Pain; it made $8M on only 800 screens.  Then, I spent $2.5 million to produce Let Me Explain and it made $33M, but that’s just me, I own it. I own all of my concert films.  For my next one, I’ll start touring again maybe mid-2016 and I’ll probably put another one out close to 2018. It will seem like a long break from stand up that hopefully those numbers are going to be astronomical. So much so maybe I’ll be able to see crazy successful numbers from concert film; I mean, you’ve had other people do concert films but I own it, nobody else owns it. I’m just not afraid to take risks. I take my own money and I flip it.

Will you continue to do stand-up comedy between films?

Hart: Yes.

 

 

Do you keep honest people around? Money has a way of attracting all kinds of ‘yes’ people; how do you ferret the wrong people out?

Hart: My group hasn’t changed; I have the same four guys around me including my two security guards that I hired in 2007. I have my best friend Harry who is on my writing staff now and he’s been around since 2001, working with me. My best friend Wayne who is now my assistant turned digital president.  Wayne has been around me since 2001 and there’s William and other comedians that have been touring with me since 2003. They are all underneath the Hart-beat Productions umbrella with the same manager, same agent, and same lawyer– since 2000–when I first walked into Hollywood and had a shitty deal; I don’t change anything.

And members of your inner circle have the freedom to be honest with you?

Hart: Oh, we pull no punches. Honesty, that’s actually the wrong word, we’re cutthroat. You need the friends that will tell you to sit your ass down; you need a friend that will tell you, ‘…you’re doing too much.’ I think the reason why I’m not caught up into the Hollywood shit is because I’m not a part of the Hollywood shit. Don’t get me wrong, I got my Hollywood friends, the famous people that I know and hang out with but, for the bulk of my days and for what I do, if I’m not with my kids, I’m in my office with my guys. We’re either working, trying to produce content, trying to figure out what’s next, or I’m home; it’s really that simple.

My office is around the corner from my house; I don’t like to do too much because of my kids, so I’m with my kids; if I’m at my office my kids are going to say, ‘Dad can I come to the office?’  Yeah come on in.  My kids come to the office and they play.

Do you have a preference between acting or stand-up comedy? Kevin Hart solo pic in green shirt

Hart: Standup comedian, always. Acting is great; I love the attention that it’s giving me and the career progression, I love that; but I don’t get there without standup comedy. With standup comedy, I control it, that’s my entity flat out.

About the author

Sandra Varner has had her hands on the pulse of the entertainment industry and lifestyles coverage for decades, staying current, always.

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