Kevin Hart Discusses New Film “About Last Night” & Being Comedy’s ‘It Guy’
Kevin Hart is becoming Heed Magazine’s new best friend…well in our heads at least. We’ve attended two film junkets of the 34 year old comedian’s newest releases in the past month! This not only serves as a testament to the funnyman’s sheer work ethic, but also his demand and newly crowned status as Hollywood’s go-to comedian. With “Ride Along” hitting box office gold for the past few weeks, and numerous film and television projects in the works, Hart show’s no sign of slowing down his major film onslaught.
In Screen Gems’ remake of ’80s romantic comedy, “About Last Night” (based on a 1974 David Mamet play), Hart stars, opposite Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, and Joy Bryant, as Bernie, a boisterous player who’s facing the dilemma of committing to his firecracker potential girlfriend Joan, played by Hall. While attending the films press junket, Heed spoke with Kevin Hart about his experience making the movie and where his thriving career is headed.
Heed Magazine: The statistics from Ride Along showed that you have major support from the female audience. So, how does it feel to have the love of the ladies, and also how much prep work went into filming your now famous shirtless scenes in this film?
Kevin Hart: Women love me! And I did 6,000 push-ups before we did the first shirtless scene. No, I’m joking. But you know it’s good to have any type of support whether it be male or female. And when all of the analytics and numbers come out, studios go crazy about all that stuff. But that’s not my way of thinking something is a success, for me it’s all about giving great content that everyone can enjoy. I don’t make a movie strictly for men, women or one race in particular, I want to appeal to everyone and be universal. “About Last Night” is a different look for me, and you get to see levels and see me in a different light. I made a point of making this character as real as possible, because I’ve been Bernie, I’ve been the crazy guy in the past. So people are going to walk away from this movie saying that they enjoyed it and laughed, but it was also REAL!
Heed Magazine: What was it like working with your on-screen girlfriend Regina Hall? She’s one of our favorite female actresses!
Kevin Hart: I thank God that I had Regina to work off of because our chemistry in this movie is through the roof. I would say she’s pound for pound one of the funniest women on the planet, and I’ll go on record saying that. The improv that we did, I mean I’m an improv warrior, that’s what I do. It’s second nature to me, and Regina did not miss a beat. And you don’t find that anywhere, you can count on one hand the women that can feed off that type of comedic energy, and Regina Hall is definitely in that conversation. She’s amazing in that movie.
Heed Magazine: This film is great because yes, it is an all black cast, but you never see it as a “black film?”
Kevin Hart: I think we’re losing the whole stigma of black movies, it’s slowly being lost. When you look at the movies that have come out from “12 Years a Slave,” “The Butler,” “Ride Along,” these movies are just simply good movies that everyone is going to see. And because of the box-office results, you can’t deny a film being a good film. The stigma that was once put on films is slowly being erased. It takes time, but I love the fact that people will associate this film as being a good movie regardless of the color of the cast. I think we did a great job of making the film fit for today’s society and relationship do’s and don’ts. The same idea goes for when I work with Will Farrell really soon, we’re doing a movie, you don’t call it a black and white guy movie.
Heed Magazine: So, how did you prepare to bring layers and an emotional side of this film? Do you see yourself doing more dramatic roles in the near future?
Kevin Hart: Well, I honestly want to do whatever options are brought to the table that I feel are best for my career and show growth. As far as preparing, I would love to sit up here and give you guys an acting thespian story of how I didn’t sleep for three days and made sure that I went to the gym every morning. I didn’t, I’m not that guy. But what I did was read the material and realized there are ways for me to elevate it, so I talked with the writers and directors. It was all just about be pulling from my past experiences in my life and making sure that no matter what I did, that it was believable. I could have easily just been crazy throughout the entire film, but then it would just be annoying and not realistic. But when you ground your character and put levels into the film, then its so relatable.
Heed Magazine: On Twitter you recently said that you’re extremely dialed in and focused on your career. How is it that you’ve gotten to that point in your life? Are there lessons you’ve learned along the way that have prepared you for this moment in your career?
Kevin Hart: Well, I’ve watched my peers. I don’t have to name any names but I’ve watched people that were in my position before that made certain decisions that haven’t been the best for them. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I’ve been doing this for 17 years, and right now my time is coming. So for everything I’ve seen before this moment, it’s helping me to make smarter decisions. “Ok, Kevin they’re saying your the ‘it guy’, so do you relax now or do you stay grounded?” So when I say I’m focused, I’m not just sitting around accepting whats given to me, I’m also going out to get stuff as a producer and CEO of Hartbeat Productions. I’m now making deals to put my company in a good place, so after this is done the stuff that my company is cooking up will be my next projects. It’s about understanding the longevity of the entertainment business. You get out of it what you put into it.
Heed Magazine: So, what is the advice to people out there who want to emulate what your doing both acting and business wise?
Kevin Hart: Surround yourself with motivated people, because you have no choice but to become what you’re seeing on a day-to-day basis. The Puffs, the Jay-Zs, the Russell Simmons, the Tyler Perrys, the studio heads. I’m now surrounded by people who make decisions, people who take meetings and position other people to best benefit them and their needs. I’m surrounded by people who are businessmen, that started off as entertainers. Judd Apatow, a guy that started off doing standup comedy, and after that went to writing, and after that went to pitching and producing, and eventually went to making major deals with studios to a point where he’s now the face of what comedy is.
I don’t see how people are comfortable with seeing other people be great. You can be happy for anybody, but what is your excuse to not want to be great? These people are great because they just say, “I’ma do that,” and they do it. That’s it. There’s no scientific process. I’m just a guy that’s like, “Yo, I want to do this,” and I’m doing it. The worst thing that can happen is you don’t do it right. And then after that you learn from what you didn’t do right, and how to do it right the next time. I just want to be great. There’s no reason why I can’t be a mogul. When I step into a room and I’m there to have a conversation, if it pertains to business, I want to be respected as a guy who knows what he’s talking about. And that to me holds more weight than anything else. When you sit down with company heads, you could sit down just as talent and they’ll talk to you as talent. Or you can sit down as talent with business acumen and it’s a different ball game.
Heed Magazine: You’ve gained major popularity and respect in the industry, so what kind of legacy do you ultimately hope to leave?
Kevin Hart: I think I’m showing comedians of our generation that it’s not just about being funny. There’s so much more to success; it’s about branding yourself. The perception that you’re putting out there could eventually become your reality. How do you want to be perceived? I think a lot of young guys don’t understand that it’s not just about going out there to make people laugh for two seconds; it’s about, ‘what is your plan?’
And as you get closer to that plan any relationship that you incur will eventually come back, I guarantee you. That’s one thing that I’ve learned. Any hand that I’ve shaken, any person that I met when I was Joe Blow, now that I’m this guy Kevin Hart, has come back. That’s why I treat everybody with respect. I’m always a nice pleasant guy to meet because when they come back to you, they remember. They say, “Let’s talk about ways for us to do something together.” Now it becomes a partnership conversation. It’s a respect thing.
Be sure to check out “About Last Night” in theaters NOW! Check out the extended trailer and take your valentine to see the hilarious film!