The Fretts on Film Interview: Kevin Hart
Nobody’s hotter in Hollywood right now than Kevin Hart, who’s riding the momentum of his buddy-cop hit Ride Along—which topped the box office for three weeks. He’s well-positioned for Valentine’s Day weekend with the opening of About Last Night, a remake of the 1986 Rob Lowe-Demi Moore rom-com. I interviewed Hart for today’s New York Daily News, and here’s the transcript of our heart-to-Hart.
Had you seen the original film? I was familiar with the original movie and I watched it again to refresh my memory. What we were trying to do was not emulate it but use it as a model and a mold to do what we did, which was modernize it. It gave us a good starting block.
How much has dating changed since the ’80s? So much. From the Tweeting and Facebooking, it’s a completely different world. That’s what we were trying to show.
Is there more or less casual sex now than there was back then? Probably a little more. But there’s a different level of understanding. I’m probably out of that casual sex period in my life, but I definitely went through it. And in going through it, getting it out of my system, it made me appreciate where I am now. I don’t frown upon it at all. I understand why it happened, and for me, I moved on to a place in my life where I don’t need to partake of that.
Did you identify with any of the experiences depicted in the film? Oh, man. The relationship that [my character] Bernie and Joan [Regina Hall] share I identify with completely. It’s that crazy angry couple that put their business out for everyone to see. It’s all out there on display. There’s no holding back. They’re that couple that everyone loves to hate. You don’t want to invite them because you’re afraid they’ll mess up a good time. But at the same time, they’re funny. You love to have them around because they make you laugh.
Would you say this version’s raunchier than the ’80s version? It’s a little raunchier, this one. Maybe a lot more. But it’s good. It’s in a way that people will be able to relate with a lot more and identify with these characters, which is your goal when you’re making a movie like this.
Does this movie show off a new side of you? Of course it does. This movie actually shows levels that I have. It’s different from what I was in Think Like a Man, Ride Along and Grudge Match. I’m showing chops here, and that’s what you want at the end of the day. You want your fans to see growth in your craft. They’re definitely going to see it, and as a result of that, the word of mouth is going to be very good. People are going to be talking about this film.
Did it help that you had worked with Regina before on Think Like a Man to establish that love/hate chemistry? Oh my God, so much, man. I put Regina on a huge pedestal because not only is she one of the funniest women in the world, but she’s definitely one of the best improvisers I’ve ever worked with. She never lost a beat. And I consider myself a damn good improviser. I never lost her, she never lost me. We were in sync pretty much the whole time.
Is it true that you promised her you wouldn’t get excited during your sex scenes? Yes, and I was a complete professional.
You worked with Michael Ealy on Think Like a Man, too—does that help with your About Last Night bromance? Yeah, not only are we great friends on camera, but we’re great friends off camera. When you have that chemistry, it leads to better moviemaking because it comes across as genuine on film, and that’s what you want.
Is it different working with your peers than with Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone on Grudge Match? You know what? I honestly had a great time being around De Niro and Stallone. It was a dream come true, like me being that kid in a candy store, soaking up everything like a sponge. And on this film, it was a completely different experience, because it was the opposite. Me, Mike, Regina and Joy, we have such a great rapport that it was fun watching each other work. At the same time we all motivated each other to push the envelope.
With Think Like a Man and Best Man Holiday doing so well, is there an untapped market for African-American romantic comedies that’s now being served? At the end of the day, people love good movies that everybody can watch, regardless of your race, color, shape or size. And ultimately that’s what you want to do—deliver great product. But that untapped market is just a market of great relationship movies. And About Last Night falls right into that class.
Why are two other ’80s remakes, RoboCop and Endless Love, opening the same weekend? I think that’s quite the coincidence. Time will tell next weekend. On Valentine’s Day, people who identified with the original About Last Night will come to see our approach as well as people who just want to see the movie in general.
Why should people see this movie on Valentine’s Day as opposed to RoboCop or Endless Love? People should go see this movie a) because I’m in it b) because it’s a movie that appeals to everyone. We’re dealing with real relationship problems and this is what people need to see. You’re going to laugh and you’ll probably keep yourself from making the same dumb mistakes you’ve made before.