The brand new comedy Ride Along features the comedic talents of Kevin Hart and Ice Cube in a buddy cop film where Ben (Hart) tries to get in James’ (Cube), good graces so that he can marry his sister. To prove he isn’t the video game slack off that he thinks James is, he goes on a 24-hour ride along with the no nonsense cop, hoping to prove him wrong and that he has what it takes to be a cop just like him and prove that he will be the right man to marry his sister. Despite James’ attempts to thwart the engagement, the two become entangled in a crime that they themselves must solve.
At the film’s press day, Ice Cube and Kevin Hart talk about the mutual respect that they have for each other, the serious tone that kept the film grounded, the on-screen chemistry, if they pictured themselves being here when they were younger, and more. Hit the jump to read the entire interview.
Mr. Cube, you have such a storied career from you rapping days and Boyz in the Hood to this, did you see yourself being here when you were younger?
Ice Cube: It’s been an amazing ride. I always tell people that, if you get me a pen and paper when I was a teenager say write out how your career would go, I would probably short change myself, for real. I’m just extremely excited about what I have accomplished, but also, you know, I’m young and I have a lot more to offer, I have a lot more to do. I’m actually restrained by the process of Hollywood as the creative ideas I have, it’s impossible to do them all. That’s a little humbling. But I always felt like I fight through it, and make sure that I’m always creative.
Compare the buddy cop styles of working with Kevin Hart on Ride Along with working with Jonah Hill on 22 Jump Street.
Cube: With Kevin, it’s totally different with how we are on screen. Kevin is a pro. He’s one of those guys who is constantly late. He’s one of those dude’s who is always on point. Ready. He’s one of those guys who can make the crew laugh, but also make the camera laugh too. A lot of guys can’t do that. Some comedians, I have to pulled to the side and say: You are making the crew crack up, but when we shooting you ain’t got no energy, what the f—, you know, sit down between takes and save your energy. He’s not like that. He’s energized as a bunny. I don’t know if it’s coffee or cocaine or what it is, he’s the Energizer Bunny, but he is always on, and it’s good, and it’s fun. It’s a great thing to work with somebody who is such a pro. And I have fun now.
With 22 Jump Street, it’s crazy with the way they film. With digital cameras you don’t have to cut now a days, so we were just rolling and rolling, sometimes 12 minute takes. It’s a crazy process.
Can you tell us what you liked about working with each other?
Kevin Hart: There is a mutual respect. Whether his was greater or mine was greater doesn’t matter. Because when you come in and you are aware of what theKnowing Cube’s background, and knowing the comedic careers that he’s launched, and knowing that he’s going into producing and directing and writing, just as a man who has taken his career seriously and opened so many doors, I was excited. After meeting with him and talking and vibe-ing with him, and talking about the project and seeing his passion, I grew more excited. Once we got on set, we both already had the same agenda, which was to knock this movie out of the damn park and make sure we both brought our A-game. It takes a true professional to let someone like myself come in and have the opportunity to be funny and riff, and Cube didn’t mind doing that. That’s a major thing. Because you got so many people who would try to battle with the funny. Cube did a great job of playing his lane and letting me do my thing, and I take my hat off to him for that. It’s a different level of respect I have for guys like that.
Cube: Working with Kevin, he is being such a pro get busy. Not only on set, but in meetings. Just how he makes everybody feel good, how he makes everyone feel a part of the process. I’ve haven’t seen somebody command a scene command a scene since somebody like Eddie Murphy. Kevin can just hold you hostage until he wants to let you got. Everybody is captivated, it’s just an amazing talent. And it is just magical to see go there and they are able to capture all audiences with it. Not just the hood audience, but everywhere else that exist in the world. He can get everyone into it.
What do you think is the funniest scene you shot together?
Hart: There are so many laugh-out-loud moments in the movie. My favorite has to be the warehouse, where I slapped Cube and stuck him with a knife. That was so fun! Those were some long days, and he just had to sit there in the chair. Cube didn’t have a lot of activity to do. It was just me, running around. But, there was this one moment where I stick him with the knife. We were really laughing out loud so much, during that take.
Cube: I like the gun range scene. I like strip club scene, funny as hell because of all the circumstances involved. It’s just a great movie, it’s a fun ride. The title is ride along. The audience really wants to be in that back seat ride a ride a long to see how James can torture Ben. And how Ben is resisted. Ben is like a cockroach and shit, he won’t die, he won’t go away, he won’t give up. He keeps coming back. It’s dope how the game and aspect of it helps in real life. Which was as a cool twist, because every gamer playing Call of Duty or whatever they thinks is in Falluja, they can really get down like this. It’s cool to see somebody like that and someone to apply that.
What do you think about interjecting a serious tone into a comedy like Ride Along?
Cube: In a great comedy, you have to have those moments. Not to many. But you know, those moments help you to ground to comedy a little bit. If not, it’s just a wacky, Naked Gun. You want to be grounded in reality. At points in the movie you want to be grounded.
Hart: That was huge in our conversations, in the beginning, before we started the film. Cube was vocal in saying, “I want this movie to be different. I want you to be along with these guys and I want it to make sense.” Within the original script, those pieces were already there. It was just about tightening and making it our own. (Director) Tim Story did a good job of making sure we were all on the same page. The big thing he talked about was grounding it. I asked Tim every day to make sure that I wasn’t all over the place with my levels. I want to be funny, but it has to be a believable funny. Because if I’m just out there screaming with my hands up, I’ll look like a cartoon, at the end of the day. But, I feel that he tracked both of our characters. You see these vulnerable moments, and I really think that elevates the material.
Both of you have worked with Tim Story in the past, so what was it like coming together to work with him again?
Cube: I don’t know how Tim gets anything done. He is in command of the set, but his posture is like he’s been invited. He’s somebody’s friend. It’s like somebody invited him. But he is so relaxed, so easy to work with. He knows exactly what he wants. When I first worked with him on barber shop, I would work with him, 17 or 18 hour days, he knew what he wanted, he didn’t know how long it would take to get what he wanted. But now, he’s quick, fast.
Hart: Tim is a different level of professional. Tim is greedy as hell though. I’ve never seen someone eat more out of the damn day. The good thing about Tim is that he has such a great rapport with his actors. The most important thing for a director is being able to communicate. When you communicate comfortably, regardless of what you’re saying, it can always be processed. Even if it was him critiquing me, it came off so comfortable to where it was okay. It was such a great rapport that everybody was comfortable. You have to credit your director with that because, if he’s high strung, and you see a vein in the middle of his head every day, and he’s always taking his hat off and looking at the time, something ain’t right. But, we never had that feeling, ever.
When did you realize that you guys made it?
Hart: I still don’t know if I’ve made it. The minute I think about it is the minute I go crazy. I don’t like addressing it. It’s a dream to me. That’s why I don’t go to sleep. I’m afraid I close my eyes. This shit will be over.
Cube: I guess to myself, more than to anyone else. My parents were extra supportive of getting me into hip hop. My mom knew it was positive hanging out with Dre than haning out with the Crips. They were supportive since day one. My brothers and sisters are still like “what do you think you’re doing? What you are thinking running Fat Boyz and RUN DMC.” So it took a couple of checks to come in and roll up in something new for them to respect me.
Hart: I didn’t have to prove anybody wrong, but my mom passed away six years ago, but she was the most supportive person, in the start of my career, the same way that my brother and my dad were like, “What the fuck are you doing?! This is stupid. The comedy thing is stupid.” But once the checks came in, my brother was like, “You alright!” Everything changed once the checks started coming in.
In the movie, there are plenty of fight or flight moments, are there some moments that you can recall that were similar that happened to you in the past?
Hart: Oh, yeah, I have tons of those. You think that’s the first time I’ve thrown a woman as cover? My rule is to save myself first. There was one incident at a movie theater where my girl got mad at these guys who were talking behind us. I never looked back there, but she was like, “Will you all just shut up!” And I just got up and moved three rows in front. She was like, “What are you doing?!” I was like, “You better get up here! I don’t play the fighting games.”
Cube: When we first started to do our thing, me and Dre went to pick up this girl that was singing for us. Then we saw some youngesters walking by, they were going to school though. So we paid no attention. Then when we got a few houses down they started shooting at us. So I’m yelling to Dre, “DRIVE! DRIVE DRIVE!” Dre was like, what the f— you looking at. I mean he’s looking at the review mirror to make they were shooting at us.
Ride Along opens in theaters this Friday, January 17.