Kevin Hart and Ice Cube couldn’t have had more disparate paths leading them to star together in the new comedy Ride Along. One has spent the last few years making a name for himself as an actor and becoming one of the biggest stand-up comedians in the world, while the other came up as a hip-hop artist during the rise of gangster rap and has worked as an actor for nearly twenty five years. Their differing perspectives and experiences add a certain extra layer to the chemistry between them in their first movie together, but it also led to an interesting time listening to them talk at a recent press event for the film held in Los Angeles.
Set up in the front of a large room press conference-style, Hart and Cube took questions for more than 20 minutes, talking about not only the making of their new film, but also their career goals for themselves, and what it took to get them where they are today. What exactly did they have to say? Read on to find out!
Ice Cube’s Parents Were Super Supportive Of His Hip-Hop CareerIf the last 30 or so years have taught us anything, it’s that "parents" and "rap music" are two things that don’t get along too well. It’s practically become a stereotype that mothers and fathers don’t like their children listening to songs with adult language about violence, and in many cases this is totally understandable. But when Ice Cube was first getting his career in music going he actually had the full support of his parents.
Asked if he has ever had anything to prove to anybody during his run as both a rap artist and an actor (similar to the character that Kevin Hart plays in the film), Cube revealed that he had no one but himself to prove anything to and that all along he had the full support of his family, whom he called "extra supportive."
Upon hearing this at the press conference, Hart was rather incredulous and asked if Cube’s mother was okay with all of the curse words in N.W.A.’s music. "She was like, ‘Why do you have to talk like that?’ but she knew it was positive," Cube said. "She knew it was more positive hanging out with Dre than hanging out with the neighborhood Crips… so they were supportive from day one."
Of course, his siblings were a bit more skeptical about his chosen career path. "My brothers and sisters were still like, ‘What are you doing? Who do you think you are? Run DMC?’ So, it took them a while. It took a couple of checks to come in, take me rolling up in something new for them to respect me, to be like, ‘Damn, how’d you get this?’"
The Idea Of Being Scared Conjures Very Different Memories For Both Of ThemRemember what I was saying about Kevin Hart and Ice Cube coming from two very different places? Never was that more evident than when the two Ride Along stars described extreme fight or flight moments in their real lives similar to the ones faced down by their characters in the movie.
"Hell yeah. I had tons of those. I’ve pushed several women in front of violent situations," Hart said jokingly, referring to a scene in the film where his character, Ben, shoves his girlfriend toward what he believes is a burglar (but is actually just her brother). "You think that’s the first time I’m thrown a woman in front for cover? No. My rule is save myself first." He then recounted a story of a situation in a movie theater that almost went wrong.
"There was one incident at a movie theater where my girl just got mad at these guys, because they were talking behind us," Hart said. "It was like three guys, and I never looked back there. She was like, ‘Would you all just shut up?’ I turned to them and I was like [makes a inhaled breath sound]. I just got up and moved like three rows in front of me and I looked back and she’s like, ‘What are you doing?’ and I was like ‘You’d better get up here.’ I don’t play the fighting game, so that was definitely something that was pulled from a real life experience."
Answering the same question, Cube recounted a moment from early in his rap career while working with Dr. Dre. Rather than having a comedic end like his co-star’s, however, the former rapper’s tale wound up taking a dark left turn.
"When we first started to do our thing, me and Dre, we actually went and picked up this girl that was singing for us," Cube said. "As I got up from the front seat to the back seat we saw some youngsters walking by. They was going to school though, so we didn’t pay it any attention. Then, when they got a few houses down, they start shooting at us. So, I’m yelling, ‘Drive, drive, drive," to Dre, looking like ‘What the fuck are you looking at?’ He’s looking in the rear view mirror to make sure they were shooting at us. ‘Drive, motherfucker, please!’"
The difference in tone between the two stories was not lost on the comedian. "As you can tell, two different realms of growing up with me and Cube," Hart said, encouraging a laugh from the press room. "There’s two different stories. I was at a movie theater. Cube, apparently was in the most violent situation ever. That story just took a turn for the worse out of nowhere. Yeah, they were school kids and then they start shooting…‘We made it out, though. It was cool.’"
Ice Cube Has Exceeded His Own Expectations For Himself, But Still Feels He Has A Lot More To OfferIce Cube was only 19 years old when N.W.A.'s :Straight Outta Compton" was released and recorded, and his career has only grown stronger in the years since. He’s not only carved out a solo music career to go along with his group work, but he’s also been getting steady work as an actor for more than two decades in a large variety of films (something very few rap artists-turned-actors are able to do). It’s the kind of career people dream about and envy – to the point where Cube even admits that what he has managed to achieve has even gone beyond his own hopes..
"It’s been an amazing ride," Cube said, reflecting back on his long career. "I always tell people that if you gave me a pen and a piece of paper when I was a teenager and said write out how your career, how you want it to go, I would have probably short-changed myself, compared to what it’s been for real."
As happy and proud as all of his achievements have made him, though, he still has a lot of ambition and things he wants to accomplish – particularly in the movie industry, which he says has actually stifled his creativity to a degree. "I feel like I’m young and I have a lot more to offer and a lot more to do," he said. "I’m actually restrained a little bit by the process of Hollywood, as far as the creative ideas I have. It’s just impossible to do them all. So that’s a little humbling, but I always felt like I fight through and make sure that I’m always creative."
Kevin Hart Went Through A Phase Where He Constantly Smacked Food Out Of Director Tim Story’s Hands On The Ride Along SetWhile Ride Along is the first time that Kevin Hart and Ice Cube have worked together, both have had previous experiences working with director Tim Story. In 2012 the former was considered the breakout star of Story’s hit adaptation of Steve Harvey’s book Think Like A Man, while the latter’s relationship with the filmmaker goes back to 2002’s Barbershop. As a result things were rather easy-going between the actors and the director on the new film – so easy-going in fact that Hart even took to playfully repeatedly hitting food out of Story’s hands.
"Tim is a different level professional," Hart said when I asked what it was like for Cube and him to reunite with Story. "Not only is he easy to work with, Tim is greedy as hell. Tim is greedy. I have never seen a person eat more throughout the damn day. We went through a phase, remember I was just smacking shit out of his hand. I would wait for him to get something and get down to his last three pieces and just smack it out of his hand, because he just ate."
Joking aside, the comedian had nothing but nice things to say about the director, in particular complementing his communication skills. Rather than getting frustrated with notes on set, Hart recounted not only that he would always understand what Story was thinking and where he was going with an approach, but also that he was open to new ideas from the actors. "It was such a great rapport, that everybody was comfortable on the set and you have to credit your director on that. If he’s high-strung and you see a vein in the middle of his damn head every day, and he’s always taking his hat off, looking at the time, this movie ain’t right. Something ain’t going right, but we never had that feeling, ever."
Cube echoed his co-star’s thoughts about the filmmaker’s laid back attitude, but also remembers a time when things were a lot different. "I first worked with him on Barbershop," Cube said. "That first week was rough. We had 17/18 hour days because he knew what he wanted. He just didn’t know how long it was going to take to get what he wanted, but you know, now he’s quick fast… I can’t wait to work with him again."