You know the stars that land a big role almost immediately after getting to Hollywood? The ones that steadily ride an upward trajectory from bit parts to starring roles in indies to starring roles in studio films to A-list status? Think Tom Cruise. Think Jennifer Lawrence. Absolutely, under no circumstances think Kevin Hart.

Ten years ago at the tender age of twenty-four, he nabbed the starring role in Soul Plane. And it bombed. Terribly. It didn’t even make its sixteen million dollar budget back. A failure before he even began, he was basically written off by the studios and forced to start from scratch, shackled with a reputation that he wasn’t mainstream enough to carry a movie.

So, over the last decade, Hart has slowly climbed his way back to the top. This weekend, he and Ice Cube are set to topline Ride Along, and in case if you haven’t noticed, Hart is damn near everywhere else too. A strong case could be made that he’s the single most popular comedian in the United States, and he could well turn into one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

Here’s how he got there…

Maximized His Relationship With The Apatow Gang
In case if you’re the last person on Earth to realize this, Judd Apatow is a star maker. He’s a man with connections who produces a ton of movies and loves working with people he’s collaborated with in the past. Hart got his start on the director/ producer’s incredibly underrated sitcom Undeclared, where he met and became friends with Seth Rogen. His three episode arc impressed Apatow enough to land a small role in 40-Year-Old Virgin. Parts in Drillbit Taylor, Five-Year-Engagement and more recently, This Is The End followed, all of which gave him opportunities to steal scenes and stay on Hollywood’s radar.

Even after Hart started building more of his own momentum, Apatow proved to be a worthy contact. He recently introduced Hart to MTV executives with a recommendation that he be given hosting duties. They agreed and a brand new partnership was born. Moving forward, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him work on more projects with other Apatow Gang members.

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