From a physical standpoint, nobody is ever going to confuse Dwayne Johnson for Kevin Hart. The WWE wrestler stands at a stately 6'5" tall, and while the comedian is a pretty buff dude, he is also famously only 5'4". We expect that this size differential will create a few laughs by itself in the actors’ first collaboration, the upcoming two-hander comedy Central Intelligence, but what you may not have expected is that it created a special cinematography issue when the two men were standing together in a shot.
Last week, I had the pleasure of quickly chatting with Central Intelligence director Rawson Thurber on a press line at CinemaCon – the annual convention held in Las Vegas for theater owners – and it was while discussing the comedy that he revealed the interesting problem that comes with having Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart as your leads. I asked the filmmaker to what degree we could expect the movie to take advantage of the stars’ size in its action and comedy, and Thurber explained,
Certainly when you’re dealing with two people who are totally different sizes, and you’re shooting in 2.35:1 widescreen, it poses some framing issues. It keeps you mindful. But, though Kevin and Dwayne are very physically different, they’re very similar people. They’re both incredibly driven, they’re very smart, they’re very generous, and they take the work seriously, but they don’t take themselves too seriously. They’re cut from the same cloth, and that lent itself to a real ease on set. They had instant chemistry, which is a great thing for a director.
For those not overly familiar with aspect ratios in film, 2.35:1 widescreen is a reference to the shape of the screen – which is nearly two and a half times as wide as it is tall. This is pretty standard, especially in modern Hollywood movies, but one can see how it might be a bit problematic when one of your leads is more than a foot taller than the other. I suspect we’ll see at least a few scenes in Central Intelligence where Dwayne Johnson needs to get down to Kevin Hart’s level. Hell, we’ve already been seeing it in preview stills and the trailer:
What makes this funny bit of trivia even funnier is the fact that it looks like Central Intelligence won’t be the final collaboration between Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. We learned earlier this month that the two men are planning to once again work together on the upcoming remake of Jumanji. Director Jake Kasdan might want to give Rawson Thurber a call for some advice.
Central Intelligence will be in theaters on June 17th, and be sure to stay tuned for more updates in the weeks and months to come!