With Universal racking up a runaway hit in The Secret Life of Pets, a sequel felt like it was always going to be in the cards. Seeing as that first film was such a success between the studio and Illumination Entertainment, it lead to The Secret Life of Pets 2 being here to sit and stay for its audience’s approval.
Sequels come with their own baggage though, as characters like Kevin Hart’s reformed villain Snowball need to up the ante in Round 2. And with this formerly bad bunny now taking on the mantle of Captain Snowball for The Secret Life of Pets 2, it’s important to remember those villainous roots.
It’s something that Kevin Hart himself realizes, and he explained it to CinemaBlend during the press day for The Secret Life of Pets 2. His thoughts started with a reflection of where Snowball was as a character in The Secret Life of Pets, and as he gave the remarks you’re about to read, he wasn’t afraid to slip into character, voice and all:
The beauty of it is processing the story. I was a villain, so as a villain, you’ve got an edge to you. You’ve got a gear that you’re always in, because you’re a bad guy. You’re the leader. And as the bad guy and as the leader, it’s my job to make sure that everybody understands what I’m saying, but I’m also insecure. So if I say stuff, I’m like ‘Does that make sense? Did everybody get it? Are we all on the same page?’
Understanding Snowball’s character in The Secret Life of Pets is key to then accepting his transformation into Captain Snowball in The Secret Life of Pets 2. As the former leader of the “Flushed Pets” of New York, he ready to wage war against humans and domesticated pets alike, on behalf of the discarded.
But as any comic book or superhero fan knows, a good villain isn’t too far off from a good hero. Most times, there’s one key ingredient that separates a character from being on either side of the fence. In the case of Kevin Hart’s Snowball, the secret ingredient is love.
Kevin Hart continued to explain the genesis of Captain Snowball in The Secret Life of Pets 2, with the following points:
In this one, I find love, and what I mean by finding love [is] the villain was the villain because nobody wanted him. Once he was given the opportunity to be wanted, and he got to feel what a family felt like again, he knew that’s what he’s been missing. Hugs and moments to share. That’s what he’s been missing, which is just like anybody in real life.
At the end of The Secret Life of Pets, we saw Snowball taken in by Molly, the young girl who wanted to give him the world as her pet, and eventually did. When we reunite with the two in The Secret Life of Pets 2, we see that Molly has given Snowball a bit of a complex as well: a superhero complex.
The Captain Snowball persona all rests on Molly’s actions towards Snowball as her beloved pet. That young girl may think it’s just a game, but with Snowball’s personality being what it is, he takes to the role in a more serious manner than most others would. Kevin Hart rounded off his comments above with the following information pertaining to that effect:
When Snowball gets that [loving environment/family,] he’s excited about every single day. And now I’m caught up in the false reality of being a superhero, because the one person I’m closest to has been dressing me up as one for so long that I’ve got to be a superhero.
Kevin Hart has a clear passion for the role of Snowball in The Secret Life of Pets 2, as well as in the series’ previous entry. It’s a love that comes from looking at his own experiences as a person, as a father and as a fan of animated films. During our discussion, Hart reflected on how the big draw for him to be in The Secret Life of Pets franchise was to leave something as timeless as Eddie Murphy and Tom Hanks had done with their respective roles in the Shrek and Toy Story franchises.
Much like love has motivated Snowball to become the most heroic version of himself in Captain Snowball, Kevin Hart’s love of family and animation have inspired him to make sure his performance as the character goes full steam every time out.
You can enjoy that performance for yourself as early as tonight, when advanced showings of The Secret Life of Pets 2 start showing up in theaters. And if you’re interested in further coverage on the Universal/Illumination produced film, stay tuned to us here at CinemaBlend, as we’ll have more to come in the next couple of days.