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Jumanji The Next Level

Kevin Hart has had a whirlwind last few months. First, he stepped down from the Oscars after some old jokes emerged. Then, he got in a car accident that left him fairly immobile and out of work for a while. He started to get back on his feet by the time Jumanji: The Next Level press rolled around and now his pals in the hit series, Dwayne Johnson and Jack Black in particular, are speaking out about how the actor is a changed man.

According to Kevin Hart’s Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle and Jumanji: The Next Level co-star Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart emerged from the accident, perhaps not unscathed, but most certainly with a new perspective.

Kev and I have had some pretty moving conversations about his life journey and purpose after his accident. The experience he went through was both sobering and enlightening. When someone stares death in the eyes—and lives—you instantly become newly informed on just how fragile life is. Give an optimistic person a new lease on life and then get outta the way, because they’re gonna be rollin’. Kev is rollin’.

In a profile over at Men’s Health, Dwayne Johnson described what he feels happened to Kevin Hart and what his pal and fellow actor’s trajectory has been since then. Johnson, in particular, has been supportive of Hart since his accident, even leaving his honeymoon early to do a talk show interview for his friend, who was supposed to kick off Kelly Clarkson’s daytime slot.

His other co-star Jack Black recalls going to see Kevin Hart when he was still in the hospital and the car accident was fresh. He noted there was a common refrain from his co-star during the visit, mentioning,

I visited him a few weeks after the accident, and he seemed to be coming from a different place emotionally and spiritually. He kept on saying that he was going to take this opportunity to breathe and slow down and appreciate his family.

Kevin Hart’s wife Eniko Parrish also said in the interview that Hart has been more present when at home and not focused on the grind of work when doing family activities. But if you ask Kevin Hart, the accident put him on the path to getting to be the best version of himself.

I’m on the road to becoming the best version of myself. And I thought I was on the right road, but something happened. Fuck, I see now that I need to make a U-turn and go two blocks, then make a left. That’s the road I’m supposed to be on. So I still have many of the same goals, but now I’m just going down a different road to get there.

And while he can only do so many pushups and run so many miles right now, he’s slowly inching toward that goal, mentally and physically, every day.

Kevin Hart recently went back to work on his first movie production post-accident, although he did do a good chunk of the press work for Jumanji: The Next Level at the tail end of last year. A few days ago, he was spotted in Atlanta, presumably getting to work on My Own Worst Enemy, a movie that had been in the works with director Tim Story before the car accident.

It had been put on hold while Kevin Hart recovered previously.

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Hart getting back to work just a few months after his September accident is impressive and his gains are not to be underestimated. The actor went from barely being able to move to doing intense moves with barbells and even planks by the time Men’s Health conducted its interview. He tells sobering stories of the time after his accident however, noting one big victory occurred because he was able to actually dress himself.

So there I was, hiding in my closet, trying to put my socks on. One morning I got to walk out and declare, ‘I put my socks on!’ Goddamn, that was a big day!

He laughed while telling the story, but it’s a good reminder that the car crash led to Kevin Hart having back surgery and could have been a much bigger deal. For now, he’s getting back on his feet and moving forward and hopefully he'll have the work-life balance he desires as he gets busy in Hollywood again. Hopefully that work-life balance won't come at the expense of working with his buddy The Rock again.