Saturday, April 13, 2024

Kevin Hart in the Post-Oscar Host Brouhaha Says With “The Upside” He’s Going in a New Dramatic Direction


Kevin Hart was in the “house” Wednesday night before a screening of his new dramatic comedy “The Upside,” in a packed Manhattan theater for mainly moms and their children. The comic’s had a hectic few weeks, what with his plans to host the Oscars, only to drop out after homophobic material from years ago shows surfaced. Then there was confusion over whether he apologized sufficiently or not. (The consensus was no.)

Now he’s done talking about that and Hart says and he wants to focus on his new film, “The Upside”, which co-stars Bryan Cranston and Nicole Kidman. It’s a remake of the popular 2012 French film “The Untouchables,” which won a number of Caesars, or the French version of Oscars. “The Upside” was screened at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival. A Weinstein Company film, it was collateral damage as part of the scandal and is just now being released. It’s unfortunate if the film, about a very rich man (Cranston), a quadriplegic since an accident, hires an unlikely young (Hart) man to be his caretaker, is now also overshadowed by this new controversy.

During the brief conversation that took place on stage before the screening, it was clear Hart is eager for audiences to see his dramatic chops. “I think that you guys have seen me through comedy, you’ve seen me do all types of comedy. I wanted to switch it up, give you guys something different. It’s the first step in a dramatic direction and I’m hoping that it’s the first step of what will be many more to follow,” he told the cheering crowd who had yet to see the film.

“You’ll get an Oscar!” someone shouted from the audience, someone who obviously hadn’t been following the Oscar imbroglio.

To the question of what it was like to work with Bryan Cranston, Hart said, “Well, Bryan Cranston is by far the best actor I’ve ever worked with. He’s the most talented man in the world from going from comedy where he used to be and now being able to take any dramatic role and make it his own is just unbelievable. Nicole Kidman, I mean, her resume speaks for itself. So, for me it was just being a kid in a candy store. I wanted to be a sponge, soak up as most information as possible and learn and take advantage of the situation. And I was lucky enough to have two people that were amazing people, not just in their craft but their personality.”

What did Hart, particularly from his role, hope people take away from the film?

The response seemed as suited to the film as his present personal situation.

“It’s a movie about understanding people, you know? We as people tend to judge and sometimes you assess judgment based off of a visual,” said Hart. “This movie is showing that you should really get to know and understand people because when you do you learn. And what you learn about people is sometimes the thing that would change you, not only opinion but just your approach to dealing with people on the whole,” he said. “So I’m hoping that term ‘upside’ and how the upside can go hand in hand with what we’re experiencing in today’s time. You know, we as people just need to be a little more patient and understanding and allow growth within ourselves.”

Because there were so many moms and their kids in the room, Hart was asked the question not many men are asked, which is how he balances fatherhood and taking time for his kids with his heavy work schedule and being a self-professed workaholic.

“Well, I will tell you this because like you said there’s so many mothers here, you need an amazing woman to help you with that so I didn’t get so much credit,” he said.

“I definitely don’t do it by myself. I have help and I try to make sure that my time with my kids is strictly their time so I devote that six p.m. to ten or nine, whatever their bedtime is to just getting in my time and trying to shut down what I can’t. So, you know, it’s also going back to communication. And understanding that I have goals and working hard for it. And the end result is all for them so when everybody’s done, I’m gonna follow the game plan and all understand what the endgame is, everybody’s pretty much a part of it. So they’re very supportive,” Hart said. “My wife does a major part in helping me with them. And I would just say that I definitely don’t take for granted the help that I have. I understand how much work goes into the dealing with households and so kudos to all women here that hold it down… “Enjoy the movie guys!” And then Hart was off to the next stop — a SAG screening and Q&A — as part of the movie’s publicity blitz.


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