If you were dreaming up comedy pairings, Ice Cube and Kevin Hart might not be the first duo that would pop to mind. But after their buddy-cop movie “Ride Along” became a surprise hit in 2014, these two actors have a bankable chemistry that can’t be denied.
Back again with “Ride Along 2,” Cube and Hart aren’t taking anything for granted. The two were in St. Louis last month promoting the movie and even at the end of a long day of touring the city, the two still seemed to enjoy each other’s company laughing and roughhousing in the hallway before sitting down for an interview.
“We’re trying to stop black-on-black crime, but you can’t help it with Kevin in the room,” Cube quipped with a smile.
Hart and Cube have an easy rapport with each other that appears very genuine.
“Our chemistry is amazing on and off-screen,” Hart said, gushing about his co-star. “We’re now friends. He just continues to work. You’re looking at a guy who’s not content with any level of success. We want the best for one another, which ultimately spills over into our projects. That’s why ‘Ride Along’ came out great and that’s why it made so much sense to come back and do ‘Ride Along 2.'”
With “Ride Along 2,” several new actors joined the cast, including Benjamin Bratt, Olivia Munn, and the occasionally outrageous Ken Jeong. But is it possible to maintain quality when adding quantity?
“We told Ken Jeong, we got a great thing going, don’t mess this up,” Cube said with a chuckle. “Nah, nah, it’s cool. You throw anybody between this mix and it’s going to be hard for it to miss. We’re all so professional in how seriously we take what we’re doing. All the actors coming in with that intensity, we won’t stop until it works.”
“It’s contagious, it spills over,” Hart added. “When you have that attitude it spills over to everyone on set. That admiration and love shows up and everybody’s excited about coming to work the next day. That’s the type of environment you want to work in.”
Director Tim Story is also back, giving “Ride Along 2” even more continuity. But it is Story’s ability to balance the action and comedy that makes him such a vital asset.
“Man, this dude is so laid back,” Cube said. “To be honest, I don’t know how he gets anything done. I’ve never worked with a director that can keep that cool, laid-back flavor throughout the movie. He’s the same way every time I see him which is cool, calm, and collected; and he does some of the biggest and best movies and does it without raising his voice.”
Ice Cube is a man of many talents and, on the day of the interview, it was still less than 24 hours after the announcement his seminal hip-hop group NWA was going to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“I’m still trying to process everything, I’ve never felt this way before. I’ve done a lot of things in entertainment, but this has to be one of the top things that have ever happened. Just to be set in stone like that after all the fight to be legitimate. (NWA member Eazy-E’s) fight to be legitimately going from doing street stuff to doing music and the group’s fight to be legitimate was an ongoing struggle,” Cube said.
From music to movies, Ice Cube is something of an entertainment icon and, from the look of things, he and Hart might be building a lasting “Ride Along” franchise, especially if things continue to go so smoothly behind the scenes.
“We had a slew of people come in and they all said the same thing, ‘This is the most fun I’ve had, we’re having such a good time,'” Hart said. “It didn’t even feel like work.”