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Kevin Hart and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson arrived at the Central Intelligence world premiere in full force, with their red carpet entrance being accompanied by screaming fans (from both Team Hart and Team Johnson) in buses. Although the duo has jokingly argued over who has the better fans, both Hart and Johnson expressed they have nothing but love for each other.
“We met each other for the first time probably two or three years ago at an awards show,” Johnson told The Hollywood Reporter, “but we always knew we wanted to work with each other. Since working with him I can honestly tell you that I’ve never had this type of brotherly chemistry with anyone that I’ve worked with and it’s a cool thing.”
“If we never do another movie again, then I know I got a brother for life who I have this crazy chemistry with,” Johnson added. “It’s like having a brother. We talk shit to each other. We give each other shit. We compete with each other but we have fun.”
Johnson will have the opportunity to once again star with Hart in the upcoming Jumanji reboot, which is slated for a 2017 release.
Hart expressed that their dynamic relationship in the film is just as strong, if not stronger, offscreen. “I think the best thing on set is when you can work with somebody that you don’t run away from. On breaks what actors normally do is you run to your trailer, you run to your personal space. On this set there was “cut” and we would sit and talk and we would laugh. There’s 40 minutes of downtime that flew by in seconds because you have other things to talk about.”
“There’s a substance, there’s life and there’s values and that’s what I think we respect the most about each other where the friendship is really going,” added Hart. “We both have an understanding for the separation of business and family. You need that and I think here it’s what you have so I think this is what you guys are getting to see what you see.”
Director Rawson Marshall Thurber told THR that the action comedy was the best directorial experience of his life thanks to working with Hart and Johnson. “We took Dwayne Johnson, the biggest action star in the world, and make him the funny guy, and we took Kevin Hart, one of the funniest people in the world, and made him the straight man, so we’re just flipping the roles a little bit.”
Thurber continued: “When you start with Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart in your movie, you’re starting with pocket aces and you are trying to not screw up the hand. It’s very collaborative, open and trusting. You can’t ask for more as a director.”
Central Intelligence centers on two high school classmates, with Hart’s character as the popular kid who grows up to be an accountant and Johnson’s character as the overweight, bullied teen who years later ends up working for the CIA. After they connect with each other via Facebook, Hart is dragged into an action-filled mission with Johnson to return encryption keys to a U.S. spy satellite program. Aaron Paul also stars in the film along with some surprise appearances.
“It’s lots of fun but we have this really important anti-bullying message at its core that especially now with social media and cyberbullying, it’s really an important message to shine a light on that and say this is not OK,” said Thurber. “Even a mean Instagram post can really have an effect.”
Hart and Johnson not only made filming memorable for Thurber but also for most of the cast, including Danielle Nicolet (who plays Hart’s high school sweetheart and wife) who expressed that the dynamic between Hart and Johnson spread throughout the set, creating a funny and collaborative environment.
“I so appreciated about this film and about Rawson that he wrote two women that are very funny and different in their own rights, and that I never had to apologize for finding a joke on the page. I do a lot of comedy and it’s the first time I ever experienced that. I took that away with me. Kevin [Hart] and Rawson made me so much more brave with my content.”
Amy Ryan, who plays a CIA agent in the film, also enjoyed getting to be one of the boys. “It’s fun to be badass,” Ryan told THR. “It’s nice to not be the wifey-poo, but to be a strong woman with a job and a leader of other men behind her. It feels good.”
Following the screening of the film, guests including Johnson’s Furious 8 co-star Scott Eastwood and Tia Mowry-Hardrict made their way to the afterparty outside the theater where the street was transformed to a high school reunion bash, similar to the one in the film, complete with a dance floor, letterman jackets and the centaur high school mascot.
Central Intelligence hits theaters on June 17.
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