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TCL Chinese Theater was home to some of America’s iconic stand-up comedians, directors and comedic actors at Monday night’s premiere of Ride Along. For the cast and crew, it certainly was a ride that kept them laughing all the way to the movie premiere of Tim Story’s film.
The movie focuses on a chatty high-school security guard (Kevin Hart) who takes a ride-along through Atlanta’s tough streets with soon-to-be brother-in-law and top police detective (Ice Cube) to prove his worthiness of marrying the detective’s younger sister (Tika Sumpter).
The stars of the film arrived with a crowd of loud cheers and shouts from across the street on Hollywood Boulevard. But it didn’t seem to deter Cube from his focus and nonchalance. “The levels of professionalism in putting this project together has been no other,” said Cube. “In this movie, stars around us are bigger, and the chemistry between Hart and me is instant.”
Hart added, “I’m on top of the world. This is the biggest movie of my career, and it’s a great feeling when a studio believes in your project. It’s the beautiful part of stand up comedy; it segueways into your career.
Story, who directed Fantastic Four and Barbershop, also revealed that the chemistry that Cube and Hart had on and off screen allowed them the freedom to sometimes read away from the script. “You give them the parameters and you let them go,“ Story told The Hollywood Reporter. “I like to get honesty from the actors, and if you can capture that, you tend to get humor and drama. Cube and Kevin are absolutely classic together and I can’t wait for everybody to see the movie.”
For the cast, producers and directors, who were exchanging constant hugs and handshakes as longtime friends Monday night, it was a memory of all play and no work, so it seemed. “I remember laughing, I barely remembered working,” said co-star Tika Sumpter, who plays the girlfriend of Hart’s character. “I made sure I was always on my toes because Kevin doesn’t always say what is on the script.”
Bryan Callen, who is working on his second comedy special, also notes the improvisation in the film. “This is my second movie with Kevin, and you can never keep a straight face. He is always surprising you, and that’s what you get when working with improvisational actors. Tim is also the type of director who lets you do what you want within the framework of the story.”
Other castmembers who walked on the carpet were Bruce McGill, Gary Owen, John Leguizamo and award-winning composer Christopher Lennertz. Laurence Fishburne, who did not appear on the carpet, also co-stars in the film.
Jokingly McGill adds, “I was the white guy in the movie, so I was not in it all the time. Cube and Hart are the heat of the movie. They really bring the energy on and off the screen.”
Appearances were made by Los Angeles Clippers player Chris Paul and Andy Dick, who ran swiftly down the carpet without stopping for photographs. 12 Years a Slave’s Michael K. Williams showed his support for the movie and cast. He tells THR he will soon begin on a movie project dedicated to a late legendary musician, right after he wraps up the fifth and final season of Boardwalk Empire.
Ride Along opens Friday via Universal Pictures.
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