Ice Cube & Kevin Hart: The Newest Buddy Comedy Stars

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1Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

We're all for a funny twosome. That should be evident in our overwhelming love for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. One comedian is great, but there's nothing wrong with doubling the fun. Or, in the case of Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, double the dirty jokes. The two teamed up for this month's slapstick adventure comedy Ride Along, so naturally we had to meet up with them to get the deets. Now sure, we found out what it was like filming action scenes and foiling bad guys, but we also got what we really came for: some totally off-kilter crack-ups. Leave it to these two to rib each other throughout an entire press day and leave room after room of reporters rolling with laughter. Although, it's not like we expected anything less...

Ice, your career has come so far from back in the day when you preached f*ck the police, and now you're playing a police officer. What are your thoughts on the trajectory?
"It's been an amazing ride. I always tell people that if you gave me a pen and piece of paper when I was a teenager and told me to write out my career and how I wanted it to go, I would have probably short-changed myself compared to what it's been, for real. I'm just extremely excited about what I've accomplished, but I also feel like I'm young and I have a lot more to offer and a lot more to do. I'm actually restrained a little bit by the process of Hollywood as far as the creative ideas I have. It's just impossible to do them all, you know?"

You gave Kevin a hard time in the movie; was it like that on set?
"With Kevin, it's totally different than how we are on screen. Kevin's a pro. He's one of those guys who's constantly late…no, I'm just playing. He's always on-point and ready. He's cool because he'll make the crew laugh but also make the camera laugh, too, and a lot of guys can't do that. Some comedians I've had to pull to the side and say, 'You're making the crew crack up, but in between you ain't got no energy. What the f*ck? Sit down.' But, Kevin ain't like that; he's the Energizer Bunny. I don't know if it's coffee or cocaine or what. It's his personality; it's not an act. It's a great thing to work with somebody that's just a pro."

You guys have such amazing chemistry on screen — what did you each like most about working with each other?
Kevin: "Well, first of all, there's definitely a mutual respect. Whether his was greater or mine was greater, it didn't really matter. When you come in and you're aware of what a person does, your level of excitement grows. Knowing Cube's background and knowing the career that he's launched with him now going into producing and directing, I was excited."
Ice: "With working with Kevin, it's just been fun seeing such a pro get busy. Not only on set but in meetings. How he makes everybody feel good and makes everybody feel part of the process. I haven't seen somebody commit to a scene since Eddie Murphy. Kevin can come in and basically hold you hostage until he wants to let you go. Everybody's captivated, and it's just an amazing talent. It's magical to see somebody go there and capture all audiences with it — not just the hood audience, but everywhere else that exists in the world. You know, Chinese hoods, African hoods…he can get everybody into it."

What was the funniest scene that the two of you shot together, the most standout moment?
Kevin: "There are so many laugh-out-loud moments in this film, but I think my favorite has to be the warehouse when I slapped Cube and stuck him with a knife, because that was so fun. Those were some long days, and you [Cube] just had to sit in a chair all day because it was all me running around. But, this one moment where I stick him with the knife and I'm going back and forth — we were literally laughing out loud so much during that take."
Ice: "I like the gun range scene…"
Kevin: "When they put my little ass in that box. Again, it's always, 'Did we get Kevin in the box?'"
Ice: "And, I like the strip club scene. It's funny as hell because of all the circumstances involved. It's just a great movie — it's a fun ride. The title is Ride Along, and audiences really wanna be in that backseat, you know? They want to ride along and see how James can torture Ben and how Ben is resistant. Ben is like a cockroach…he won't die, he won't go away, he won't quit."
Kevin: "I think cockroach is a little extreme…"
Cube: "It's dope how the gaming aspect helps in real life, which is a cool twist because every gamer who's playing Call of Duty thinks that if they was in Fallujah they could really get down."
2Photo: Quantrell Colbert.

You've worked with the director, Tim Story, on several things. What's that like?
Kevin: "Tim's greedy as hell. I've never seen a person eat more throughout the damn day. There was never a time — we went through a phase where I was just smacking shit out of his hand. I'd let him get down to the last few pieces and then just smack it out of his hand. But, the good thing about Tim is he just has such a great rapport with his actors. He just lets us get so comfortable. You have to credit your director with that, because if he's high-strung and you start to see a vein in the middle of his head at a point during the day and he's taking his hat off and on, you know something ain't going right. And, we never had that feeling."

In this movie the characters have to constantly prove themselves to each other — was there a point in Hollywood where you knew you made it, and you didn't have to prove it anymore?
Kevin: "I still don't know I made it. I think the minute I think about it is the minute I go crazy. This all is a dream to me, which is why I don't go to sleep — I'm afraid if I close my eyes it's gonna be over, so I stay up all the time."
Cube: "You know, I don't know if I had anybody that I felt like I had to prove it to. You know my parents were extra supportive about me getting into hip-hop. Even the NWA thing, the f*ck the police, everything. My mom was like, 'Why you gotta talk like that,' but she knew it was positive hanging out with Dre instead of hanging out with the neighborhood Crips. They were supportive from day one, and once you've got your moms and pops support, you're good. You know, my brothers and sisters were still like, 'What you doin', who do you think you are, the fat boy's Run DMC?' So, it took them awhile — it took a couple of checks coming in, and for me to roll up in something new, for them to really respect me. They were like, damn, how'd you get that?"
Kevin: "I'll tell you, my mom was definitely the most supportive person in the start of my career, but the same way as Cube, my brother and my dad were like, 'What the f*ck are you doin', man? The comedy thing is stupid.' Then once something really happened, my brother was like, 'You know, you all right.' Everything changed after awhile. Once the checks start coming in."
Ice: "Once the checks start coming, everything changes and everybody respects you. Even if you're selling dope, when the money comes in everybody be like, 'Oh, okay, don't worry. Go on to work!'"

Kevin, you have a great fight-or-flight moment when Cube scares you in the movie. Do you have any stories from your personal life when you've been scared and have had an embarrassing reaction?
Kevin: "Oh, hell yeah. I have tons of those. I've pushed several women in front of violent situations. My rule is save myself first. There was one incident at a movie theater where my girl got mad at these guys because they were talking behind us. There were like three guys, and I never looked back there, and she was like, 'Will y'all just shut up?' And, I was like 'ahhhhh,' and I just got up and moved like three rows up. I looked back and was like, 'You better get up here.' I don't play the fighting game."
Ice: "When we first started to do our thing, me and Dre actually went and picked up this girl that was singing for us. As I got up from the front seat to the back seat, we saw some youngsters walking by — they was going to school, though, so we didn't pay no attention. And then, when they got a few houses down, they started shooting at us. So, I'm yelling, like, 'Drive! Drive!' Dre's looking, like what the f*ck! He's looking in the rear-view mirror to make sure they were shooting at us, meanwhile I'm like, 'Drive, motherf*cker!'"
Kevin: "As you can tell, there's two different realms of growing up here. It's two different stories. I was at a movie theater, and Cube was in the most violent situation ever. That story just took a turn for the worst out of nowhere. First they were school kids and then they just started shooting? They made it out though, so I guess it was cool."

How did you get along working with Tika Sumpter, who plays Cube's sister in the movie?
Cube: "Yeah, Tika was great; she's such a professional. And, after looking at us for so long, you can't wait to look at Tika."
Kevin: "I don't know, I think people can wait. I'm pretty good to look at. You know, no one's asked about 29 minutes and 56 seconds. I have a scene with my shirt off in this film and I feel like it's going to change my career. This is what people have wanted to see for some time now. At 29 minutes and 56 seconds is when it happens, so if you want to circle that in whatever you're writing down to make sure people are aware. Everything about that says 'action.'"