‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’: Kevin Hart on Playing a Powerless Bully

     October 13, 2017

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Kevin Hart is very funny but he’s also very serious. I interviewed him on the set of Ride Along some years back, and when I interviewed him again with a group of journalists on the set of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, he was the same guy—funny, sharp, and deadly serious about the work.

Last October, a group of fellow journalists and I traveled to Hawaii to visit the set of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. The upcoming film finds that the board game has taken a new form, this time as a video game. When four teenagers find themselves in detention, they discover the Jumanji video game. After booting it up and choosing characters to play, the get sucked into the game and discover they’ve been transformed into their avatar bodies. Armed with new abilities and no idea how to escape, the quartet must figure out how to finish the game and get back to the real world.

After filming was wrapped for the day, we got to sit down with Hart and talk a bit about the film. During our discussion, we talked about how he was playing a powerless bully, trying to find the substance of the characters, working with Dwayne Johnson on the script, his work ethic, trying to constantly educate himself, and much more.

Check out the full interview below.

jumanji-welcome-to-the-jungle-final-posterWhat can you tell us about your character?

KEVIN HART: What can I tell you about my character? I play a small guy in a different world that’s complete opposite of the high school version of who this individual really is. But the thing that’s amazing is that who he is on one side is completely different from the person that he’s forced to be on the other side. With every movie that you do, you always want to make sure there’s an inside message, something that people can walk away and take from the film. I think we put a lot of small innuendoes in here that people will be able to kind of wink at and understand and agree with. You want to switch up what you can. You want to be different and separate yourself from other things that have been done. I think in this case, we’re doing so with all of the characters, including myself.

Are you having fun with strength being your weakness?

HART: So far so good. You’ve got to find different humor. With the small persona of Fridge, that’s one note, so we wanted to find different things. In this particular case, Fridge is a bully. My character’s a bully, in this world, he’s forced to be a bully in a different statue. Without speed, without strength, a guy who’s allergic to eating cake, it’s a bunch of weird shit that we gave him, but it works, because we grounded it to where it makes sense.

How are you enjoying bouncing off Jack Black?

HART: Jack is great man.

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