Kevin Hart has put his comedy on hold recently to delve into more serious work.
In June, he wowed audiences with his emotional Netflix drama “Fatherhood.” Now he goes a step further with the limited series “True Story,” which is available on the
giant beginning Wednesday.
In the show, Hart plays Kid, the biggest comic in the world who is on the cusp of being a huge movie superstar thanks to his latest blockbuster that’s about to gross $1 billion dollars. But after a night out with his sketchy older brother Carlton (Wesley Snipes) in their hometown of Philadelphia, he’s now stuck trying to cover up a murder while in the middle of a stand-up comedy tour.
“True Story” is in no way a comedy. In fact, the show, created by “Narcos” showrunner Eric Newman, is a glimpse into how someone as famous as Hart navigates everyday life, which includes dealing with tabloids, super fans, and the occasional racist.
Hart explained over a recent phone call with Insider why he used this project to get some things off his chest, how he convinced Wesley Snipes to be involved, and the racist encounters he’s had that inspired a moment in the show.
Along with the whole covering up a murder aspect of the story, the show also delves into what it must be like to be in your orbit: splitting family and the job, tabloids, the super fans, racist assholes on planes. Was this almost a palate cleanser for you?
I will say the beauty of this project is that it is a stress reliever. This was a project where I can get off all the things I can’t get off in life. I can’t do certain things, I can’t say certain things, but this character that I created was based off of just the onslaught of shit that you deal with wearing these shoes. You’re basically a
and it’s like how much can you put on your hard drive before it’s full? Then when it’s full what happens?
Where is the release? How do you get this off your chest?
Exactly. You can try to disregard as much as possible but it’s still on your hard drive. So Kid, when you look at the character and what he’s going through, there’s just so much and the biggest thing for him is he knows he’s spread himself extremely thin because he values others. So when he’s not valued or respected it bothers him.
And then you have the perfect acting partner across you for this story in Wesley Snipes. When you and Eric Newman pitched this to him were you confident at all he would agree to come on board?
I got to be honest, we were nervous. He’s Wesley Snipes! In no world am I ever going to downplay or disregard how amazing of a talent and how legendary he is. The attachment of him to this project brought immediate credibility. So I pitched it to him and he thought it was a comedy, we were like no.
I will say I didn’t laugh once in any of the episodes.
Look, it’s not a comedy. And [Snipes] said, “You know what, Kevin, if you’re going to take this serious then I have no problem with talking more. But I just need to know that you’re not playing and you’re serious.” And I gave him that promise and he said, “Okay, I’m in.” And that was the best day ever.
Is there a scene in this show that you were most nervous to shoot?
I think probably the murder scene. We did that on day three or four [of the production]. So the fact that we started off with that, that was the only time, and I don’t want to say nervous because I don’t get nervous, but just that was when I needed to be the most prepared and focused.
Everything was on this moment because if it doesn’t work then the show doesn’t work. There was such a calm and quiet tone on set that day because people were like holy fuck, he got it. Everybody knew then we had our show.
Let’s go back to racist assholes. In the first episode of the show, Kid encounters a white passenger on the plane he’s on who starts quoting his jokes and isn’t scared of using the “N” word. Was that elevated for dramatic effect or have you experienced that level of blatant racism?
Oh my god, definitely. [Laughs.] No question about it. People get so comfortable with where they feel they can be with you because of what you do. And sometimes that line is just ignored. There is no boundary, and you have to find yourself being patient and chill so you don’t come off like an asshole. You have to be real cool how to handle things and handle people because things can switch on you. So you find yourself always taking the higher road.
But like you said, now this experience is in the memory bank, how can you release that?
It’s making people aware they are wrong, but doing it in the most professional way. And that’s what this scene was. It was a scene that showed Kid having control, but that’s Kevin in a small way, too.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.