Kevin Hart’s grand plan to take South Africa to the world

Kevin Hart at the South African premiere of his new film, “Die Hart: The Movie”. Picture: Supplied

Kevin Hart at the South African premiere of his new film, “Die Hart: The Movie”. Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 26, 2023


Last week, on the eve of the South African premiere of his new film, “Die Hart: The Movie”, internationally acclaimed comedian Kevin Hart held a press conference at The Palazzo, Montecasino.

In “Die Hart”, which is available on Amazon Prime Video, the comedian stars as a fictionalised version of himself who’s seeking to break away from being pigeon-holed as a comedy star.

However, in order to land a life-changing role as an action hero, Hart must first take part in a gruelling training camp set up to equip him with the requisite skill set.

Hart opened the conference by addressing a question on whether, in future, he’d focus on broadening his horizon as an entertainer to showcase his other interests.

“I think I have about 22 years in the business now, and there’s nothing that I haven’t done. I’ve kinda done it all.

“So when you talk about being a leading man and doing it in ways that showcase your talent, I can point to a lot of things that have already done that — ‘True Story’, where it was a thriller, and I’m a killer in the thriller, and you can go to ‘The Upside’, where this was an emotional drama with me and Bryan Cranston where I’m the lead, or ‘Fatherhood’, which is a drama about me and the death of my wife and kids mother.”

He went on to reference other films and other projects that point to his versatility and his work as a leading man.

“But because you do the ensembles and the choices that broaden your horizon internationally, that’s where I think the POV gets skewed. What I’ve done a great job at is choosing my co-stars to help elevate and raise the individual star.”

In support of this, he referenced his work with Ice Cube on “Ride Along”, Dwyane Johnson on “Central Intelligence”, and Will Ferrell on “Get Hard”.

These were all calculated decisions, he added. Through his production company, Hart Beat, the 43-year-old is making key choices about his career and working on developing other content that broadens the company’s footprint across the globe.

“With ‘Die Hart’, you’re looking at something that falls into the same space as what I did with ‘Real Husbands of Hollywood’, which was playing around with the false reality of Kevin Hart.

“It’s a genre that not many people can do. Not many people can play in the space of making fun of themselves while being themselves and then still go and do other things where they have to be serious outside of themselves.

“So there’s an art within the thing, and you can either choose to see it or ignore it.”

The art in this is Hart creating the narrative that he wants to become an action movie star, but the powers that be won’t let him: “That’s the joke within the joke. And the joke continues.”

One of his goals with “Die Hart” is to get to a place where there are multiple sequels in the future, which he said will be very similar to what Austin Powers did.

Kevin Hart at the South African premiere of his new film, “Die Hart: The Movie”. Picture: Supplied

But aside from this, his focus is on developing world-class content.

“The idea of a leading man is an easy one. It’s shown that I’m a leading man or can be. That’s not a priority. The priority is leading content. The priority is global IP (Intellectual Property) and opportunity that puts you in a position to be evergreen.

“I have no will or want for my star to shine brighter. I don’t think it can at this point. I think I’ve done it all,” he said.

One of Hart’s priorities going forward now is to uplift and amplify the communities around him. That’s a big part of why he was here in SA in the first place.

He’s looking to generate international exposure and embed his company here in the hopes that he can develop material with local writers, actors, producers and directors.

“Coming from the States, there’s a lot of propaganda attached to the idea of what South Africa is. There was a moment where I was talking about the world of shots that I got to get before I come because I don’t know what’s gonna happen.

“But it was all based off news and stories, and once I got here, it was more of a thing where I was like, what the f***?

“It’s not only beautiful, but the people are dope. The energy is exactly what one of the States would be. The story of your truth is not told enough.”

High up on his agenda is to get this story told in an authentic way that highlights the country’s immense talent.

Hart explained: “Here's the beauty of coming here: in this trip here, I’m getting better educated as to what and who the talent is from here.

Kevin Hart at the South African premiere of his new film, “Die Hart: The Movie”. Picture: Supplied

“And being embraced the way that I am, the best way to embrace back is to highlight your own and take the moment to give the opportunities to your own. It’s all a plan, and it’s not one that I’m just talking about; it’s one that I will deliver on.”