ART STREIBER for EW; ILLUSTRATION by ZOHAR LAZAR

How a 5-foot-5 comedian became the biggest star in Hollywood – and where he'll go from here

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August 04, 2016 at 03:23 PM EDT

It may be a mixed year at the cineplex so far (sorry, Zoolander 2; Huntsman, we hardly knew you). But it’s a very good year to be Kevin Hart: The one-time standup comedian is now a bona fide box-office star, with the three movies he’s already released this year — The Secret Life of Pets, Central Intelligence, and Ride Along 2 — racking up a combined half-billion dollars domestically, and a cameo-packed concert film, What Now?, due in October.

Also on the way: A Jumanji reboot with his C.I. partner-in-crime Dwayne Johnson, a remake of the acclaimed 2011 French drama The Intouchables with Bryan Cranston, a VOD comedy network, a memoir, major ad campaigns for Nike and H&M, and a partridge in a pear tree. (Not really, but there may be turtle doves: He’s also set to marry longtime fiancée Eniko Parrish on Aug. 8.)

“I got lucky,” he tells EW. “Granted, I’m here, and now I’m working my ass off to stay where I’m at, but you can’t foresee this being where it is now. I [tell] my kids, ‘Hey guys, where Daddy is — I went to community college for two weeks! Daddy rolled some dice.”

He’s being modest, of course. After more than two decades on the fringes of the business — the years hustling on the comedy-club circuit and making the most of bit parts in movies and TV — Hart has slowly and methodically made his way to the top. And he plans to climb even higher. “I want to be global,” he says. “I want to be an international star. And I’m gonna work as hard as I can to get there. Tom Cruise, Will Smith — I’m following a blueprint.”

But Hart won’t let himself turn mercenary to get there. “I’m not standing out here with the ‘f— you’ attitude,” he continues. “That’s not who I am. I don’t have that in me. I’m standing here with a we-all-can-win attitude, so let’s help each other and let’s get to a place where everybody can succeed. And doors that people were saying were closed, I now have a platform where I can open some — and put actions behind my words without bitching and complaining about what happened before. I’m slow-walking this to reality.”

For more on the star’s thoughts on fame, family, and making it in the industry, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Friday, or buy it here. And to get more Hart — including his take on the new Ghostbusters reboot, why he and Dwayne Johnson were meant to be life partners, and what franchise he wants to take over next — stay tuned for extras from the interview on EW.com and subscribe now for exclusive interviews and photos. 

ART STREIBER for EW; ILLUSTRATION by ZOHAR LAZAR

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