Hollywood’s handling of diversity became a front-burner issue earlier this year following the melanin-challenged list of Academy Awards nominees and ensuing #OscarsSoWhite controversy. But for Kevin Hart, it’s been a central fact of his nearly two-decade career, and he’s developed his own way of coming at it — one that doesn’t leave a lot of time for passive hashtag activism.
“These are real problems,” the actor-comedian tells EW in an interview for this week’s cover story. “But I’m not gonna go and bark and gripe to bring more attention to them. I’m going to try to break down some doors so I can be an example of how it can be different. I mean, in the heart of all of this [#OscarsSoWhite] stuff, me and Ice Cube even had a No. 1 movie overseas for a little bit! That was Ride Along 2.”
“Cube and I, we talked about this,” he continues. “Let’s just be groundbreakers. Let’s figure out a way to get a studio to believe in us and back us and help us really bring this thing that’s a vision into reality… I’m not standing out here with a f— you attitude. That’s not who I am. I don’t have that in me. I’m standing out 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 now those doors that people were saying were closed, I have a platform where I can open some. And I can put actions behind my words without bitching and complaining.”
That includes pursuing parts originally intended for more “mainstream” stars (like Ride Along, which was originally slated to go to Ryan Reynolds) — or even species: “Look, I played a white bunny at one point!” he exclaims, laughing. That would be Snowball from this summer’s The Secret Life of Pets, the animated hit that passed $400 million at the box office this week and already announced a sequel, and it’s just one example of how Hart intends to keep fighting, one role — and rabbit — at a time.
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