Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart couldn’t be more different. One is a towering mountain of muscle whose action man credentials include spear-tackling a building, while the other is a motormouth funnyman so diminutive in stature that the first guy could use him as a spear. And now Hollywood has decided that they need to team up. I mean hey, it worked for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito back in the day, right?
Central Intelligence adds a new spin onto this familiar trope though: In the upcoming comedy from director Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball, We’re the Millers), Johnson plays “Bob, who grew up being bullied as a nerdy, overweight kid but eventually blossomed physically and became a lethal CIA agent. Going to his 20th high school reunion, Bob runs into Calvin (Hart), a strait-laced accountant who had previously reigned as big man on campus. When criminals try to frame Bob, he enlists the supremely reluctant Calvin to assist in a secret government mission to clear his name.”
The twist is that the comedic Hart now fills the role of the straight man, while the muscley Johnson is playing it all up for gags. USAToday revealed the first images from the film showing off the duo and also spoke to the actors about it, with Hart revealing that this switcheroo was not a natural thing for him.
“I was like, ‘Stop playing with me. DJ is going to be doing all the comedy? Really?’ But I said, ‘All right, can I talk to him?’ When I heard his take on it, it was a no-brainer. I said that we had to do it.”
Johnson adds that just the image of the two of mismatched pair on screen together was enough to sell it to him, but knows that they have to back up that pitch with something more.
“With the visual alone, we had a shot at grabbing people. That visual is sizzle. And now we [to] have deliver the steak.”
Hart went onto to explain that acting in the high school segments of Calvin’s story, when he was still young and popular was easy. Playing the deathly serious older Calvin though took a lot more effort, but he needed to do it.
“There were moments I had to pull back when I wanted to be funny. But it wasn’t my role in this film. That was [Dwayne’s] role. It’s expanding the acting portfolio I am trying to build.”
He also went on to give praise to his co-star’s comedic sensibilities… not too much praise though as he jokingly explained.
“He’s as big as you’d think he is, and he did a great job pulling the comedy off, making it believable. But it’s not like I’m going to be taking him on the road with me.”
For Johnson though, while he has certainly played roles with funny sides, doing strictly comedy is a bit new-ish. Luckily he still gets to also put his prodigious physical talents to use as well. Talents like lifting stuff. And by stuff, I mean Kevin Hart.
“Lifting Kevin Hart, it’s like lifting a beautiful woman. Only, of course, it’s not a beautiful woman.”
Central Intelligence opens in theatres on June 17, 2016.
Last Updated: November 20, 2015