Kevin Hart is one of the most renowned and successful comedians of all time. The Philadelphia native has starred in numerous blockbuster films and has headlined worldwide comedy tours. For his latest project, Hart reveals another dimension of his artistry as an actor in his first dramatic role in the Netflix thriller True Story.
In the seven-part limited series, True Story centers on a world-famous comedian nicknamed Kid (Hart) as he stops to do stand-up performances in his hometown of Philadelphia and attempts to reconnect with his older brother, Carlton (Wesley Snipes), who has become a financial liability to him and threatens to destroy the empire he’s worked so hard to build. As his worst nightmare comes true on the first night back in town, Kid and Carlton have to protect each other against insurmountable odds to keep their dark secret from being discovered.
Regarding his creative process in preparing for his leading role in the dramatic series, Hart admits that he reveled in the opportunity to reveal another dimension of himself as an actor and noted that he drew from his own experiences to bring authenticity to the role.
“I think the biggest difference is in the truth, right?There has to be a grounded version of reality that people can relate to, especially for me if you’re coming from a place where everybody equates the laugh to your face and to your name,” explained Hart. “How do I take that away? How do I remove that? Well, I got to make sure that we do the work in building up the foundation underneath the individual. So the real work came in the development of our character.”
Underscoring the similarity of his own life with that of his character Kid, explained how Kid’s development is central to the thematic thrust of the series.
“When you look at the little nuances like the fact that he doesn’t have a name in the film—that’s intentional They call him Kid but it’s not his name and his career is parallel to mine,” shared Hart. “The relationships with people around him; how he handles his people; his relationship with his brother; the way he handles his brother; there’s a lot that went into the levels that makes Kid the man he is, and more importantly, his patience, right? He’s a guy built off of patience and then no patience. He wants quick results. Without a quick result that brings him comfort, without an answer, a feeling of ease, he’s at a place of discomfort and what does that do? It pushes him to a place where people don’t know what he’s capable of and that he only knew that he was capable. So there’s a lot that that I had to just process and think about.”
Throughout the series, themes of family and trust are explored and Snipes’ character Carlton pushes Kid’s loyalty to the limit.
“Is it better to have fame and fortune? The dynamic of having fame and fortune is unique. “It’s not common for many people to have experienced that so there’s a huge learning curve not only for the artist but there’s another learning curve for the family and friends. When you say you can’t roll with them that way, they say, ‘Ah, you’ve changed,’ and I think it’s a mind trick,” said Snipes, regarding the complexity of dealing with fame, success, and how evolving comes with a new set of challenges that are explored throughout the series. In reality, you have to change because the circumstances, the environment around you has changed so you have to change. If you don’t change, you’re not going to be in those environments for long. We need more of our elders, to teach us, to sit with us, and tell us what it’s like to live with fame and fortune. What’s really happening you know? Because you could be successful but then you also have to know what to do with the success. It’s like learning how to fight and knock people out but you also have to know how to manage that power.”
True Story is currently streaming on Netflix.