Actor and comedian Kevin Hart isn’t afraid to show his dramatic side. It’s a side he’s embraced in films like “The Upside” and “Fatherhood.” Now, he’s showcasing it again in the Netflix limited thriller series “True Story.”
“The simple idea came from watching ‘Narcos.’ Loving the show, loving the dynamic behind it,” Hart told “CBS Mornings” co-host Gayle King. “And wondering what I would be like in the setting of turmoil like that.”
Parts of the series are moments from real experiences, Hart said.
“You have to pull from things that’ve happened in some way, shape or form. Now, yes, do you amplify, exaggerate? Of course. That’s how you make good television,” he said. “But the world of Kevin Hart, the actual star, and the world of Kid, the actual star, there’s similarities. There’s, like, parallel world. But then it makes a drastic change.”
Wesley Snipes stars alongside Hart in “True Story.” It’s the latest project produced by Hart’s company, HartBeat Productions, the entertainment powerhouse behind his big budget films and stand-up specials.
But Hart’s hits don’t end there. His digital and radio platform, Laugh Out Loud Network, has garnered over 2 billion content views. He shoots most of his LOL Network material at HartBeat Studios in Los Angeles, including “Straight From The Hart” and “Cold as Balls.”
“‘Cold as Balls’ is a show where I interview athletes and we sit inside a cold tub and it’s my version of hard-hitting questions that aren’t hard-hitting at all,” Hart said.
Hart says of all his titles — actor, comedian, entrepreneur, businessman — business is the priority.
“Business is evergreen. Business doesn’t go away. Put something that lasts. Right? Let’s make the HartBeat name last. That’s it,” he said.
Hart said he learned how to run a business by being “a sponge in a room.”
“Street smarts,” he said. “You put a book in front of me, tell me to read it, tell you what I read, I’m gonna have some trouble. I’m gonna fall asleep 12 times reading that book.
“But you put me in an environment where people are talking about things? I can pick it up fast. I can understand it fast. I can execute. I got an ambition behind seeing if what was said is true. And then I’m really good at relationships. I’m really good at continuing conversations after they were had. I’m good at building on things.”
When Hart thinks about how he went from a kid in Philadelphia to where he is today, he said he laughs.
“I laugh at the fact that I’m in this seat, that I’ve been able to see the things that I can see. Or that I have seen,” he said.
Hart, who is 42 years old, has said he wants to be a billionaire by the time he is 45.
“It’s not about the money,” he told King. “It’s about the title of a billionaire. Right? Like, what does that mean? How did you get there? What was your road to getting there, right?
“The point is about the other Black kids that are from where I’m from. … From the inner cities of other places that are told that so much is impossible. Well, you could see that it is possible.”
Others can see “someone that did it, that can talk to you in a way that you understand and that you know,” he said. “Going back, having conversations, giving information, providing opportunities. It’s the bigger side of what that means, right? Like, you’re no longer for self. You’re for other people.”
That outreach was on display this past week when Hart surprised organizations across the country with a $100,000 donation each and 10 families from the Special Needs Network in California with Christmas shopping sprees, all sponsored by his partnership with Sam’s Club to “bring the merry” this holiday season.
Asked what that philanthropy means to him, Hart said, “It’s bigger than me. … Yes, you made yours, you do yours, but ultimately you gotta provide for others. It’s about being a nice person.”
When Hart was growing up, he said he didn’t have “a real dream.”
“Where I was raised and how I was raised, those conversations came far, few and in between,” he said. “In our environment, you kinda become complacent of what you’re going to do or what you can be.”
Now, he wants to be more than just a comedian.
“I wanna be known as a guy to take advantage of all opportunities that were presented. And found opportunities that weren’t presented. And took advantage of those too, you know?” he said. “For me, my happiness comes from challenge within me. And at the end of my life, I can look and say I lived it to the highest level for me.”