“Ride Along” is an action comedy starring Ice Cube as James Payton (a no-nonsense, tough-talking Atlanta cop) and Kevin Hart as a hyperactive, video-game enthusiast named Ben Barber, who wants to become a police officer. Ben is dating James’ sister Angela (played by Tika Sumpter), but James does not approve because he thinks Ben isn’t good enough for Angela.
When Ben gets accepted into the Atlanta Police Academy, James thinks up a way to possibly scare James off of being a police officer and out of Angela’s life: James invites Ben to go on a cop ride-along with him and plans to make the ride-along so dangerous that Ben will want to give up the idea of becoming a police officer. But James’ plan backfires in more way than one. Here is what Ice Cube and Hart said during an interview at the Los Angeles press junket for “Ride Along.”
What attracted you to “Ride Along”?
Ice Cube: It was actually at another studio for a while. They had shown interested, but we didn’t really know who we wanted to use to play Ben. Who can we find that’s right? It was just in development hell. And then Donna Langley over at Universal showed interest in the project. Tim Story [director] and Will Packer [producer] and pieces started coming together. Tim and Will had a great relationship with Kevin. And now we have the perfect team to make this movie. It came together at the right time at the right place with the right people.
Hart: Like he said, it’s all pieces of the puzzle fell in place. It was a no-brainer. Tim and Will, I don’t think I can trust anybody more in the business than those guys. Those are my guys. And having the opportunity to work with Cube was huge!
Simple fact: Cube has launched so many careers. Granted, I’m coming at the guy with some steam, and he’s hot, but this guy is no fluke. It’s no fluke that his success level is where it is. So going into it, it was nothing but positive thoughts.
And once I got to sit down and talk to him and vibe about the material and the scripts, we both had the same agenda, which was making it a great film but making it different and unique. And we wanted to stand out. And I think he did a great job of voicing that, and I did a great job of receiving it and bringing what I could to the table to up the material as well.
What other action buddy comedies inspired you?
Ice Cube: I felt the time is right because there hasn’t been [a movie like this] since “Bad Boys.”
Hart: Yeah, “Bad Boys” was the last one.
Ice Cube: “Lethal Weapon,” “48 Hrs.” It’s been so long since it’s been done on a top level. We knew we had an opportunity to do it on a top level.
What’s cool is we had a movie like “Training Day” that was out there. This is “Training Day” upside down. So we had a good movie to use kind of as a stencil for what this is in the comedy world. We just knew all the ingredients are there. It’s about, “How do we cook all these good ingredients and come out with a dope movie like ‘Ride Along’?”
Can you describe each other as your “Ride Along” characters?
Hart: James is one of the most stubborn individuals I’ve ever met for the simple fact that James knows no wrong.
Ice Cube: James knows no wrong. Believe that! Ben is a little twerp caught in the virtual world.
Hart: The virtual world is the real world to me.
Cube: And the reality of things is that he’s just not good enough for my sister.
Hart: I think Ben is great for your sister. Your sister loves Ben. It’s not a fluke that she loves him because he’s a good guy. Maybe she’s caught up in a virtual world.
Ice Cube: My sister used to bring home puppies too. I had to break her from that.
Hart: Puppies are soft. Hey!
For more info: "Ride Along" website