Ice Cube and Kevin Hart Ride Along 2

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart Ride Along 2

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart Ride Along 2

Cast: Kevin Hart, Olivia Munn, Ice Cube
Director: Tim Story
Genre: Action, Comedy

Synopsis: Ice Cube (22 Jump Street, Barbershop) and Kevin Hart (Get Hard, The Wedding Ringer) lead the returning lineup of Ride Along 2, the sequel to the blockbuster action-comedy that gave us the year's most popular comedy duo.

In Ride Along, fast-talking security guard Ben Barber (Hart), newly accepted into the academy, joined James Payton (Cube)"a quick-tempered Atlanta Police Department detective"to patrol the streets of Atlanta. In an attempt to prove that he was more than just a video-game junkie, Ben tried to show his future brother-in-law that he deserved to marry James' sister, Angela (Tika Sumpter of Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas, Get on Up). While on what was supposed to be a typical ride along, Ben became entangled in the detective's latest case…and experienced the most insane 24 hours of his life.

Not only did their wild night lead them to the most notorious criminal in Atlanta, Ben played a key role in bringing down the crime lord…and made it that much more difficult for James not to give him his blessing to marry Angela.

The sequel picks up about a year after our heroes' last adventure. Plans for a quick trip to Miami go awry when their unorthodox policing gets them into a compromising situation that threatens to derail a major case…and Ben and Angela's upcoming wedding day.

ot content to work as a beat cop, Ben, a recent academy graduate, now aspires to be a detective like his soon-to-be brother-in-law. However, James still doesn't think that he has what it takes for the job. With the wedding approaching, the accident-prone rookie is laser-focused on planning but wants to join his mentor on what should be a routine trip from Atlanta to Miami. At Angela's request"and Lt. Brooks' (Bruce Mcgill of Lincoln, Law Abiding Citizen) begrudging permission"James reluctantly takes Ben with him to Miami to follow up on a lead connected to a drug-ring case he's been trying to crack.

Upon their arrival, they run afoul of Maya (Olivia Munn of HBO's The Newsroom, X-Men: Apocalypse), a crack-wise homicide detective with a no-b.s. exterior and sense of humor even drier than James. She has no problem going toe-to-toe with the guys, and lets them know that Miami is her turf.

The case also brings them to AJ (Ken Jeong of The Hangover series, Pain & Gain), a shady, cocky computer hacker who fancies himself a ladies' man. AJ reluctantly becomes a third wheel for James and Ben when he reveals evidence that implicates a well-respected local businessman in a series of felonies.

Enter the incredibly wealthy Antonio Pope (Benjamin Bratt of Miss Congeniality, TV's Law & Order), a charismatic executive who harbors a vicious streak and rules South Florida's drug trade. If Ben and James can convince the authorities that the philanthropist is a brutal crime lord capable of unimaginable violence, they'll stop his spree. If they fail, they'll not only unleash every weapon in Antonio's arsenal…they'll have to explain to Angela why the wedding is missing both the groom and the best man.

Ride Along 2
Release Date: February 18th, 2016

About The Production

Together Again: The Brothers-in-Law Return

In early 2014, Universal Pictures' Ride Along became an instant hit, grossing more than $150 million worldwide as audiences fell hard for the unlikely comic pairing of Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. And while most sequels don't begin preproduction until well after moviegoers experience the first, Ride Along 2 was a follow up that the filmmakers knew they had to do.

According to producer Will Packer, 'The sequel was actually contemplated while we were shooting the first film. We knew we had magic with the dynamic of Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, and we felt like people would want to continue this journey with them. We wanted to come back and do it again and elevate what we did the first time around."

Director Tim Story agrees, offering that early in the editing process he felt they had a franchise in the making. 'We knew fairly quickly when we showed it to an audience, and the studio asked us to start thinking of an idea for the sequel, that we had something good on our hands. It was cool because that doesn't happen often."

When last we left Ben and James, they were barbecuing together with the family in the backyard…after they'd brought down a multinational crime ring led by the legendary kingpin Omar (played by Laurence Fishburne). The sequel brings the dynamic duo of Ice Cube and Hart together again, and Hart knew that their comedic connection"on- and off-screen"would continue to resonate with audiences. He explains: 'The chemistry that we both have, it's something that you can't teach; people click or they don't. Ice Cube and I clicked instantly, like it wasn't even work for us."

Ice Cube agrees with his fellow star: 'It starts with respect, and we respect each other's careers and where the other is in the game today. We both play our position. Kevin Hart doesn't have a problem playing Boo Boo to my Yogi Bear. We maintain the right balance, chemistry and tone. He's like my little brother, so it's just fun."

The filmmakers, recognizing the possibilities, maximized the dynamic between the two stars. 'You've got the great juxtaposition of Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. Their real-life personalities that they bring to these characters play off each other well," commends Packer. 'With Ice Cube's stern, straight, classic, iconic scowl, alongside Kevin Hart's silliness and a good script by Phil and Matt…we were in business."

Tim Story shares that the humor that is a result of their on-screen chemistry is like nothing he's seen: 'They get what makes each other funny. Ice Cube is one of the best straight guys I've seen in the history of film, and Kevin Hart has mastered the comedic tone. I liken it to the combination of Charles Grodin and Robert De Niro in Midnight Run; the balance of what they bring just makes the humor work."

Joining Packer and Ice Cube as fellow returning producers were Larry Brezner and Matt Alvarez. According to Alvarez, who has been Ice Cube's producer for some time, 'We were fortunate not only to get the guys back together, but multiple members of our core cast and crew. It's a testament to Phil and Matt's screenplay that so many were excited to return, and it would be impossible to achieve the delicate balance of comedy and action without the sum total of their work."

Tika Sumpter who plays Angela Payton, James' sister who is now engaged to Ben, was elated to be back with her on-screen brother and fiancé. She says: 'It was like a family reunion; we started where we left off." The actress offers that she and Hart have a great friendship, and he keeps her on her toes the entire time they are shooting together.

In her best Hart impersonation, Sumpter reflects on her experience shooting Ride Along 2: 'When Kevin Hart first saw me, he said, -Uh…Tika, this isn't a real wedding. Don't be all up on me. I'm taken already!' Then later, he would switch it up and say, -Do you need tongue in this take?' He is just so silly. I have to say, -Okay, little man, relax.' We have a brother-sister loving relationship. I love our chemistry, and it's fun to be a part of anything that he's a part of."

We return to our story a few days before the wedding, when Ben and James should be simpatico and Angela should be done explaining her choices to her overprotective big brother. Sumpter reflects on their connection: 'Ben is the man of Angela's dreams because he accepts her for who she is. He doesn't try to change her, and she doesn't try to change Ben. She loves him for all of his quirks and weird, nerdy antics, and she thinks he's a funny, smart guy. Even though he makes some decisions that are sometimes a little off, she loves him to his core. That's anybody's dream."

Cops and Kingpins Supporting Cast

Actor Ken Jeong, well known for his comedy work in movie and television projects from The Hangover trilogy to his current ABC series, Dr. Ken, was tapped to play clandestine computer hacker AJ, who becomes a key piece in the puzzle to solve James' case in Miami. If you need something done on the down and dirty, AJ is your guy. Granted, you'll have to navigate his cryptic comments and womanizing.

Tim Story had long wanted to work with the talented Jeong, and Ride Along 2 was the perfect project to make that happen. The director shares: 'I've been a fan of Ken's for a long time––obviously from The Hangover movies, but he's also done a lot of other small bits that I've enjoyed. When this idea came up of having a computer hacker in the movie, I knew Ken would bring a whole other voice that would work perfectly." Ice Cube was equally pleased to have Jeong join the returning cast members, commending: 'When I heard Ken was going to be part of the movie, I knew we had something special. He has his own brand of comedy."

Even though they're both extremely physical comics, Hart and Jeong found their rhythm on set and struck the perfect comedic tone together. Hart says: 'It was never about everybody being crazy and wacky and trying to out-funny each other. It's about finding the levels of what works for him in a scene and what works for me in a scene. When there is a scene where Ken's dominating, you have to allow that, take some steps back and make the scene work by reacting. And vice versa. We found a good balance."

The match isn't always a smooth one for James, as AJ gives him someone else that he has to corral. With his trademark dry style, Ice Cube deadpans: 'It's hard dealing with Kevin Hart on one hand and Ken on the other. It's like dealing with two toddlers––one of them acts 9 years old and the other one acts 10."

For his part, Jeong was excited to challenge himself with the physicality of the role. He offers: 'Tim told us to get ready for a workout, and it was the best boot camp ever." The performer took it in stride, however, knowing that it was all in the name of comedy. 'I loved the first film, and it's been a dream of mine to be in a buddy-cop movie. I look at AJ a lot like Joe Pesci's character in the Lethal Weapon series, and Ice Cube, Kevin Hart and I had great chemistry."

Tim Story put Jeong at ease on set, allowing his input into shaping his character. Recalls Jeong: 'One of my favorite days on set was my first one. We were in South Beach, and it was actually my idea to get on the phone with Kevin Hart and record us having a conversation together. We were able to establish our rhythm, and it set the tone for us."

The performer lauds the film's stars, noting: 'I can't say enough good things about Kevin Hart. He's so unselfish with the ball, and he's one of the best scene partners I've ever had. As far as Ice Cube goes, Kevin Hart and I could throw anything at him, and he'd hold the scene. He grounds everything. They let me use my own comedic voice, and also allowed me to stretch."

Upon their arrival in Florida, James and Ben connect with a local Miami detective named Maya…who proves to be more like the visiting lead cop than either of them would like to admit. Packer describes her character: 'Maya is similar to James in that she's a lone wolf and doesn't trust a lot of people. She's got her own different, quirky sensibility that makes her very interesting."

Initially, the filmmakers set their sights on Olivia Munn for the role of James' foil. At first, the star of The Newsroom and the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse wasn't sure if the scheduling was going to work out for her to join the cast. Then, she met Hart at a television awards show and they immediately hit it off. Munn recalls: 'Once I hung out with Kevin Hart, we were immediately like brother and sister. I called my reps and told them that we've got to figure out a way to make this work in my schedule, because I just love this guy so much. I wanted to be a part of this movie."

Munn appreciated that her character was not simply there to be a vapid love interest for James, but so much more in the story. She reflects: 'Playing Maya was fun because, while Maya she uses her femininity to get things done, she is out there, running around, shooting, fighting, battling alongside the guys. I loved being thrown into the middle of this action with these guys and feeling like one of the boys."

Packer knew Munn was the perfect choice to round out the foursome: 'Olivia has such a great, dry wit. With Ken's manic skill set, together with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube and what they bring, it's like a potpourri of flavor and talent."

Tim Story appreciates that writers Hay and Manfredi developed such an interesting foil for the comic leads: 'We put a mom in between the two kids [Hart and Jeong], so Maya plays that center point and tries to keep them out of trouble, which brings some balance to the guys."

The final major key player came in the form of suave Antonio Pope"the antagonist in Ride Along 2. He's so charming that there's almost a lethal quality bubbling underneath"one that makes him both magnetic and intimidating. Seen as a pillar of the Miami community, and one who counts all the politicians and the local police force as friends, Pope is seemingly a major philanthropist operating a legitimate business. We learn quickly that this is not remotely the case. Seasoned veteran actor Benjamin Bratt was the first choice for the role.

For Bratt, boarding the film was a no-brainer. 'I was thrilled to become a part of this company because I've actually never been a part of an action-comedy before," he offers. 'I've done a little bit of comedy, but most of the time in my career I have had dramatic roles. To be able to come onboard and make people laugh wasn't a hard choice. I thought the first movie was hysterical, and Kevin Hart busts me up. I was a huge fan, so as soon as they said it was Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, I told them I was in."

Hart loved the idea of Bratt as the antagonist: 'He is an amazing talent. We got lucky with Laurence Fishburne on the first film, so getting Benjamin Bratt to be a part of the second one is just as big. He's an actor who has accomplished so much in his career, and being a part of this, he makes this that much bigger and better. Plus, he's a poised actor and a cordial guy."

The supporting cast of the film is led by 30 Rock's Sherri Shepherd as Cori, Ben and Angela's wedding planner (and the bane of Ben's existence as he behaves like a groomzilla); Bruce McGill, who returns as Lt. Brooks, James and Ben's harried and much-chagrined supervisor; Carlos Gomez as Captain Hernandez, Maya's only-so-patient supervisor on the MPD; The Mindy Project's Utkarsh Ambudkar as Amir, James' intelligence operative; and The Dark Knight Rises' Glen Powell as Troy, the drug-dealing Atlanta thug Ben and James must take out in Atlanta…and who harbors an unexpected connection to Antonio Pope.

Shepherd sums the experience for the supporting cast, who felt like they were welcomed into an extended family. She offers: 'I've worked with Will and Tim before. I feel like I've known Kevin Hart for 20 years, doing stand-up, and Ice Cube has been on The View many times. Tika used to work across the hall from me on soap operas. I know everybody, and it has just been a wonderful experience."

Producer Alvarez admits that the team had an embarrassment of riches with its supporting cast: 'With comedy, it's always easy to look at the film's stars and think they are doing the heaviest lifting. This series is just as much about the people supporting Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. Without the diverse talents of every single member of this cast"as well as our inexhaustible crew"Ride Along 2 wouldn't be half as funny. We're tremendously in debt to all of the supporting players for bringing their A-game to this production."
Sexiest City in America: Shooting in Miami

To give Ride Along 2 its flavor, Packer and Tim Story flew to Miami to scout the world-famous Ocean Drive in South Beach that was outlined in Hay and Manfredi's script. The director sums: 'We were looking for a place to up the stakes and the visual presentation."

As James and Ben's escapade transports them into the city's signature heat, the team knew that nothing would capture its inimitable style like actually shooting there. Packer offers that Miami's history was instrumental in selecting the movie's location: 'Miami is where all the fictional movie criminal minds live. That's where they are, and we're following the tradition of some of the great Miami action movies."

Whether it was following James and Ben as they rolled down the infamous A1A coastal byway or as they chased down AJ in Little Havana, the city offered everything the production could hope for…and more. Discussing the experience, Ice Cube says: 'Miami is the sexiest city in America, and we take full advantage of it. We give you the beach, we give you sun, plus bikinis, car chases and explosions. Ben's wardrobe here is comedy in itself." He pauses. 'Atlanta's pretty hot, but Miami's more fire. It's just the perfect backdrop for a movie."

As far as Bratt was concerned, the destination upped the ante, and offered a certain sultriness amid the action and the comedy, especially at Pope's sprawling mansion, where he and Munn dance for the partygoers. Bratt says: 'Miami is all about the heat. There's undeniable sensuality in Miami––a thrumming that goes on. The heat is palpable, and I'm not just talking about the humidity and the sun."

While shooting in South Florida was sure to bring occasional inclement weather, no one knew the extent of it. Munn laughs: 'Nobody looked at to see that we were shooting in Miami during hurricane season. Many of our days we had to stop in the middle of the day." Still, she admits that Packer and Tim Story kept them sane throughout the process: 'Even though we were all exhausted, when those two weren't getting frustrated, it made everyone feel good. Not only do they know how to put it all together, they know how to have fun."

Although the majority of the film is shot in Miami, Packer used his connections to secure the space in Atlanta that would serve as a template for production designer Chris Cornwell and cinematographer Mitchell Amundsen to create the nightclub to end all hotspots. The producer explains: 'We wanted this club to have a very Miami feel, and we wanted it to be something different and cinematic. I reached out to some of my friends at the Georgia State Capitol, and they actually allowed us to film our club scene and our shootout there. So we brought in our crews, and, over the course of a few days, they transformed the Georgia State Capitol building into a nightclub set in Miami."

For his part, Jeong was thrilled that the production was able to film in the capitol building in Atlanta. He explains: 'It was incredible how they converted the capitol into this amazing club. What was more surreal is that our dressing rooms were in the lieutenant governor's office."

Ice Cube agrees with his co-star, noting that his eyes deceived him: 'When I first saw it, I actually thought it was a real club…not a building where they're doing legislation during the day. I thought, -Damn! They should have this popping off at night.' The state's complaining that they need extra money? Turn this capitol building into a club."

Gunfights and Chicken Coops: Stunts and Action

Ride Along 2 is loaded with as much comedy as action, and filmmakers had multiple units covering the stunts coordinated by team leads JACk Gill, Brian Machleit and Andrew Gill. The chase sequences in which James, Ben and AJ were being hunted by Pope's goons were extensively choreographed, making for many an explosive ride. Shares Tim Story: 'We thought what worked well is putting Ben in these situations where guns are blazing and chaos ensues."

Packer proclaims that these were his favorite moments during production: 'The car chase scenes were awesome. We had two units going at the same time. We shot one unit in Ft. Lauderdale, where they were getting the pieces of the action with the car, while the other unit [led by 2nd unit director Jack Gill] was shooting in Miami with the same car. So we had multiples of James' and Ben's cars.

'We shot action with the cars in one city and shot the lead-up to the action with the cars in another city," the producer continues. 'The way that each unit would talk to each other and exchange footage was like a fine-oiled machine. We knew exactly what the other would do so that it would edit together seamlessly."

With all of the car chases, foot chases and gunfights, this film called for more stunts and more physical commitment from the cast––especially Kevin Hart. Tim Story, who has directed Hart in three other films, relays his thoughts about Kevin Hart as a stuntman: 'Kevin Hart has never been shy to do the stunts. But he's gotten better at it, and now he can hit it in one or two takes, as opposed to three and four. Since he is in great shape, the problem that we ran into in the first film was keeping him from doing all of his own stunts. I must admit, as a director knowing what Kevin Hart brings to the physical comedy of the movie, I want him to do more stunts than not. But I have to think about it from a safety standpoint, especially now that the stunts have gotten bigger."

That said, Hart is always up for the challenge. He offers: 'As long as the physicality isn't too much to where I would end up breaking something or killing myself, I enjoy it. I consider myself an in-shape guy, so jumping, running and falling on things are not a problem. In this movie, it's called for a lot. So as much as I could do, the better."

Whether it was an explosion scene in which Ben has to dive over the hood of the car as it blows up in the background or being knocked off a table by a ceiling fan, Hart was game whenever possible. As always, he remains grateful to the Ride Along series' incredible stunt professionals.

The filmmakers took that 'can do" attitude and ran with it. That said, some of the stunts not only test Hart's stamina, they also tested his patience with the filmmakers. 'We have a foot chase where Ben is chasing AJ through Little Havana, and everything that could happen to Ben happens," notes Packer. 'A little girl on a swing hits him in the face; he trips going over a fence; there's a dog in a backyard that chases him. And one of my favorite parts is when we put Kevin Hart in the middle of a chicken coop with live chickens flying around him."

Hart proved to be a real trooper, but he is the first to offer that he wasn't mentally prepared for every single stunt they had in mind for the besieged Ben. 'There's a gag with a boat that we do, and I don't think he was quite ready for all that it entailed," Packer laughs. 'It required him to be put into a harness and dragged from the back of a boat. I think Kevin Hart tapped out on that one. He gave us a great take and a half there."

In her pragmatic way, Sumpter puts it in perspective, noting: 'This scene was fun because the crew was fun to be with, and they also worked really hard. Listen, if I'm complaining about spending all day on a boat, then my life is not that hard. You know what I mean?"

On the other hand, Ice Cube is a staunch supporter of leaving the stunts to the professionals. However, he will get dirty when the scene requires it. Tim Story commends: 'Ice Cube is a veteran. He does his own stunts when he needs to. When I really need Ice Cube to jump over a car with an explosion, he will."

With production wrapped, Packer, Tim Story, Ice Cube and Kevin Hart agree that Ride Along 2 is bigger, better, sexier and funnier. Of the experience and the final product, Packer concludes: 'This is a fun ride. It's got ups and downs. It's got comedy. It's got action. When you go to the movies and you want to have a good time and escape whatever the pressures of real life are"this is the type of movie you want to go see. It has something for everyone."

In his signature succinct manner, Cube concludes our story: 'It's time to ride again. You just better have some goddamn gas money."

Ride Along 2
Release Date: February 18th, 2016

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