Unlikely Friends, Accidental Partners in “Central Intelligence”

Pairing Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart as unlikely former high school friends, and even unlikelier spy-busting, world-saving, accidental partners on the run, Universal Pictures' “Central Intelligence” offers a fun and fast-paced mash-up of comedy and explosive action.

Pairing Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart as unlikely former high school friends, and even unlikelier spy-busting, world-saving, accidental partners on the run, Universal Pictures' “Central Intelligence” offers a fun and fast-paced mash-up of comedy and explosive action.

Opening across the Philippines on June 15, “Central Intelligence” follows a one-time bullied geek who grew up to be a lethal CIA agent (Johnson), coming home for his high-school reunion. Claiming to be on a top-secret case, he enlists the help of the former “big man on campus” (Hart), now an accountant who misses his glory days. But before the staid numbers-cruncher realizes what he’s getting into, it’s too late to get out, as his increasingly unpredictable new friend drags him through a world of shoot-outs, double-crosses and espionage that could get them both killed in more ways than he can count.

The movie also plays on a reversal of expectations – both for its main characters and the actors who bring them to life.

“What really caught my attention and appealed to me was the idea of taking this premise and flipping it on its ear,” says Johnson, “putting me in more of the comedy role and putting Kevin, one of the world’s most successful comedians, a guy who’s just on fire, in more of the straight role. So we’re both thrown into a scenario where we have to stretch and work some different muscles, and then somewhere it all intersects and we meet in the middle.”

“I’m pretty much the straight man in this film and Dwayne carries the comedy load, which we thought would be refreshing and fun, and something different,” adds Hart. “Plus, you still get the Dwayne everyone loves to see, the guy who can beat the living s**t out of people. But the combination of DJ and myself, that’s where we win. The energy is amazing.”

Advertisement

It’s that, and their unbeatable chemistry that makes “Central Intelligence” such a ride.

Rawson Marshall Thurber, a successful comedy director marking his first foray into the action realm, declares, “My advice to anybody who is going to make an action comedy for the first time would be to put Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart in it, because it will make your job a lot easier. Get the funniest guy and the biggest action star in the world and put them together.”

Referencing the stars’ 12-inch height differential as an ongoing visual punch line, Thurber recalls their first meeting prior to production. “They may be different shapes and sizes but they’re cut from the same cloth. Seeing them sitting across the table from each other or standing side by side, I mean, it’s just a layup. They’re so great together, so charismatic as individuals and as a team, and so much alike in their generosity and the way they take the work seriously but don’t take themselves so seriously. That level of chemistry isn’t a function of directing, or writing, even with the best scenarios and situations; it’s pixie dust. It’s something you cross your fingers and hope to get.”

Thurber also wrote the film’s screenplay, with Ike Barinholtz & David Stassen.

“Rawson really understands tone and timing,” Hart continues. “It’s not just the rhythm of the action, it’s how everything meshes. The segues are seamless, the writing is smart, and there were small moments that we were allowed to make big moments because we had a great cast to work with and Rawson gave us the room to play.”

“Central Intelligence” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Recommended Videos

Related Content

Movie Info

Central Intelligence
Action | Comedy

Articles

‘Central Intelligence’ Surrounds a Sweet Center with Tedious Nonsense
This film could have been much tighter and much more likable if it just gave up that pretense and had Bob Stone be upfront and honest about what he needed from Calvin.
Dwayne Johnson, from Bullied Kid to Lethal Agent in "Central Intelligence"
Dwayne Johnson has solidified himself as a global box-office powerhouse with film revenues exceeding $2 billion worldwide.
Kevin Hart Reluctantly Must Save the World in "Central Intelligence"
If there’s one thing Kevin Hart can do, it’s sell shoes. If there’s one thing Kevin Hart can do better than sell shoes, it’s explode into one of the foremost comedians and entertainers in Hollywood today.
Aaron Paul, a Trusted CIA Agent in "Central Intelligence"
A three time Emmy Award winner, Aaron Paul is one of the most sought after actors in Hollywood.
"We're the Millers" Director Back with "Central Intelligence"
With the hit comedies “Dodgeball” and “We’re the Millers” to his credit, Rawson Marshall Thurber, director of Universal Pictures' new action comedy “Central Intelligence,” was looking to expand his filmmaking repertoire by incorporating a run of action in his next film.
Spy Action-Comedy "Central Intelligence" Gets a New Poster
“Saving the world takes a little Hart and a big Johnson.” That's the witty tagline of the new one-sheet art of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart's new action-comedy “Central Intelligence” in Philippine cinemas on June 15.
Difference in Size Matters in Action-Comedy 'Central Intelligence'
It's impossible to miss the massive size difference between Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (who is 6-foot-5, 265 pounds) and Kevin Hart (5-foot-4, 145 pounds) in photos from their upcoming comedy “Central Intelligence.”
Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart Team Up for 'Central Intelligence'
Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart flip up the buddy action-comedy genre in Universal Pictures' “Central Intelligence” in Philippine cinemas on June 15. Check out the the teaser poster below.

Share this story

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email