Both Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart have become box office regulars of late – pulling in sizable audiences for their films, too. For Hart, his most recent outings, The Wedding Ringer and Get Hard, have both received negative reviews yet still performed well at the box office. Meanwhile, Johnson has been proving his worth in the Fast & Furious franchise (the eighth installment of which is lined up for 2017), and he also has numerous films in the pipeline, including the much talked about Baywatch reboot.
The pair have now teamed up for Central Intelligence, a comedy film starring Hart and Johnson as old high school classmates who meet again years later at a school reunion – only to discover that neither one has turned out how they’d expect. The first stills for the movie has now dropped – and no surprise, the films looks to play on the massive size difference between its two stars (see above, for example).
Central Intelligence has Hart playing the part of Calvin, one-time jock and king of the school, who is now a boring, married, straitlaced accountant. Johnson takes on the role of Bob, who was bullied at school for being overweight and a total nerd. As you can tell from the actor playing him, Bob hit a growth spurt and has turned into…well, a rock. He now works as a deadly CIA operative – but when he’s framed for a crime he didn’t commit, he needs Calvin’s help to clear his name.
The film also stars Danielle Nicolet (Key and Peele) as Hart’s wife, along with Amy Ryan (Goosebumps), Ed Helms (We’re The Millers) and Bobby Brown. Central Intelligence is directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball, We’re The Millers), from a script he re-wrote.
Johnson described his character in an Instagram post as “Tom Hanks in Big with an added twist,” adding that he’s “A grown man who views the world thru enthusiastic and teenage eyes.” Interestingly, the movie has Johnson bringing most of the comedy, with Hart playing the straight man – definitely a twist on the usual casting we’ve come to expect from these actors. For more on that, check out images of the pair in the film (via USA Today), below:
Of course, much of the comedy will come from the size difference, which both actors embraced. “With the visual alone, we had a shot at grabbing people,” Johnson tells USA Today. “That visual is sizzle. And now we have to deliver the steak.”
Hart adds: “There were moments I had to pull back when I wanted to be funny. But it wasn’t my role in this film. That was his (Johnson’s) role.”
While the idea of script re-writes (and there have been many with this movie) could potentially be seen as a bad sign, the chance to see Johnson and Hart in two such opposing roles in Central Intelligence is an enticing prospect. Audiences enjoy the actors individually, and as a duo they recall Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Twins, both visually and in the characterization; the reluctant small guy getting embroiled in the OTT antics and exuberance of the bigger guy.
Central Intelligence will be released in U.S. theaters on June 17th, 2016.