The power of casting Kevin Hart is now so overwhelming that the actor/comedian can rescue even the most plagued of projects. Hart, recently cast in such varied fare as the About Last Night remake, an uninspired Kevin James comedy, and a buddy cop comedy with Seth Rogen, has now signed on to star alongside Ice Cube in Ride Along for Universal. The comedy will be directed by Tim Story, and it reunites the director with his Think Like a Man star (Hart) and producer (Will Packer). Ice Cube will also produce the project, alongside Matt Alvarez and Larry Brezner.
The film was first announced back in 2009 (via a report from Variety), but has languished at New Line until now, with Universal Pictures picking it up out of turnaround. Deadline Venice reports that this was “partly over trying to figure out the leads, but Universal was ready to move quickly in reteaming Story, Hart and Packer after Think Like A Man, a sleeper hit that has grossed $91 million domestic for Screen Gems.”
However, the comedic script has apparently gone through a number of drafts, including the original one from Greg Coolidge, a pass from Steve Faber and Bob Fisher, a “quick rewrite” from Cube himself, and at least one more version from The Dictator star Jason Mantzoukas. Casting issues aside, a script that’s been touched by at least five different writers (especially a comedy that sounds relatively straightforward) is also cause for both a bit of pause and some concern. Deadline also reports that Universal has set Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay to give the script yet another rewrite before the start filming the project.
Original reports on the production stated that the film would star Cube as a tough cop type (Ice? Mr. Cube?) who goes up against a straight-laced white dude out to marry his sister, but Hart is now set for the straight-laced role. The film centers on Cube’s character taking Hart’s character on “a Training Day-like ride along experience” in order to scare him away from marrying Cube’s beloved sister.