Kevin Hart Turns Comedy Into Dramedy: Here Are Five Films Where the Comedian Took on Serious Roles

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Kevin Hart has been in the headlines for weeks for a variety of reasons. Around Christmas 2023, he was suspected of cheating on his current wife, Eniko Hart. Then he caught wind of a scandalous interview from one of his former assistants, whom he later served with a lawsuit for defamation and extortion.

Kevin Hart's lead role in the new heist film, "Lift," on Netflix sparks mixed emotions.
Kevin Hart’s lead role in the new heist film, “Lift,” on Netflix sparks mixed emotions. (Photo by James Gourley/Getty Images)

Next, his comedy career was verbally attacked by Katt Williams in another bombshell interview, followed by Williams asking Hart’s ex-wife, Torrei Hart, to join him on tour. Now folks are discussing his latest role in the Netflix movie “Lift,” which has sparked criticism online from many who can’t seem to tap into his more serious and dramatic roles.

“We want you to be funny n—a. you aint no Thespian, wrote one person on X, while another said, “I see Kevin hart and a plane on a poster and I automatically know that’s something I shouldn’t be watching.”

The last post was a reference to Hart’s lead role in “Soul Plane” alongside Snoop Dogg, Sofía Vergara, and fellow comedians such as Sommore, Mo’Nique, Tom Arnold, the late John Witherspoon, and more.

But according to Hart, these serious roles align more with his plans for the future of his career.

‘’The biggest discovery is that I enjoy being serious just as much as I enjoy the space and place of funny’’ he told Forbes earlier this month.

“Also having fun at the job, when you can show up at work and be excited, that means that you’re gonna get out of it what you’re putting into it,” he continued. “The more serious role, the leading man, the guy being the mastermind, putting the pieces together, and letting the team around feed of that energy, that was a new space to play in, and it is a space I don’t think Im gonna stop playing in anytime soon.”

“Lift” has a few comic moments, but it separates Hart from his normal comedy roles such as “Night School,” “Get Hard,” “The Secret Life of Pets,” and “Real Husbands of Hollywood.”

The film, produced by his company, Hartbeat Productions, and directed by F. Gary Gray, follows Hart as Cyrus, the head honcho of a team of expert thieves in Venice, Itlay. After successfully pulling off a fake kidnapping, the group is propositioned by local authorities to steal gold from a sinister named Lars Jorgensen, played by Jean Reno, in exchange for avoiding time in prison. Viewers also see him in a few fights where he holds his own and others scenes as he falls in love with a woman after a week-long rendevous in Paris.

Here are five films or series that showcase Hart’s acting capabilities beyond comedy

  • True Story (2021) This compelling action-packed series finds Hart playing the brother of the character portrayed by acting vet Wesley Snipes. The two have a severed relationship due to one living a life of crime and spats in jail and the other becoming a big-time celebrity while cleaning up his older brother’s mess. This time it’s no different, as the older sibling attempts to extort his brother after a string of unexpected happenings and bodies all over Philadelphia. If you ever wondered how Hart would do as a man left to decide between jail and distancing himself from his family, take a look for yourself. But no one was left untouched.

  • The Man From Toronto (2022) Similar to a scene from “Ride Along,” Hart pretends to be a deadly assassin, but this time it winds up putting him in front of the FBI. He plays athletic trainer and entrepreneur Teddy Jackson, who planned the perfect getaway for his wife. But after going to the wrong cabin, he’s forced to portray himself as a famous torturer known only as The Man From Toronto. Will he work with the FBI to bring the real killer to justice, played by Woody Harrelson, or will he get caught in the line of fire?

  • Fatherhood (2021) Hart played the widowed father of an infant girl. He struggles to come to terms with his wife’s death and care for his daughter at the same time. His wife Liz died from a pulmonary embolism after giving birth. The condition occurs when a blood clot gets stuck in an artery in the lung and blocks the blood flow, and it also can occur during delivery. As a real-life father of four, Hart showed his charm as well as his emotion in this heartwarming family film.

  • The Upside (2017) Kevin Hart plays Dell, an around-the-way unemployed man with a criminal record. He gets hired to be the caretaker of a paralyzed billionaire, portrayed by Bryan Cranston, whom he forms a friendship with. They both are fighting different fights as they expose each other to other ways of thinking about life. In an upcoming Jan. 30 podcast episode, Cranston revealed producers had decided to make a sequel to the movie despite backlash for playing a disabled character, reports Variety.

  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) This action film follows four misfits who become the avatars they chose in a game after being sucked in. They must use their special skills to defeat the game and get back home. Hart was able to showcase his personality outside of comedy with intriguing dialogue in this role as Fridge. It’s not his best work, but the back-and-forth banter between him and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson makes up for it, as well as commentary from Jack Black. Johnson and Hart continued their undeniable chemistry in other films such as “Jumanji: The Next Level,” “League of Superpets,” and “Central Intelligence.”

Kevin Hart Turns Comedy Into Dramedy: Here Are Five Films Where the Comedian Took on Serious Roles