Kevin Hart set off comedic fireworks when he teamed with Ice Cube on last spring’s Ride Along, but the comic’s next big-screen vehicle has him collaborating with an even more promising cast. Hart is set to lead Central Intelligence with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who last mined the spy genre for laughs with a supporting role in Get Smart. And today, the action-comedy has expanded to add Breaking Bad alum Aaron Paul.
The Need for Speed actor will play the CIA partner of Johnson’s rogue spy, who seemingly sacrifices himself to save Johnson’s character (with the implication apparently being that he’s a little more of a snake than the other characters give him credit for). Central Intelligence heats up when an accountant (Hart), stuck in a dead-end job and daydreaming about his massive popularity back in high school, reconnects with a nerd he used to bully (Johnson) over Facebook, only to discover that his former social subordinate has become a highly skilled secret agent.
The against-type, odd-couple casting of diminutive Hart and towering Johnson would alone make Central Intelligence a pretty funny watch – but with We’re the Millers helmer Rawson Marshall Thurber behind the camera, working from a script by comedian Ike Barinholtz (Neighbors) and screenwriter David Stassen (The Mindy Project) from a story by Peter Steinfeld (21), expectations are high.
Though Paul’s immediate post-Breaking Bad roles didn’t exactly thrill his fans, who’ve seen that his range extends well beyond the kind of acting required of him by Need For Speed, A Long Way Down and Exodus: Gods and Kings, the actor has some promising pics in the can. Recently, he’s wrapped John Hillcoat-directed heist thriller Triple Nine, drone drama Eye in the Sky, Alexandre Aja-directed thriller The 9th Life of Louis Drax and ambitious, generation-spanning drama Fathers and Daughters.
All of those deal with quite serious subject matter, so it’s refreshing to see that Paul, who brought much-needed comic relief to Breaking Bad, isn’t entirely abandoning comedy. Central Intelligence is shooting in Boston with a target June 2016 release date.