Screen Gems’ action comedy The Black Phantom just took a giant step forward with word that A-lister Samuel L. Jackson is in talks to join Kevin Hart in the film, playing the title role. Jackson replaced Jamie Foxx in the role after the Django Unchained star was forced to depart due to scheduling conflicts.
Screen Gems has prioritized the comedy since the smashing success of Hart’s Ride Along, which, like The Black Phantom, found Hart being directed by Tim Story. This time around, Story is working from what was originally a spec script by Dave Lease and Megan Hinds. As for the plot, Deadline describes the film as, “an outrageously inappropriate comedy where no topic is off limits in an odd partnership formed between a clever double-crossed mob hitman (Hart) and the notorious hit man The Black Phantom, who has been hired to kill him.”
No release date has been set, but that’s likely coming soon now that the two leads have been nailed down. Obviously, Hart and Jackson have two very different reputations as actors, and it should be interesting to watch them trade barbs and blows in The Black Phantom. The premise sounds relatively interesting (which is more than I could have said for Ride Along, and that turned out well enough), and with Story behind the camera, it would appear that Screen Gems has another hit on its hands.
If Hart continues to lead films as primed for box office success as The Black Phantom, the actor could prove to have considerable staying power in Hollywood. The funnyman has been on the rise since his stand-up special Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, with successful vehicles including Think Like a Man Too and About Last Night in addition to Ride Along. Whether his upcoming slate, which includes The Wedding Ringer, Get Hard, Finally Famous, Ride Along 2 and Captain Underpants, will eventually oversaturate the actor remains to be seen, but for now, he’s undoubtedly one of the most promising comedians working today.