Kevin Hart (Jumanji, Think Like A Man, The Secret Life of Pets) and Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Godzilla, Argo) have joined forces in The Upside, a remake of the hit 2011 French film The Intouchables which will leave you reaching for les Kleenex.
Inspired by a true story, Hart, in his most serious role to date, plays an ex-offender who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a wealthy quadriplegic he is hired to help, Cranston.
UNILAD chatted to the pair about the film, friendship and the upcoming Breaking Bad movie.
You can watch a trailer for The Upside here:
UNILAD: So I watched the film earlier today and it is really beautiful making me both laugh and cry. What about the story drew you to it?
BRYAN: Well you hinted to that. The story that you saw is the story we read in the script about two unlikely people from different circles of life who meet and form a friendship that’s equally unlikely.
It reveals that there is something broken in each man and that the possible fix to the other man is what the one guy has. They needed a dose of that kind of energy from each other to wake them up and realise they still have a future. Life isn’t over and they should adjust their ways of thinking and feeling and move on.
KEVIN: To add on to that, I think the beauty with any friendship is that the people you put time and energy into should ultimately make you better. And in Phil and Dell’s case, you are looking at two men who spend time with each other and make each other better people.
They give each other a different understanding and outlook on life. They find a level of joy that was missing. I think that is something people will relate to and be able to take away from the film. We don’t need to judge what we necessarily don’t understand, we should give each other the opportunity to be understood.
UNILAD: So for you Kevin the role is different to ones you have taken on previously. It is more serious. Did you approach it differently and find it had different challenges?
KEVIN: This is the first time I’ve done something in this space so I didn’t want to take the opportunity for granted. I wanted to make sure I was prepared and I understood this had to be very far from what you have seen me do in the past.
For me it was also about making sure my portrayal was right of a man that was incarcerated who, when out of jail, was trying to get his life right but was always slapped in the face with reasons to take the wrong direction. But given the opportunity really took advantage of it but more importantly took advantage of the free education it gave him.
UNILAD: And would you be interested in doing more serious roles in the future?
KEVIN: Of course. You always want to challenge yourself in the career you chose but you want to be smart and patient about how to do it.
UNILAD: Of course Bryan has been asked plenty of times before about the upcoming Breaking Bad movie but what about you Kevin? Do you fancy a part in that?
KEVIN: I am trying to get a part, Bryan doesn’t want me in it. He came over to my face and he said ‘you stay the hell out of it Kevin, we don’t need you in it’. That is heartbreaking.
BRYAN: That’s a quote.
KEVIN: I was just trying to be the drugs. I have said I can play just the drugs but he doesn’t want me to.
BRYAN: We got that covered.
KEVIN: They don’t want me in that at all.
UNILAD: So Bryan, you play a quadriplegic. How did you prepare for the role?
BRYAN: It was difficult training, for example being able to move in a wheelchair believably using just my chin, it was difficult. It certainly gave me a tremendous level of care and empathy for those restricted in their movements. We take a lot for granted.
It wasn’t just the physical restriction of it, it was how it made those people feel. That kind of freedom of movement was taken away and that impacts your soul, psyche and wellbeing. My heart goes out to them.
I met several quadriplegics and it was extremely helpful to me spending time with them, [they] helped me develop the character.
UNILAD: We lost the great Stan Lee last year. A lot of fans have called out for you Bryan to play Lee in a biopic. Would this be a role you would be interested in?
BRYAN: Yeah he was, I hate to say genius, but he was the man who had tremendous insight into how to humanise superheroes, how to make them relatable and by giving them flaws, relatable human flaws, that made them accessible to audiences.
And so he really had a natural sense of communication and an honest authentic way of writing that material that really drew the audience in in order to really invest in those characters.
Sure, I would be interested in looking into that if someone has an idea of how to develop a tribute movie to the amazing Mr Lee.
The Upside will be released in US and UK cinemas January 11, 2019.
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Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.