Kevin Hart plays a slightly elevated version of himself named Kid in the new Netflix limited series True Story: a standup comedian-turned-A-list movie star who returns to his hometown of Philadelphia for a series of sold-out shows.
The dark drama, created by Narcos showrunner Eric Newman, is clearly not actually a true story, or as Hart put it in a recent interview with Yahoo Entertainment, he would be incriminating himself for some deathly serious crimes committed by his character if it were.
It is clear, however, from the seven-part series’ opening minutes, that in addition to letting the comedic actor once again show off his dramatic chops after projects like Fatherhood and The Upside, it’s also a heavy commentary on the downsides of fame and celebrity. Hart’s Kid deals with overzealous fans (including a white man sitting in first class with him and casually dropping the n-word while quoting his routine), a swarming paparazzi and a problematic brother (Wesley Snipes) who exploits his relationship with his famous relative.
“I think that's the code that we cracked,” Hart said. “What you discover within fame, especially in today's time, is it's not what most think [it is]. Although it has its perks and its bonuses, granted, it does. But it does come with a plethora of disadvantages as well.
“Those disadvantages aren't highlighted, and they're not talked about, because if you do, [the response is] ‘How dare you? Woe is me,’ you know? There’s the perception of having everything, or having the world at his fingertips. ‘Well, you can’t have a problem.’ So I think that's the game that we were able to play with Kid... showing what he was dealing with, showing the frustration.”
Snipes, the veteran Blade and New Jack City star who’s been on a tear lately with acclaimed performances in films like Dolemite Is My Name and Coming 2 America, agreed there are pratfalls. “Fame and celebrity is magnificent,” he said. “I think the challenge is that there's not enough teachers and not enough sages, as we would say, to teach the young people who come into fame and fortune how to live it, how to manage it, the expectations that come with it.
“We don't really have that. At least I know in the African-American community. It's not prevalent, a training program and a school to teach you how to deal with your fame and fortune. [There are a] whole lot of schools that teach you how to get there. Not very many to teach you what to do once you get there.”
True Story is now streaming on Netflix.
Watch the trailer:
—Video produced by Anne Lilburn and edited by Lori McCarthy