Interview: Kevin Hart talks social media and ignoring criticism
Kevin Hart is already having a pretty decent 2014, with last month’s “Ride Along” breaking January box office records, making more than $90 million worldwide in its first three weeks of release. And he’s hoping that success continues in February with “About Last Night.” One thing is for sure: He’s not letting bad reviews get to him — even when the critics are trying to get his attention.
You’re incredibly active on social media.
I’m very serious about it. It’s not a game, this is not something I take for granted. I’m very, very, very committed to social media and interacting with my fans the way that I do. It’s something that I think people really, really take for granted, and they shouldn’t. It’s free promotion, but at the same time it keeps you in contact with your fan base.
When did it first occur to you to utilize it so much?
Well, from jump. When I first saw my numbers going to what they grew to, I said, “I would be a fool to not dive in as much as I could, because this is basically promotion that the studio doesn’t have.” This is you having a direct connect with your fans. When I say to my fans, “First 200 people to meet me at Applebee’s, I want to treat you,” they’re going to come. And those 200 people in there get to meet, connect with me, talk to me. You have to have ways of showing that you are giving back — “Thank you, guys, for what you do, which is support me.” I’m not a ghost. I’m not the legend that just walks and you never see, plain and simple.
I saw someone included your Twitter handle in a bad review of “Ride Along,” which seems like bad form.
A critic’s job is to critique. At the end of the day, as an actor, if you allow that stuff to get to you, you’re a fool. But you’ve got to ask yourself, how do critics feel when they critique something, they trash it and then it shows up and it’s a record-breaking box office hit? Then you just have to go back into your critic hole and critique some more. But I don’t knock it, it’s what you’re paid to do. Your job is to critique and that’s your world of expertise. But if [the film is] getting an A cinema score — which means everybody’s walking out happy — then that means you have to question yourself, what you like and where your expectations are.
It’s like when I did “Soul Plane,” people judged that. “Soul Plane” was supposed to be a stupid movie about stereotypes. You’re picking the wrong movie to critique. You’re wasting your talent on this one, you should be over there on the one that deserves the critiquing, where they’re actors and they’re polished. This is stupid because it’s supposed to be stupid.
How do you ignore all the negative stuff, especially when it’s directed right at your Twitter handle?
I laugh at it. Listen, I understand that with any success comes a certain level of negativity. You don’t escape it, it happens. It’s just, are you a person that feeds into it or are you a person that smiles and shrugs it off and walks away from it? I think that the ones that survive and make it are the ones who can laugh and go, “That’s crazy, look what people say” and then still move on. You know, for every 30 people that love and support you, you’re going to have three to five that hate you. It’s what life is, it’s the nature of what we put ourselves in. It ain’t all going to be pretty.