Kevin Hart praises multinational cast for giving his heist caper a Lift, Latest TV News - The New Paper

Kevin Hart praises multinational cast for giving his heist caper a Lift

NEW YORK – Heist capers such as the Ocean’s Eleven (1960 to 2018) and Money Heist (2017 to 2023) franchises have been wildly popular with audiences, and American actor Kevin Hart hopes to replicate that formula with a more international twist.

The stand-up-comic-turned-movie-star leads the cast of the action comedy Lift, which was the most-watched English-language film on Netflix globally in the second week of January.

The story follows a renowned thief named Cyrus (Hart) and a band of criminals as they are recruited by Interpol to do what they do best: steal.

Their daring new mission? To lift US$500 million (S$670 million) in gold bullion from a plane in mid-air to stop it from being used to fund a terrorist attack.

But Cyrus’ crew is a little more cosmopolitan than what you usually get in Hollywood heist flicks. Its members include Interpol officer Abby (British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw), getaway pilot Camila (Spanish actress Ursula Corbero) and hacker Mi-Sun (K-pop singer-actress Kim Yoon-ji).

Rounding out the cast are French actor Jean Reno as the baddie and Australian star Sam Worthington as Abby’s boss.

Putting together this multinational ensemble was part of the vision Hart had for Lift, which was co-produced by his company HartBeat Productions.

“It was a dream come true to go out and find a group of actors and actresses who can combine and help us achieve the goal of having a global IP (intellectual property),” the 44-year-old says at the film’s premiere in New York City earlier in January.

The story had to tick several boxes, explains the star, who was a successful touring comedian before making the jump to acting in comedies such as Get Hard (2015) and The Wedding Ringer (2015).

American actor Kevin Hart leads the cast of the action comedy Lift. PHOTO: NETFLIX

“You want to appeal to the world, you want to make sure you are part of the conversation on diversity, that you’re putting women in a position of power, and that you also have a great story and an action adventure people will gravitate towards.”

And having such a mixed group on set was a lot of fun, says Mbatha-Raw.

“The cast is so international and all the characters really bring their own energy and cultures and that’s part of the spirit of the film.

“It really is this motley crew, and it was really energising to be around everyone,” says the 40-year-old, who appeared in series such as The Morning Show (2019) and Loki (2021 to present).

The experience was especially thrilling for Kim, who made her Hollywood debut with this project.

The 35-year-old South Korean – who goes by the stage name NS Yoon-G – was also tickled that she got to play the brains of the operation.

“I play this crazy genius computer whizz who can come up with any kind of apparatus on the spot, unlike the real me,” she says with a laugh.

“I came in kind of nervous because I’ve never been away from home for that long,” she adds. “But I was super lucky to meet such great people, and it was like going there to have fun, not for work.”

For Hart, Lift is part of an ongoing career evolution.

He already had a string of hit action comedies to his name, including Central Intelligence (2016), the Ride Along franchise (2014 to 2016) and the last two Jumanji films (2017 and 2019).

But Lift sees him assuming a leading man role and playing it a bit more straight on screen.

Kevin Hart plays a renowned thief named Cyrus who, together with a band of criminals, is recruited by Interpol to steal gold bullion from a plane in mid-air.  PHOTO: NETFLIX

“The projects I’ve been doing of late have been a little more on the serious side,” Hart says, pointing to comedy dramas such as The Upside (2017), where he played the caregiver to a paralysed billionaire, and Fatherhood (2021), where he was a newly widowed father.

“So I’ve been dropping breadcrumbs and hints that this is the direction I was going. And now that I’m here, it shouldn’t be a shock that I have the tools to pull off said performances.”

  • Lift is available on Netflix