The Source Magazine was amongst the select outlets invited to Atlanta to witness the magic of making Universal Pictures’ latest film “Ride Along.” If you didn’t know, Atlanta is the new Hollywood. Upon my arrival, my driver handed me his headshot and told me that’s he’s often an extra on AMC’s hit “The Walking Dead.” Naturally, I accepted his headshot and told him “Thanks, it looks great.” Next, as I was checking in to the amazing Georgia Terrace, one of ATL’s finest hotels, I noticed “True Blood” and “Magic Mike” star Joe Manganiello checking out of the hotel.
By the time I was checked in, it was only 2pm, so naturally I decided to explore (which wouldn’t be far being without a car in Atlanta). Luckily, I stumbled upon Gladys Knight’s “Chicken & Waffles,” which ultimately became both lunch and dinner (no judgments please).
The next day, it was time to head to set. We were escorted in a black 15-passenger van, which is what they usually use on set for transportation. We headed to downtown Atlanta to the set of “Ride Along.” As we walked on to the set, the film’s stars were all in the middle of shooting a major plot scene, the details of which, we can’t divulge right now (we would get in so much trouble). But as soon as the director yelled “Cut,” we were joined by the ever so gorgeous Tika Sumpter, who filled us in on the Atlanta scene and what it’s like to work with Kevin Hart everyday. We were seated in our “Ride Along” director chairs behind the playback monitor, where the director is usually placed. While discussing her second adventure into the comedy realm (if you count her cameo in “Think Like A Man), her good friend actress Lauren London showed up. Lauren was in town filming her hit BET show “The Game” and stopped in to visit her friends on set. Tika told us this is common in Atlanta as there are so many projects being filmed there right now, people often hang out on each others’ sets. Known for her breakout TV roles in hits like “Gossip Girl,” Tika is familiar with the Atlanta scene having filmed “The Game,” and now filming her new hit show “The Haves and Have Nots” on Oprah’s OWN network.
Next we were joined by the legendary Ice Cube. At first glimpse it’s hard to believe Ice Cube has a had at least one movie out every year since 1991. Like the OG he is, Cube just straight chopped it up with us while on break. Having done a plethora of films, being on set is pretty much just the norm for this guy. With a wide array of different kinds of films, Cube kindly reminded us about all of the comedies he has done and if you think about it, he has introduced us to some of the biggest comedians of our time – from Chris Tucker in “Friday” to Mike Epps in “All About The Benjamins.” Conveniently, there is a recording studio right across from where we were filming. On that day, recording across the street was none other than Atlanta’s main stay DJ – DJ Drama, who of course stopped by while we were hanging with Cube. Naturally, after this, Cube had to return to set.
Next, we were placed with John Leguizamo and Bryan Callen who said how happy he was to be on set and commented how well everyone was getting along. While chatting it up with the guys, John let a big surprise cameo of certain of an actor slip. We can’t say who it is, but we all did tell on John for letting it slip.
Next, we spoke with director Tim Story who is known for bringing us the both “The Barbershop” and “Fantastic Four” franchises. The fun vibe on set really came across when Kevin decided to interrupt Tim’s interview to tell us how much of a horrible person Tim was. Tim being the cool, calm and collected person he’s known to be, easily dismissed Kevin. Tim explained to us that the vibe on set is light and humorous, so nothing is taken to serious here, especially with Kevin Hart around.
When it came time for Kevin’s interview, Tim was prepared to get back at Kevin. Kevin has had a really successful past two years with hits like “Think Like A Man” (the sequel recently wrapped filming), his live movie stand up special “Let Me Explain” and his BET show “The Real House Husbands.” While Kevin was comparing himself to comedic greats such as Eddie Murphy, Chris Tucker, Richard Pryor and so on, Tim came in the middle of the interview and poured a full bottle water bottle all over Kevin’s head. Being the tight knit group that they are, it was hilarious to all present. Soon after everyone headed to lunch and our “Ride Along” set visit came to an end.
“Ride Along” hits theaters on January 17, 2014.