Like Kevin Hart in the upcoming Netflix film Fatherhood, I too have had to bring my child to work. It’s one of the funnier scenes in the emotional flick that packs laughs, tears and moments of camaraderie that are noble.
Hart plays Matt, a widowed dad, in the Paul Weitz-directed movie that hits the streaming service in time for Father’s Day. We watch Hart navigate single fatherhood with a group of friends who cheer him on. Lil’ Rel Howery and Anthony Carrigan offer moral support, while providing comedic relief for Hart, who takes on a more serious tone in this role.
As a father of four, Hart can relate to his character Matt, who is learning to adapt to fatherhood. At one point, he attempts to get his baby girl Maddy to stop crying by clapping. His friend Jordan (Lil’ Rel Howery) jokes, “She’s not a clapper.” It these moments between Hart, Howery and Carrigan that make Fatherhood such a heartfelt story. “That’s what I love about in Black friendship,” said Rel during a virtual chat. “We’ll find humor in wherever it is. I’ve been at funerals and I wasn’t supposed to be laughing. I’m that guy in general. It was fun to play someone like Jordan who, in that moment, [Matt] needed that.”
Carrigan adds, “Oscar is his buddy at work. He gets him through the work days. He’s a bit of a motor mouth and most-likely says the wrong thing almost all of the time, but he means well and he shows up for his friend. We need friends like that.”
In another scene, Hart struggles to braid his growing daughter Maddy’s hair. A real life problem the actor and comedian jokes about our video call. “How good are you in the hair department?” I ask, to which he responds “I’m not good.” He laughs. “I don’t even want to play around and act as if I am. I’m on the side of horrible. How many hats have I brought my oldest daughter? Several. As she got older, I thank God it was about her getting her hair done. But, I definitely was faced with the task when she was younger.”
At this point in his life, the accomplished comedian-turned-actor-turned-mogul, has experienced fatherhood four times. According to Hart, the birth of his two daughters challenged him to mature into the man he is today.
“Before having a daughter, you definitely respect women. You hold women at a high level but when you have a daughter it’s amplified like nothing you’ve ever seen,” he explained. “You look at women completely different. Your level of nurture and love is amplified cause you know the pain you’ve probably caused, at some point and time, and all you think about is how do I prepare and protect my little girl from not experiencing things other women have felt? How do I prepare my little girl for life and the real world? How do I love my girl and make sure she understands the impact that a father is supposed to have and what he’s supposed to bring and represent? How could I be the best possible example to my little girl? You start to think in ways you never thought before. It definitely helped within my maturity, especially now.”
All of which helped prepared Hart for this role.
Catch Kevin Hart, Lil’ Rel Howery, Anthony Carrigan and Dewanda Wise in Fatherhood on Netflix Friday, June 18.
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