Die Hart, the new Quibi comedy that follows Kevin Hart as a fictionalized version of himself who wants to become an action star, began on Monday and provides a lot of laughs. The series also features John Travolta as Ron Wilcox, an unhinged teacher who runs "the world’s greatest action star school" as well as Game of Thrones' Nathalie Emmanuel as a "tough-minded rival student." The show even sees Penny Dreadful star, Josh Harnett, playing himself. Recently, ComicBook.com had the chance to chat with the show's director, Eric Appel, who talked about working with so many iconic actors. Here's what the director had to say when asked if Hart and Hartnett played close or extreme versions of themselves.
"I think Kevin is one of the funniest people I've ever met and we were just constantly laughing on set. So if that comes across on screen, I would say that, yes, Kevin played it very true to himself in that he is hilarious all the time, the crew was constantly laughing. Nathalie was constantly breaking and laughing when we'd be filming a scene."
Appel added, "Hartnett, discussing with him, not a lot of people know he's a pretty private guy. So I would say that in the discussions I had with Hartnett about how to approach playing himself, it was really like a blank slate we were starting with... He admittedly is a pretty private guy. So, he was like, 'Let's just have fun with this character. I'll play it however you want me to play it.' I think it's fun inventing who Josh Hartnett is in the reality of this [series]."
As for Travolta, we wondered if the actor stayed in character behind-the-scenes like he did for The Fanatic, and asked if he was hesitant to play the part considering he drops a whole lot of vulgarities.
"No, he was not Ron Wilcox after I called cut, he became John Travolta again," Appel explained. "He dove right into it. Travolta was, it was a dream come with Travolta. I snuck into the movie theater to see Pulp Fiction when I was 14 years old, so it was a real formative experience for me. I'm such a huge John Travolta fan. It was such a blast working with him and he's so, he likes to improvise. We had a discussion before he signed on. I spoke to him on the phone before he signed on play Wilcox and we had a discussion, just about my directorial approach and how he likes to work. And we were very much in alignment in the way that we work. We like to explore things and he likes doing improv, Kevin loves improvising. And yeah, he had a blast."
Stay tuned for more from our interview with Eric Appel, where he talks about his dream cameo idea from The Rock and working with Nutnut, “the top squirrel in the business.”