Borderlands, Eli Roth’s film adaptation of the interplanetary videogame franchise of the same name, has mostly left us all in shock by the strength of its initial cast announcement: Cate Blanchett was the first to sign on to the film from her The House with a Clock in Its Walls director. Now, the film’s added another lead to its roster that’s a bit less surprising than the Oscar-winner. No stranger to silly movies that deal with videogames, Kevin Hart is joining Roth’s movie about futuristic treasure-hunting, secret Vaults, dangerous aliens and even more dangerous corporations. But Hart isn’t playing comic relief, despite Borderlands’ front-and-center humor and the existence of a small, quick-talking, joke-cracking robo-mascot Claptrap.
Instead, Hart is playing one of the main playable characters, Roland—a serious, deadpan soldier. He joins Blanchett’s Lilith (a semi-magical thief), leaving two remaining playable characters from the first game to be cast: Mordecai and Brick. Plot details are scarce right now, so who knows how Craig Mazin’s screenplay deals with the ensemble game and its “Indiana Jones meets Mad Max: Fury Road by way of Luc Besson” vibe. But we do know that Hart will be exploring a different side of his acting talents.
“I’m thrilled to be working with Kevin,” said Roth. “Borderlands is a different kind of role for him, and we are excited to thrill audiences with a side of Kevin they’ve never seen before. He’s going to be an amazing Roland.”
Perhaps Hart’s Quibi series, Die Hart, about him transitioning from comic sidekick to action hero, has fulfilled its purpose. Perhaps with Quibi’s death, Hart’s action career was given life.