“I was the guy that constantly wanted to challenge,” says the “Think Like a Man” star of his past relationships. “’What you got an attitude for?! You’re stupid! You’re mad, [but] you don’t even know why you’re mad!’ I’m not going to do that anymore.”
Hart plays Cedric, the “happily divorced” member of a group of friends (including Romany Malco and Jerry Ferrara of “Entourage”) who discovers that their women (including Meagan Good, Gabrielle Union and Taraji P. Henson) are using Harvey’s tips about men against them.
At the W Chicago Lakeshore, the 33-year-old actor talked about what men will never understand about women and vice-versa, the benefits/downfalls of being short and whether or not men are dogs. Hart, who also appears in “The Five-Year Engagement,” said he expects to have a Chicago arena performance in September or October.
It’s interesting that the movie’s based on a book giving women guidelines about men, since most would agree women are much more complicated than we are. What would you want in a guidebook about women?
Here’s the thing about the complications of women. We can tackle it two ways. [Laughs.] You can either want to figure it out, or you can just understand that you’re never going to figure it out. [Laughs.] That’s where I am.
You say that you’re married; I don’t know what makes your household go better. But I do know that in my current relationship—when there’s attitudes and there’s depressions or mood swings, I used to be the guy, “What’s wrong? How can we fix it? What can I do?” There’s nothing you can do! There’s nothing you can do to make it better. It’s a woman in their own realm. It’s what they do; it’s what they go through.
Sometimes you just gotta learn to take a little step back and say, “Hey, do what you do. I don’t want to battle.” That’s where I come from with it. I’ve tried to be the other guy. I’m currently divorced, so for me being the other guy was a completely different ballgame for me.
Aside from those situations of conflict, is there anything else about women you think guys will never understand?
It’s hard to understand a woman’s false sense of reality at times. And the reason why I say a false sense of reality—women want a lot. Their needs are really needs. As men, we don’t need that much. It doesn’t take much to make us happy. A sandwich and a TV and a couch, that’s kinda heaven. We don’t really want much. But a woman requires so much time. “Not only time, but we want to talk. Not only do we want to talk, we want to know what you think about what we talked about.” There’s so much, and it’s hard for women to understand why men don’t want the same thing or can’t do the same thing to the level that they want you to do it.
Is that what women most frequently misunderstand about men?
Of course. Because they take it as [if] we don’t care. That gets misconstrued for, “You don’t care! You don’t love me!” It’s the button that’s pushed automatically. “That’s not true, I just don’t want to talk right now.” And that is where problems I think escalate and where things tend to get blown out of proportion when taken from small things like that. Like I said, that’s a different sense of reality. The reality is, men aren’t as emotional and open as women are. It’s just the nature of a man. So you do have a certain amount of men that can be that way at times but as men in general, we’re really not that person. And it’s very difficult for women to understand that.
True or false: Men are dogs?
I’m going to go with true. The reason why is because a dog wants to see everything, wants to do everything. Wants to have his nose in whatever he can have his nose in—until he learns not to put his nose there by getting popped or by getting beat or learning a lesson from sticking his nose somewhere where it shouldn’t be.
How often do you get smacked in the face with the newspaper?
I’ve been smacked quite a few times. This day and age I’ve learned from my past smackin’s. I’m not smacked as much. But I definitely at one point in my life, had my nose everywhere. I wanted to see; I wanted to know. I was curious. That’s what dogs are. It’s not that they’re bad; they’re curious. They want to know what this is and what happens if they go over there or get on that or go see what that is. That’s what men do! We’re curious.
Being divorced, what was it like for you to play a happily divorced guy, and what is the most appropriate way to celebrate a divorce?
[Laughs.] For me, being divorced, A. the happiest thing about divorce is when it’s finalized. That’s the happiest thing. Going through my divorce, it got ugly for a period, and playing this guy Cedric in the film actually gave me an opportunity to take the energy that I had when I was going through my divorce and put it to use. Everything in life happens for a reason. I went through my divorce at a perfect time, and I wind up playing a divorced man. And me doing that, I had so much that I was able to add to my character, which made my character real. You believed him. You believed that he went through the things that he went through and was going through the things that he was going through. You take my process away, I probably wouldn’t be able to pull off some of the stuff that I pulled off in there. But as far as celebrating when it was over, I don’t really think it was a celebration for me. It was more of just, (sighs), just like, “That monkey’s off my back; I can now relax.”