Ride Along 2 is making room in the backseat for Ken Jeong. The addition of Jeong is just the latest news about the anticipated sequel to the successful Kevin Hart and Ice Cube buddy-cop comedy.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the character Jeong will play is akin to “Joe Pesci’s scene-stealing third wheel in 1980s classic Lethal Weapon 2.” Jeong’s role is “a cocky computer hacker who fancies himself a ladies man but who also is key in solving the case that Cube and Hart are working on.” The role certainly sounds like one Jeong would use to pull focus. Apart from his breakout role in The Hangover, Jeong is known for popping up as kooky characters in all kinds of comedies and as a regular and off-the-wall character on NBC’s (now Yahoo’s) Community.
Ride Along 2 is hoping to up the stakes of the lucrative first film, which made $153 million worldwide off a budget of $25 million, according to Box Office Mojo. A sequel was in the works for the film before it was even released, and about a month after its launch, Universal announced that Tim Story, who directed the first film, would direct Ride Along 2. Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay are returning to write the script, as well. And, of course, the duo of Ice Cube and Hart are set to star. Per Story, a fair amount of improvisation went into the first film, something that Jeong, who has a background in improv and who came up with this out-of-control speech in an outtake from Knocked Up, will definitely be a part of.
Benjamin Bratt and Olivia Munn have also been cast in Ride Along 2. Though there aren’t details about what part Bratt will play, we all remember him as an FBI agent in Miss Congeniality. According to THR, Munn’s tough Miami homicide detective will be a love interest for Ice Cube’s character.
Production is planned to start this summer. In March, Universal shared that it set a release date of January 15, 2016, for the sequel — hoping to recreate the success of the first film’s Martin Luther King Day weekend release, which broke records by bringing in $48.6 million.