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How Kevin Hart Got Ripped For The Borderlands Movie

The "Borderlands" movie, based on the open-world shooter video game series from Gearbox has wrapped, according to a tweet from the film's official account. That means this much-anticipated Lionsgate movie, which still doesn't have a set release date, is getting a little bit closer to release. 

Movie adaptations of video games haven't always given fans reason for excitement, given that they have rarely been translated well on the big screen, but "Borderlands" is giving gamers reason to hope. It contains a stellar cast, including Cate Blanchett, Jack Black, Jamie Lee Curtis, Gina Gershon, Ariana Greenblatt, and ... Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart plays Roland, who in "Borderlands" lore is a serious, gruff, large, highly-trained military man who was once part of the Atlas Corporation's Crimson Lance. Some fans of the games have questioned his being placed in a role seemingly so unsuited to him (via Independent), with some suggesting that he better fits the part of Claptrap, the small, comic-relief robot in the series being played by Black. Yet since his casting — and before, it seems — Hart has been proving that he's up to this role, especially in terms of physicality. Here's how he prepared himself to be Roland.

Kevin Hart trained with Navy S.E.A.L.S.

Hart acknowledges this is a role that's a change of pace for him. "Once again, it's all about the shock factor. This is me stepping into action full speed ahead, no comedy. I'm responsible for the action," Hart said. He spoke about an early conversation he had with director Eli Roth when he was being considered for the role. "[Roth] said, 'Kevin, if you tell me that you can show up prepared and that you want to come in and knock this out, then you're my guy.' So I went, I did some training with some Navy SEALS, I got real good with weapons, I got real good with my hand-to-hand combat," Hart told Collider, adding that it was "truly unbelievable" how close the movie was getting to feel of the game. 

He has been posting images of himself during filming, showing off his physique — just as he has done for years as he details his workouts online. Most recently, he added an image of himself topless, with six-pack in full view on Instagram just a few days before "Borderlands" wrapped, giving a shout-out to the Navy SEALS. "Stepping into the world of real action has been everything that I thought it would be plus so much more. Major thank you to everyone that helped me prepare for this role....from my navy seal friends to my weapon training to the hand to hand combat. It was all worth it," he wrote.

Kevin Hart continued working with Ron Everline, trainer to the stars

In the comments of that Instagram post, Hart had an exchange with "my trainer/brother" @justtrain, known in real life as Ron "Boss" Everline, who admonished him in the comments for posting the image when "we weren't done yet" and "you weren't suppose [sic] to post a picture." However, Everline added in a separate comment, "Always prod [sic] of the work and the commitment. Never Settle. Only way is up!" It's clear the two do have a brotherly relationship: there was even a moment they had a very well-publicized on-screen argument on Hart's docuseries (via Respect), "Don't F**k This Up," yet they still remained close.

According to GQ, Everline has been Hart's trainer for years — since 2013, it seems. He has often posted images of his star clientele on Instagram. Hart credits the trainer for helping him get into shape for real: "Before that I was in fake shape," he told Men's Journal. "I looked like I was in shape, but then you'd take off my shirt and it was like, 'No, no, no.'"

He also says that Everline helped him recover from a car crash in September 2019, during which he sustained major back injuries and almost didn't survive, according to TMZ. In summer 2020 he posted a video saying, "I just want to take the time to thank my brother @justtrain AKA the best in the business in my opinion. I got knocked down and had to start over on Sept 1st 2019 & he has been there every single step of the way....the road to being better can start whenever you want it to people....Broke back jack came back and said f*** that and thinks failure is whack."

Kevin Hart's commitment to physical fitness became stronger after his 2019 accident

Hart isn't as well known for his imposing strength, as say, "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" and "Jumanji: The Next Level" co-star Dwayne Johnson is, but his commitment is real. The actor told Men's Health in February 2020 that the car accident changed his whole outlook on life. He said, "I'm not trying to get back to where I was before—I want to be better than before." He added, "It's a resurrection. That's the best way for me to put it. I feel like the other version of myself died in that moment and this new version was born to understand and to do better. Sometimes you're not going to get it when you're supposed to get it. But when it comes and that light bulb goes off, holy f**k."

While the comedian has joked about being unable to use the toilet by himself or put on his own socks after that accident, he found it hard to rest rather than keep exercising, which puts him solidly in action-hero territory. Yet Johnson was one of the people who had no trouble believing Hart's recovery would happen eventually. "His physical progress wasn't surprising, because Kevin was in tremendous shape before the accident," The Rock said (via Men's Health). "His body composition and muscle memory are working in his favor." 

Snatching the "Borderlands" role just shows how far he has come since then.

Kevin Hart continues to build his fitness empire

While Hart did a lot of work to become ripped for the "Borderlands" role, the actor's history shows that he actually didn't have as far to go as casual fans may have assumed. In the "Jumanji" films, his character-avatar was Dr. Smolder Braveheart's cute little sidekick Franklin "Mouse" Finbar, known to be a slow runner who's not very strong and who explodes upon eating cake. And he often plays characters that are less known for their abs than their comedic skills. In real life, Hart remains committed to his fitness goals. He often calls out brands and activities that he supports, saying things on Instagram like, " it's a lifestyle....Health & wellness is the new cool."

In 2020, Hart partnered with Fabletics (via PR Newswire) to launch Fabletics Men, its new activewear label. He promotes his own VitaHustle multivitamin. He even became the first comedian (via Maxim) to have his own shoe line at Nike. It includes shoes with the tagline, "Health is Wealth." He has also teamed with Rally Health, a digital health experience company, to host events featuring fitness activities across the country (per Children's National). 

In addition to the many Instagram posts he puts up inspiring people to work on their own fitness journey, his docuseries "Don't F**k This Up" also details his progress in building a fitness empire and his YouTube series "What the Fit" shows he and celebrity friends trying new fitness activities and working out. Basically, he's been working toward the capable, kick-butt action-hero identity for some time: it's a role he's been itching to play for some time.  While he's likely in better shape than ever thanks to "Borderlands," it's all just been part of his years-long process to get that high-octane leading-man role. We'll hopefully see the results in theaters soon.