Pretty dope article and its good to see what drives Kevin to get to the next level.
Kevin Hart just inserted a key that turned the hands on a row of clocks, which fed us the numbers to crack the safe that contained instructions to rotate the bust of Teddy Roosevelt, which somehow opened the secret door to the mysterious chamber in which Hart and I are presently standing and squinting into darkness.
“How’s our time?” Hart asks the void. There’s a helium edge to his tone.
“You guys are at 32 minutes,” a voice says from on high.
“Jesus Christmas! Are you fucking kidding me right now?”
Hart, holding his fist to his forehead, turns to me like a man being cornered by a thousand pythons. He’s wearing a gray Nike tracksuit and neon-green Nike running shoes so spotless he could still get the full refund. “We gotta keep moving, dude.” He drops to his knees and feels his way forward, Rumpelstiltskin-style. “And we need some fucking light!”
Hart and I are locked inside one of those real-life room escapes, where for a hundred bucks a person you get an hour to track clues through a pretend bank vault, KGB bunker, or, in this case, the campaign HQ of a sleazy politician named John Payne. Today’s unnecessarily baroque mission, located in a former piano showroom in west Los Angeles, amounts to bringing Payne down by locating an incriminating case file. That folder is a useless McGuffin. The real point, as I see it—now that we’ve found a flashlight—is to demonstrate how quick-witted you are under pressure when faced with a bunch of executive desk toys from Hammacher Schlemmer.
“It’s some sort of astronomy charm thingee,” Hart says, holding up a necklace he grabbed off a silicone mannequin head. He means astrology, but I get it. There’s a pair of Gemini twins etched into the cheap metal. Their tongues are intertwined. Hart eyes it dubiously. “Payne’s in some freaky shit,” he says.
You learn a lot about someone when you’re trapped together in what looks like the boom-boom room at Paul Ryan’s house. First, I’m discovering how stubborn Hart can be. The gamemaster monitoring our live feed behind the scenes said most players call out for hints if they get stuck, and he encouraged us to do the same. Hart refuses. He much prefers slithering on his belly under the Ethan Allen furniture to spot whatever hidden Roman numeral or hieroglyphic will move us forward. At one point he’s practically humping the base of a grandfather clock to yield some hint or sign of what’s next. It’s weird to see. The man is built like a brass bulldog: five-foot-four and 145 pounds of burpees-sculpted Hollywood ambition. He stands up and brushes himself off. “Maybe something with the flagpole,” he says. “Let me check the flagpole.”