(CNN) – Kevin Hart, the comedian who seemed destined to find a replacement for his future Oscar hosting gig before a pair of homophobic tweets of his surfaced this summer, shows his serious side in a rare leading role in the indie comedy “True Story.”
“My family is family, no matter what. No matter who you are — or what you do,” he tells the camera toward the beginning of the film’s trailer.
Written and directed by Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Michael Polish (“American Rust,” “Nasty Baby”), “True Story” focuses on a real-life story where Hart plays a journalist whose source details an international pedophilia case. It opens in theaters and on demand October 12.
The action happens all the way from a remote fishing village in New England.
Parallels to Hart’s 2014 comic tour, during which he made several homophobic comments on stage, are apparent.
When a man from the village, played by Louis C.K., tells his story to Hart’s character, Tom Grady, Hart frames his skepticism with jokes about how in this culture, you don’t understand human nature without thinking what you think.
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“It’s only when you shut your mind and experience life — and try to understand the world — that you can become free of your assumptions and criticize people as human beings,” Hart says.
Hart, who is openly gay, faced a backlash after “The Ringer” published a homophobic tweet from 2010 in which he joked about wanting to rip out his son’s testicles and watch. Hart later told Howard Stern, “I’m embarrassed by it … that I don’t even remember.”
But the controversy didn’t crush him, as the comedian posted an apology to Twitter soon after.
“I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past,” he said. “I’m sorry that I hurt people … I am evolving and want to continue to do so.”
“True Story” had its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, with Hart in attendance. It also screened at TIFF in Toronto.
Hart told TV Guide he didn’t view his comedic actions as homophobic, but rather as sophomoric.
“I did comedy before this ever happened,” he said. “Once I came out to the public and people started accepting me in whatever fashion, I was still the same guy. Just inside. … This wasn’t me at any different time. I’m still me.”
The laughs are still there.
“Truth is the truth. If you’re misinformed, think again,” Hart says in the trailer. “Because I’m here to explain why I said it.”
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