ABFF 2016: Danielle Nicolet Talks ‘Central Intelligence’

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Danielle Nicolet Talks ‘Central Intelligence’
Posted by Wilson Morales

June 18, 2016

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Currently out in theaters is the Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson buddy action-comedy Central Intelligence, which was the opening for the 2016 American Black Film Festival.

Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, the film also stars Amy Ryan, Danielle Nicolet, and Aaron Paul.

Kevin Hart plays a former high school sports star turned accountant who, on the eve of a class reunion, is contacted by a former classmate (Johnson) who used to be a bullied “loser,” but who is now a contract killer for the CIA and who wants Hart’s character’s help to foil a plot to sell classified military secrets. Amy Ryan then plays another CIA operative tasked with bringing Johnson’s character in. Nicolet plays Hart’s wife.

Having guest starred on episodes of numerous series, including BET’s The Game and CW’s The Flash, Nicolet was last seen in a leading role for TV One‘s first original comedy-drama series, Born Again Virgin.

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Blackfilm.com recently spoke with Nicolet at ABFF as she about her experience working with Kevin Hart on Central Intelligence.

How did the role come about for you?

Danielle Nicolet: Getting this role was a really enjoyable journey for me. Often times as an actress, getting a job is hard and it’s a slog and painful. This one, I have to tell you, I read the script and I knew instantly that this was the role for me. I was in Vancouver shooting “The Flash”. I convinced the producers of “The Flash” to rearrange my shooting schedule, which I had no business doing; I was only recurring on it, but I convinced them to rearrange my shooting schedule.

I flew myself home on my own dime to meet with Rawson Thurber because I felt so strongly that this was where I needed to be. Thank goodness he apparently ended up agreeing with me. Kevin (Hart) and I had such great chemistry at our screen tests that it all just happened really effortlessly I think often as good things do.

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You’re playing his high school girlfriend, now wife of twenty years. What more can you say about that character?

Danielle Nicolet: Maggie was the homecoming queen. She’s grown up and she’s become a high powered lawyer. She’s partner at her firm and she’s quite contented with her career. She still loves her husband very much and she’s ready to move on to the next phase of adulthood and have kids. She’s puzzled as to why her husband is not as satisfied as her. He loves her, but he’s dissatisfied with his own situation in life. He was Most Likely to Succeed in high school and he was sort of the man who could do everything. He’s grown up into a bit of an every man who, he feels, lives in his wife’s shadow. Maggie is desperate to get their relationship back on track.

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How was it working with not just Kevin, but Dwayne and being the straight person in this comedy?

Danielle Nicolet: Hard. Hard not to laugh all the time when you have those two in your face. It was so fun. Every day was an adventure because I’ve been on TV for a long time now, but so many elements of this experience were new for me. I tried to enjoy everything like it was the first day of school.

My challenge every day was, “I’m going to make Kevin Hart break. I’m going to bust him.” He busts me and makes me laugh every scene every day. I was challenged to do it back to him. I wrote home every time I succeeded. He and Dwayne together are hysterically funny and they have an amazing chemistry. For me, it’s very much being like the only girl in a frat house.

Danielle Nicolet at ABFF 2016

Have you been to your own high school reunion and how awkward or exciting were you for that if you had gone to one?

Danielle Nicolet: I didn’t go. I think I feel awkward now. I was awkward in school and I think much like Dwayne’s character in the movie, when I think about high school now, I think about everyone there, I still feel like my awkward fifteen year old self who Steve Slotnick broke up with in favor of Jennifer and stood me up for the homecoming dance. All of that stuff I think still lives on in all of us for a long time. I didn’t feel like I wanted to go see everyone. I think I shrunk a little bit.

You look at the characters and they’ve been together twenty years and yet do not have any kids. Twenty years later, how realistic is it for a couple to have a kid twenty years later after being married?

Danielle Nicolet and Kevin Hart

Danielle Nicolet: Well, honestly it’s interesting you ask. This was an issue about the script and within Warner Brothers as the film was developing. I really appreciated this. There were several executives at Warner Brothers who said, “We feel like it’s a common go to thing that the wife doesn’t really have a big deal job, she just wants to have kids and everything is on the husband.”

They felt like it would be a nice and modern switcharoo that Maggie is the one who has the high powered job. They don’t have kids yet because she had to finish school and law school and then pass the bar and then make her way up to partner in her firm. She’s ambitious. Now she’s ready. Now. I thought that that was really cool that they wanted to switch it up like that and let Maggie be a little more modern.

What’s next for “Born Again Virgin”? When does it come back on?

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Danielle Nicolet: I sadly report to you that it will not be coming back on. The ways and wonders of television networks are a little beyond my pay grade, but yeah, TV One has decided not to bring it back. Which saddens me, but I get that business is business. I’m so proud of the two seasons that we did. We all are. Ranada Shepard and Alyson Fouse ran an incredible show and writer’s room. I got such an incredible opportunity to be the face of a show about three funny women.

Well, you have a film career starting now. How has the transition been for you?

Danielle Nicolet: It’s new and it’s a little scary. When it comes to TV, I am like, “I know everything there is to know.” It’s very much my comfort zone. There’s not a lot that happens in the process of making a TV show that I haven’t experienced. I feel safe. Movies are a new foray for me and it’s pretty exciting. There’s a lot that I don’t know and I feel very wide eyed and very awake. I’m trying to absorb as much information as I can.


  1. Absolutely LOVE her!!! TVOne is so stupid!!