'The Secret Life of Pets 2' star Kevin Hart says co-star Eric Stonestreet 'saved his life'

The sequel to the smash hit animation, The Secret Life Of Pets 2, is coming to cinemas this week – and with it returns two of its comedy ensemble cast, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle’s Kevin Hart and Modern Family star Eric Stonestreet.

But the stars have revealed in an interview with Yahoo that Kevin Hart almost didn’t return – had it not been for the help of his co-star.

Despite the voice actors usually not seeing each other as they record their lines for the animated movies individually in recording booths, Stonestreet and Hart revealed to Yahoo that their first meeting, following making the first Secret Life Of Pets film, was a real lifesaver.

“It was a big deal for Kevin,” says Eric Stonestreet on their first meeting at the premiere of The Secret Life of Pets, “Remember the reaction on your face? You were like…” to which Stonestreet acts out an agape mouth to Hart in our video above.

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“Yeah, I was choking,” replied Kevin Hart to the actor, “Remember, they gave us popcorn? And you thought that I was like, ‘Oh my God!’”

“So it was more of a ‘Life Saving’ moment, than a ‘Meeting You’ moment,” Hart jokingly revealed, on the popcorn choking disaster that fortunately was saved by Stonestreet.

Can Max, Snowball, Gidget and the rest of the gang find the inner courage to face their biggest fears? (Universal Pictures)

The two comedy stars return as streetwise bunny Snowball and big friendly dog Duke, along with new additions to the cast including Kevin Hart’s Night School co-star Tiffany Haddish, and Patton Oswalt as anxious pup Max, who replaces Louis CK in the lead role.

Joking aside, Hart continued on the ensemble cast of the new animated family movie, which tells the Toy Story-esque story of what people’s pets get up to behind their owner’s backs: “I think all of the voices that you hear in this movie bring something very special to it. There's an amazing dynamic that we have.”

Harrison Ford also joins the cast of the sequel, in his first ever role in an animated feature. The Star Wars icon voices stoic farmhand dog, Rooster, who Max and Duke meet when their owners take them on a countryside vacation away from their home of New York City.

Stonestreet and Hart playfully revealed some rather unusual insight into the casting process: “I wasn't supposed to say anything,” reveals Stonestreet, “But I convinced him… They asked me to reach out. I slid into his DMs.”

Harrison Ford accepts the SOC President's Award at The Society Of Camera Operators 40th Annual Lifetime Achievement Awards January 26, 2019. (Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

To which Kevin Hart replied with a shock: “Wait a second - Harrison Ford is on IG?” confirming Stonestreet’s mischievous claims he got Ford on board through direct messaging him on Instagram.

“He’s on IG. I slid in to his DMs,” says the comedy star. He says his opener was “What’s up Harrison? Its Chewbacca!”

Not totally sure that’s how Harrison Ford does business, but hey, it’s 2019. Stranger things have happened.

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But the star went on to reveal that Instagram wasn’t quite how Harrison Ford got involved in the project after all.

“No, not at all,” says Kevin Hart on their involvement in the casting, not to a great surprise but perhaps a little disappointment. “But we’re excited,” says Stonestreet, “I think the fans are going to be excited too.”

Makes sense. We suspected he was more of a Tik Tok guy.

The Secret Life Of Pets 2 is released on 24 May 2019. Watch a trailer below.