FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW
Two Alphas, One Movie
The Road to Hobbs & Shaw
Since its inception in 2001, The Fast and the Furious franchise has become a
global juggernaut that expands its audience and builds box-office momentum with
each new chapter, thrilling and entertaining fans with spectacular,
groundbreaking action and a family of characters who delight and resonate with
people in every culture and language.
As the first expansion of the franchise, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs &
Shaw amps up the sharp-edged humor and high-stakes action like never before and
takes fans down a new road as franchise favorites Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw
forge an unlikely partnership that provides fresh insight into their backstories.
Hobbs & Shaw writer/producer Chris Morgan, the franchise's longtime narrative
architect, began his tenure with the series on director Justin Lin's The Fast
and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, the third installment, which reinvigorated the
franchise. Morgan transformed the underground street-racing cowboys into
reluctant fugitives pulling off high-stakes heists on the international stage,
and then upped the ante with next-level exploits and deadly new adversaries.
With six Fast & Furious films under his belt, Morgan continues to layer
unexpected, multi-picture story arcs into these films with audacious,
jaw-dropping moments that leave audiences breathless. The Fast films are also
packed with so many worthwhile and charismatic characters that it inspired the
idea to expand the Fast universe with a stand-alone film centered on two
audience favorites: Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw. That idea was an evolution,
however. Initially, before Statham's Deckard Shaw first appeared in an
uncredited role in 2013's Fast & Furious 6, the plan was to explore a spin-off
Dwayne Johnson's brash, trash-talking Hobbs, who debuted in 2011's Fast Five
as the relentless DSS agent assigned to capture Dom (Vin Diesel), Brian (Paul
Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster), was a dynamic adversary. Hobbs, of course,
would eventually become an unexpected ally to the team over his four-movie arc,
but very little was revealed about his personal history. The revelation in
Furious 7 that Hobbs had a young daughter, Samantha, was the first real insight
into his backstory.
Johnson, who named his bulldog puppy after his character, always knew that
Hobbs was a rich vein waiting to be mined. "From the beginning in Fast Five, the
character of Luke Hobbs has resonated with film audiences, and I've always been
happy with his trajectory over the past four films," Johnson says. "Creatively
though, I felt we would have to eventually spin him off to delve into his life
and his family background to see what makes him tick, what makes him succeed and
how he handles the failures. To do that is always the challenge when you have a
such a big cast, like Fast and Furious has, and I really did want to give this
character his due."
Morgan had always enjoyed building up the larger-than-life lawman, and had
worked with Johnson and Hiram Garcia, president of Johnson's Seven Bucks
Productions, on the Fast films in which Hobbs was featured, to flesh out his
character development. More often than not, the trio would end up laughing their
way through those sessions as they came up with more signature Hobbs phrases and
verbal smackdowns. That process segued seamlessly into informal brainstorming
for a Hobbs-centered stand-alone film.
"Throughout the Fast series, my collaboration with each of these great
directors and the incredible cast of actors has been the most fun aspect about
all the films," Morgan says. "On [the potential Hobbs spin-off film], Dwayne,
Hiram and I just jumped in and started bouncing around the types of things Hobbs
would do and wouldn't do. We ended up laughing and having so much fun, and I
think that comes across on the screen. That's why this character is so fun to
watch, because there's joy behind everything that we make them do."
Johnson and Garcia knew how they wanted to present Hobbs' personal history on
the big screen, so they began to confer with Morgan about viable story points.
Meanwhile, fans had gotten their first taste of the power of the dynamic
between Hobbs and Statham's Shaw with their epic showdown in 2015's Furious 7,
which had landed Hobbs in the hospital. Hobbs then got the last word, though,
when he escorted the disgraced spy Shaw to a super-max prison at the film's end.
The plot of the next installment, 2017's The Fate of the Furious, was driven
by the storyline of a family fractured by an unflinching villain's sinister
machinations, but the hilariously caustic jailhouse back-and-forth between Hobbs
and Shaw set the stage for another mind-blowing showdown as Statham's Shaw tried
to escape and Hobbs tried to stop him.
Shooting those scenes, Johnson and Statham took note of the singular
cinematic pairing they were creating. The wheels started turning. "Once filming
began on The Fate of the Furious, Jason and I settled into this easy rhythm,"
Johnson says. "Not only did we start to breathe this cool energy into our
scenes, but there was a unique chemistry that just started to build between us.
It was something that we recognized immediately, but we weren't the only ones. I
remember pulling Hiram and Chris Morgan aside and they agreed. Hobbs and Shaw
are two alphas who, even if there is a sliver of common respect between them,
hate each other, and that often can be the best impetus in a film." What became
evident to all very quickly was that Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw should have
their own film together. The idea for Hobbs & Shaw was born.
The rivalry and tension between the two characters also gave Morgan the
opportunity to push the comedy, which had always been present in his Fast films,
to the forefront. Johnson immediately saw the potential for a riotous action
comedy. "The Fast franchise is more of an action-drama," he says. "It's big;
it's fun; it's exciting. With Hobbs & Shaw, we're still in the Fast world, but
the premise allows us to pivot creatively into the action-comedy realm, which
works on every level."
Statham also saw an opportunity to dive deeper into Shaw's history and agreed
to not only star in Hobbs & Shaw, but to come aboard as a producer as well. Shaw
is still the same man, but the film shifts our perspective of him. "We finally
get to learn a lot more about Shaw," Statham says. "I've always regarded him as
a guy who has very strong principles. His morals are firm and respectable, and
he takes care of the family no matter what. Shaw is the guy who goes to any
lengths to do the right thing for his sister and tries to heal the family rift.
His 'bad guy' label is misplaced."
The Ties that Bind Hobbs and Shaw
With Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham on board as stars and producers, the
focus turned to developing the screenplay. The theme of family has always been
one of the unifying threads that weaves through the Fast universe. That theme
takes center stage in Hobbs & Shaw and shapes the decisions and motivations of
both lead characters.
Luke Hobbs is an exacting man with an unwavering moral code, but he's also a
man who cut himself off from his family more than 20 years ago, for reasons he
won't explain. When his daughter Samantha (ELIANA SU'A, making her film debut)
becomes more curious about her family tree, Hobbs tries to dodge her questions,
but the events of the film will ultimately lead him back to his roots in Samoa,
where he'll be forced to face his past and make peace with his four
brothers-Jonah (Cliff Curtis), Kal (JOHN TUI), Timo (JOSH MAUGA), Mateo (JOE
ANOA'I)-and his mother Sefina (LORI TUISANO).
Deckard Shaw has his own family issues to deal with. Over the course of four
films, the debonair British operative has shifted from foe to outlier, but that
transition has often been perilous.
Audiences first learned of Shaw's existence when he appeared, unnamed, in the
mind-blowing postscript of Fast & Furious 6, where it was revealed that he was
connected to the death of Han (Sung Kang). It wasn't until Furious 7 that we
learned that Shaw, a cold-blooded black ops assassin, had a score to settle.
Shaw put Dom, Brian and the team on notice that he was coming after them to
avenge his younger brother Owen (Luke Evans), who was then clinging to life in a
In The Fate of the Furious, audiences caught a deeper glimpse of the man
behind the faĆ§ade of the covert ops assassin, when Shaw efficiently rescued and
protected Dom's son Nico alongside his resurrected brother Owen, and again when
his mother Queenie Shaw (Helen Mirren), a mysterious woman with underworld
connections, revealed the length's an East London mum would go to protect her
Shaw's interactions with Queenie-a combination of love and professional
respect-gave audiences insight into the foundations of Shaw's unique moral code
and began to unveil the real man behind the lethal exterior.
Those deep ties to family are further explored In Hobbs & Shaw, when Shaw
visits Queenie in prison. We learn that Shaw has a sister, Hattie (Vanessa
Kirby) from whom he's semi-estranged. But when Hattie, an MI6 agent, goes rogue
after trying to retrieve a top-secret bio weapon, Shaw tries to find her and get
to her ahead of British and American intelligence forces, and before Hobbs,
who's also looking for her, unaware that she is Shaw's sister.
Over the course of the film, both Hobbs and Shaw will be forced to confront,
and attempt to repair, their family bonds as they try to stop a threat to the
world unlike anything either has faced before.
An Atomic Vision
Finding Director David Leitch
The filmmakers now shifted their attention to securing a director with the
vision and the depth and breadth of skills necessary to harness the enormous
scale, action, character detail and humor of Hobbs & Shaw.
In David Leitch, the producers knew they found a director with the
versatility to do it all. Leitch's recent hit box-office trifecta of Deadpool 2,
Focus Features' Atomic Blonde and John Wick (co-directed with Chad Stahelski)
proved that he could navigate a mix of genres and infuse the film with a fresh
new cinematic take on action and character-driven story. It's a rare combination
of qualities for a director, but Leitch himself is a rarity.
The veteran stuntman-he worked as Brad Pitt's stunt double on Mr. & Mrs.
Smith, Troy and other films-had rapidly expanded his career, first becoming a
stunt coordinator (TRON: Legacy), then a second unit director (Jurassic World
and Captain America: Civil War), where he parlayed his ability to integrate
innovative action sequences into any genre with a keen eye for storytelling.
Leitch quickly became known as the go-to guy for filmmakers who needed a strong,
adventurous point of view for their action units. That reputation jumpstarted
his feature film directorial debut, alongside Stahelski, with the 2014 genre
smash John Wick starring Keanu Reeves.
For Leitch, a fan of the Fast franchise, nothing is more enticing than
striking out into new territory to create something genuine and unexpected. So,
when word hit the street that the Fast spin-off Johnson had been teasing to his
millions of followers on social media was, in fact, imminent, the director took
notice. The opportunity to collaborate with two of the world's biggest action
stars and put his stamp on a new extension of a global billion-dollar franchise
was a chance too great to ignore. Plus, Leitch had worked with Statham on the
star's films The Mechanic and Parker, they had a great rapport, and Leitch
already had an idea of how to inject the energy of a classic 1980s buddy comedy
into the high-octane Fast universe.
"The chemistry between Dwayne and Jason in the last two films was pretty
special and it's hard to find that," Leitch says. "To me, they kind of channeled
the best moments of films like 48 Hours or Lethal Weapon. So, to have the
opportunity to bring my action experience to these two characters, learn more
about their backgrounds and build a world around that chemistry was really
exciting to me."
Leitch's take on the film resonated with Johnson, Statham, Morgan, Hiram
Garcia and Universal Pictures' executives. "David just had this great vision for
Hobbs & Shaw that balances out character and story, but he also incorporates
action into the heart of the movie and that action drives the characters and
drives their stories forward," Johnson says. "He is absolutely one of the best
directors in Hollywood who is at the top of his game. He knows how to tell a
kick-ass story in every way. He always finds a way, utilizing the camera, to
make sure that the audience has this visceral reaction and thoroughly enjoys the
moment. This is exactly what we want; to ensure that the spirit of the Fast
films is present but also make sure that we have our own DNA, our own identity
and our own voice front and center."
Statham was equally excited to see one of his favorite stunt brothers rise
through the ranks and make his mark and was thrilled that he and Leitch would
get to work together again. "There are a lot of moving parts in any big action
movie and for me, it's important to have confidence in the director," Statham
says. "It takes a skilled hand to capture action on film especially with such
physical characters like Hobbs and Shaw. Outside of my personal friendship with
Dave, I think he's a genius at what he does. He's a superb martial artist who
knows how to choreograph and direct big action. He's 'been there, done that' and
knows how to direct brilliantly, and that's what I want to see. If someone wants
to direct a big action movie like Hobbs & Shaw, bring me the top guy, and David
Leitch is that top guy."
From the get-go, Leitch knew exactly how he wanted to present the mixed-match
duo of Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw. He envisioned a very specific tone for the
film, but it would retain the core dramatic themes of family and brotherhood
intrinsic to the Fast films. He planned to mix that with visceral, practically
executed action that diehard fans of the franchise would love. Leitch's
cutting-edge filmmaking style would showcase it all for a new, fresh, altogether
different ride-with a seriously funny side.
"Infusing the humor into Hobbs & Shaw isn't as hard as it seems," Leitch
says. "They have this history of ripping on each other, and it's this dynamic
that makes you want to spend more time with them to see that conflict play out
because it is funny. It's basically taking that idea and spreading it out over
two hours." To keep that comedic tension taut for two hours might seem like a
challenge, but he had a plan. "Let's keep these guys at odds, force them to work
together and create that comedic tension throughout the whole piece," Leitch
says. "Because there's such a comedy through line in the material, it allows us
to do these flashes of more heightened comedy coupled with the classic comedy
style that we've come to expect of this universe."
The filmmakers were confident in Leitch's ability to seed the comedic bits in
unexpected moments throughout the material. "There's an elevated level of fun to
Hobbs & Shaw and because of that, Dave's really been able to dig in to the
hilariously harsh banter between the guys," producer Hiram Garcia says. "With an
extremely powerful villain like Idris Elba's Brixton, the audience will
definitely feel the heightened stakes for Hobbs and Shaw. That said, it was
still important for us to find humor in the right situations. With a director
like Dave who has great experience merging multiple tones, we were excited to
see that the movie coming together was unlike anything we've seen in the Fast
universe to date."
Hobbs and Shaw
Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham
Although Fast fans already know Hobbs and Shaw, David Leitch wanted to
re-introduce them on their own terms and establish their lives away from the
rest of the Fast team. The first scene in the film hilariously contrasts Hobbs'
laid-back life in California with Shaw's extravagant life in London, using a
split screen to highlight just how opposite these two heroes are.
"The opening sequence is really clever and is one of my favorite little
moments of the movie," Statham says. "It's spot-on because Hobbs and Shaw are so
different yet so similar. I think it's a tightrope that Dave walks rather well
throughout the film."
As filming began in London, Statham and Johnson easily slipped back into
their roles and camaraderie, and, as producers, both were focused on all facets
of the film's creative elements. Throughout production, they worked closely with
Leitch, Chris Morgan and Hiram Garcia to ensure there was a balance between the
comedic tone, the story and the action. On-camera, they were taking their
trash-talking barbs to a whole new level. Leitch encouraged ad-libs and improv,
and the whole set pulsed with the stars' charismatic energy. "There's a natural
chemistry between Dwayne and Jason that translates wonderfully on screen," Hiram
Garcia says. "The minute you put them in front of the camera it's instant
entertainment with the way they go at each other. Their true personalities and
friendship shine through in these over-the-top characters. Thanks to that we
made sure to create opportunities for them to push each other's buttons in ways
that they actually would in real life."
The women of the Fast franchise have repeatedly proven themselves to be as
accomplished, dedicated and resilient as their male counterparts, and that
commitment to strong female characters would become a cornerstone for Hobbs &
Shaw with the casting of Vanessa Kirby as Hattie Shaw, a highly capable, badass
MI6 agent who sets the plot of the film in motion and whose bravery and
commitment to her duty is peerless. When we first meet her, Hattie is leading a
team sent to recover "The Snowflake," a mysterious vial that contains a lethal
pathogen that, when weaponized, could wipe out a large portion of the global
population. But Hattie and her team are ambushed by a cybernetically enhanced
Brixton Lorr (Idris Elba), and when it becomes clear that Hattie, the sole
survivor of her team, can't prevent Lorr from taking the pathogen and killing
her, she injects herself with it.
Infected, with the clock ticking before it activates in her body, killing her
and billions of others, she goes on the run to find an antidote, but the
American and British intelligence services believe that Hattie has gone rogue,
and Hobbs and Shaw are each dispatched, unbeknownst to the other, to find her
and bring her in.
In Kirby, an actress best known for her roles in The Crown and in Mission:
Impossible - Fallout, the filmmakers found an actress who could anchor the
antics between Hobbs and Shaw, which run from hilarious to downright deadly and
embody (literally) the very real stakes for herself and the planet. "Vanessa
Kirby is an incredible actress," David Leitch says. "I had no doubt that we
could put her through the training and draw out the physicality of Hattie. What
she brings in her acting is the ability to be strong but then vulnerable and
stoic and then emotional, and it's all authentic. An actress of her caliber
helps to ground our lighter moments and make the stakes feel real."
For Kirby, Leitch was a dream director, who advocated for Hattie to be as
capable, if not more, than Hobbs or Shaw. "What I love about Dave's vision is
that he has always been adamant that Hattie is as strong and tough as Hobbs and
Shaw, and that she was as much of a fighter," Kirby says. "She doesn't need
saving; she joins the guys as equals. I think it's important for young girls in
the audience to see women can save the world, too. So, I felt that was my
responsibility, to give Hattie that added toughness."
Hattie's heroism will also force a reunion, and ultimately a reconciliation,
with her long-estranged brother, Deckard Shaw. Their relationship is complicated
and strained, at best. Hattie had distanced herself from Shaw after he "went
dark," when rumors surfaced that Shaw had become a mercenary. Now, their mother
is in prison, and the siblings haven't spoken in years.
When she's captured by Hobbs and Shaw, she resists (with breathtaking skill
and precision), but as the reality of her situation starts to set in, Hattie
concludes that she has no choice but to remain with the two rivals while
figuring out her next step. The situation is complicated by the burgeoning
attraction between Hattie and Hobbs, and Shaw's displeasure about it. But Hattie
and Hobbs find that they are equals in every way, and she understands Hobbs more
than she's willing to admit. "They both really relate to each other because
they're both estranged from their families, and that's what bonds them," Kirby
says. "There's really just a hint of romance, but it's not because they fancy
each other. They are both lonely and they connect and understand each other."
With every new chapter in the Fast franchise, the stakes are exponentially
higher, and the villains exponentially more indomitable. On the surface, Hobbs
and Shaw are both such fierce warriors that, as a team, they should be able to
handily defeat any foe. Hobbs is all powerful brawn while Shaw possesses a
lethal elegance. On paper, they should be unstoppable. So, the filmmakers needed
to create a new type of nemesis unlike any in the history of the franchise-a
mold-breaking adversary worthy of these two fearless heroes.
Enter Brixton Lorr, an indestructible super soldier, one of their first
cyber- and mechanically enhanced prototypes produced by Eteon, a global shadow
organization that has perfected cyber-genetic technology. Brixton isn't just a
machine with artificial intelligence, he's a brilliant man with formal military
training and a background in covert operations, who can do everything better
than anyone else. Making matters worse, he's not just some psychopath or greedy
mercenary. Brixton is a true believer in a global cause. He's on a mission to
save what he believes is an overcrowded planet. Eteon's plan to kill off a large
portion of the global population, including all of Eteon's rivals and opponents,
is, in Brixton's mind, for the greater good.
"Brixton is hands down the toughest antagonist that any of our heroes in Fast
has gone up against because he has been specifically designed to be
unstoppable," Chris Morgan says. "He is superior in every way, but what makes
him really dangerous is that he genuinely believes in the cause that he is
serving. He's not going to give up; he's not motivated by money or power.
There's no way to convince him he's wrong. He's a believer, and, unfortunately
for Hobbs and Shaw, they are set on a collision course with him."
With Eteon's resources at his disposal and a superhuman body as a weapon,
Brixton has every advantage to thwart Hobbs and Shaw at every turn. It leaves
them with no option but to rely on one another as the time is running out for
Hattie. "Hobbs and Shaw are in a place where they truly believe they don't need
each other," Morgan says. "Even as Brixton repeatedly pounds that lesson of
defeat, pain and failure into them, they still realize that if they have any
chance of defeating this guy, it's going to take everything they've got, and
it's going to take them getting in sync for the first time in their lives to do
Finding an actor who could embody Lorr's intelligence, raw power and
intensity, and who could also plausibly convey a very real threat to Dwayne
Johnson and Jason Statham on screen, seemed, at first, like an impossible task,
but Elba (Thor: Ragnarok, Luther) has built a body of work doing the impossible.
"When Idris' name came up, we all got really excited," David Leitch says. "He's
the full package. He's physically imposing; he can do action. Plus, his acting
chops are off the charts. You know he's going to bring this pathos and gravitas
to the character while making him both formidable and emotional. These are all
the traits you need in a great villain."
Elba is an actor known for gravitating towards emotionally challenging roles
steeped with conflict and drama, so the complexity of playing a cyber-enhanced
super soldier piqued his interest. "The Fast world is super exciting to me, not
just because it's one of the most successful franchises ever, but because I felt
I would love to be a part of something that was going in a new direction," Elba
says. "David, Dwayne and Jason really wanted to tackle something slightly
different, and I was all in. The character of Brixton is a real step away from
the kind of characters I get to play. I've played some bad guys in my time, but
he is definitely the most complicated I've ever played. He's basically a war
machine, there's no stopping him."
With a highly specialized military background, Brixton Lorr strikes hard and
fast and is always two steps ahead of Hobbs and Shaw both strategically and
physically. He also takes perverse pleasure in squaring off against his fellow
alpha males, knowing that the odds are in his favor. As Elba delved deeper into
the character, he and Morgan began to piece together a back story of the
superhuman soldier. Was there any humanity left in there or had binary code
obliterated it all?
"Brixton certainly is appreciative of his enhancements and who he is now,"
Elba says. "He brags that he's a better version of himself. But he's still in
there. His personality is intact, and he's very much a warped man whose been
through a lot. There's a darkness behind his eyes that reflects all of that. As
with all experiments, he's a bit of an anomaly and very scary because of his
capabilities. He wants what he wants and will stop at nothing to get it."
Lorr is particularly dangerous for Hobbs and Shaw because now they're dealing
with a human being that has the capabilities of a relentless Terminator. That
unpredictability coupled with their internal clashes could mean their downfall,
and it nearly does after their first encounter with Lorr is a resounding
failure. Together, Hobbs and Shaw are the most capable of stopping Eteon from
triggering a worldwide extermination, but initially they can't see beyond their
hatred for each to get the job done right. And Lorr is more than happy to use
that to his advantage.
Audiences were first given a peak at Shaw's background with the introduction
of his mum, Queenie, played by Oscar winner Helen Mirren (The Queen) in The
Fate of the Furious. In two memorable scenes in that film, Mirren established
Queenie as a loving but fierce tiger mother with a shrewd and dangerous mind-a
street-savvy matriarch with deep underworld connections. Fans loved her
immediately. "The response to my appearance in The Fate of the Furious was
lovely, especially on-line," Mirren says. "I have to say that I had such a good
time that I definitely wanted to come back for another go."
Hobbs & Shaw finds a glamorous Queenie biding her time in a well-appointed
jail cell, but, in true maternal fashion, she frets over the state of her
fractured family and more or less demands Deckard to make amends with his
estranged sister. Even from jail, Mama Shaw calls the shots. "Queenie has the
power wherever she is," Mirren says. "She is just one of those people who knows
how to make things work for her."
For Queenie, family supersedes all other bonds, and she instilled that code
into her children from an early age. In flashbacks in Hobbs & Shaw, we see
Queenie as a
loving young mother and East London grifter who teaches her children the ins and
outs of the family business, with an emphasis on the family. The kids may have
ended up on different sides of the law, but the family ties remain.
"The Shaws are an East End family, which means the family unit is very, very
important," Mirren says. "The family is the strongest unit, and you're bound by
loyalty. It is a bit of 'us-against-the-rest-of-the-world' with the Shaws. Very
often you find that with families that come out of poorer or working-class
situations. Your first loyalty is to your family."
Both Jason Statham and Vanessa Kirby have pivotal scenes in the film with
Mirren, and for Kirby the opportunity to work with Mirren was a total joy.
"Working with Helen was so nice because it was just great girl power when she
was on set, and I really enjoyed those days," Kirby says. "She's awesome. She
came in with such an energy. She was only on set for a couple of days, but she
was a real force of nature and so kind and brilliant. I loved her."
The women of Hobbs & Shaw know how to command a room, and that's almost
literal in the case of a mysterious character Madame M, played by EIZA GONZALEZ
As Shaw, Hobbs and Hattie are on the run en route to Moscow, with Brixton
Lorr closing in on them, Shaw seeks out an old friend, Madame M, an elite
international weapons dealer and operational fixer. A former top-tier operative,
she and her all-female squad are a black-market force multiplier, usually on the
side of right, providing top-grade weapons and guidance for seemingly impossible
operations. Stunning, brilliant and ruthlessly efficient, Madame M provides
access, money and connections to everything our heroes will need to set their
plan in motion.
Madame M is an unapologetic force of nature who wields her femininity as
forcefully as the automatic weapons strewn over her shoulder. Even Hattie is
mesmerized by her swagger, saying, "When I grow up, I want to be her."
For Gonzalez, Madame M was a blast to play, and she embraced every second.
"What makes the role really fun is that she is completely fearless," Gonzalez
says. "She knows she's the one with all the power and the control in the room,
yet she still kicks it up a notch and uses it to her advantage. She is equal
parts tough and determined and mischievous, but at the same time seductively
dangerous. To be able to jump in and play around with all that is just amazing.
It's been such a fun role to play."
In the race to find an antidote to the lethal pathogen in Hattie's body,
Hobbs, Shaw and Hattie must hunt down the only person who could possibly make
one: The man who created the virus in the first place.
Played by EDDIE MARSAN (Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2), Professor Andreiko is the
rogue Eteon scientist who formulated the deadly pathogen. Conflicted and
disenchanted by his role as a potential accomplice to the biological murder of
billions, the Russian scientist had tried to steal The Snowflake himself, to no
avail, and is now in hiding. "Professor Andreiko devised a medicine which was
taken over by an organization and turned into an industrial Armageddon machine,"
Marsan says. "He has good intentions and thought he was helping the world when
he created the medicine, but then he's blackmailed into being part of this
So, when Hobbs and Shaw find him, and the professor learns of the price
Hattie has paid to protect the world from his creation, he is ultimately moved
to help her. "Hattie shows incredible morality and self-sacrifice in this film,"
Marsan says. "She makes Andreiko question his own morality, which has been
dormant because of the situation that he's been in. Hattie and Andreiko need
each other to survive, and she brings out the good man in him."
Marsan has appeared in three of David Leitch's films-"I think I'm actually
the secret ingredient to his success," the actor says, laughing-but this time
the director threw Marsan a curve ball, placing him in a scene with Idris Elba
where Lorr walks menacingly toward Andreiko with a flamethrower spewing flames
while the professor is dangling from a hook like a side of meat. Doing that
scene with Elba was intimidating, in more ways than one. "When I walked on set
and saw Idris, I thought, 'Oh, that's what a movie star looks like,'" Marsan
says, laughing. "I think he was named Sexiest Man Alive on the day that I was
working with him. I called my therapist that afternoon to give me a bit of a
For Dwayne Johnson, it was imperative that a central part of his own heritage
be incorporated into Hobbs' backstory. As wrestling fans around the world know,
Johnson proudly hails from a long line of Samoan wrestling royalty on his
mother's side of the family. Samoan wrestler Peter Maivia is his grandfather,
and his father is former professional wrestler Rocky Johnson. So, for Hobbs &
Shaw, Johnson wanted to highlight Samoa and its people, and create something
truly special to honor his culture.
In the third act of the film, Hobbs, Shaw and Hattie are desperate to find a
machine that will help create the antidote to Hattie's virus, and Hobbs knows of
only one group of people who might be able to help them: his family.
Problem is, Luke Hobbs hasn't been home to Samoa in decades, and for good
reason. His father had run an illegal business, and Hobbs had turned him in.
Most of the family, now led by Hobbs' oldest brother Jonah, played by New
Zealand actor Cliff Curtis (The Meg, Training Day), isn't exactly happy to see
him. "Twenty-five years before this film takes place, Luke Hobbs made the strong
choice to put his father away in jail because he was getting the family involved
in criminal activity," Curtis says. "Jonah believes it was an unforgivable act,
and when Luke not only comes home after being away for 25 years, but comes home
with a big problem, it creates tension between the brothers. Within 24 hours,
the brothers need to resolve the conflict between them, so they can work
together to save the world."
In the years since Hobbs left Samoa, Jonah has transformed the family
business from the illegal bootlegging ring their father once ran to an
international business: Hobbs Custom Garage. He's resentful and distrustful of
Hobbs, so the reunion isn't exactly a joyous one. "It's a very highly charged
scene," says Curtis. "Jonah's feeling betrayed by his brother, for many reasons.
Luke's been gone for 25 years and now he's come back, and he's brought problems
with him. There are lots of interesting layers within this film. There's this
tense family drama playing out in the middle of this larger-than-life context of
'save the world or everybody's going to die.'"
Making matters more complicated, Jonah's skills are essential to solving the
crisis. "Jonah has a gift with technology," Curtis says. "He's a genius who
expresses himself through engineering and figuring things out. While the rest of
the brothers are out being big and strong and throwing things around, he's
dealing with the technology side of things."
For Curtis, who is of Maori descent, the chance to add nuance and complexity
to the portrayal of native people was an added benefit of the role. "It's a fun
idea that a guy who looks like Jonah and lives in such a remote location can
also be so smart with technology," Curtis says. "It's a nice contrast when he's
also happy to punch his brother in the face."
The Hobbs Family
Celebrating Samoan Culture
For the rest of the Hobbs family, David Leitch and the filmmakers cast an
impressive array of Polynesian actors. WWE professional wrestler Joe "Roman
Reigns" Anoa'i plays Mateo, the youngest and biggest of the Hobbs brothers; and
he hails from Samoa's Anoa'i wrestling dynasty and makes his acting debut in the
film. He's also a cousin of Dwayne Johnson and was thrilled to share the screen
with him. "It's inspiring and it's motivating to see D.J. in his element,"
Anoa'i says. "He just brings passion and this level of pride to set every day."
Cliff Curtis, who plays Anoa'i's older brother, was impressed by his
wrestler-turned-actor co-star. "Coming from wrestling, Joe was a natural
performer because he was used to being in front of a crowd," Curtis says. "He
had so much charisma, and it was great to see him transition from his wrestling
background into this performance."
Former professional American football player Josh Mauga also makes his acting
debut as Hobbs' brother Timo. Mauga, interestingly, had begun his stint on Hobbs
& Shaw in London as an additional stunt double for Johnson before catching the
eye of Leitch and executive producer Kelly McCormick when they began casting
Rounding out the Hobbs siblings is New Zealand-based actor John Tui (Solo: A
Star Wars Story and The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies), who plays Kal,
the wild child of the brothers. The cast of brothers bonded almost immediately
on set. "It's crazy how quickly Josh, John, Cliff and I developed a camaraderie,
how quickly we were able to feel like brothers," Anoa'i says. "It was an amazing
At the center of the family unit is their mother, Sefina, played by
actress Lori Tuisano. Sefina is the first person to welcome Hobbs home with open
arms and to forgive him. She reminds her boys that family is all that matters
and opens the door to a reconciliation between them all. This kind of emotional
depth may be rare for an action-packed summer blockbuster, but that's exactly
why Leitch, Chris Morgan and the filmmakers wanted to include it. "David really
cared about the more tender moments between the characters," Curtis says. "He
wanted us to show emotional connections and the various levels of grit in each
Off camera, Curtis, Anoa'i and the other actors playing Hobbs family members
easily fell into place as a unit, as the group bonded over gym workouts, dinners
at their hotel on the Hawaiian island of Kauai and stunt rehearsals.
Hobbs & Shaw will give most audiences their first glimpse of Samoan culture,
and the filmmakers wanted to make sure they got it right. "We had wonderful
cultural advisors on set who made sure everything was done in an authentic way,"
In one particularly dazzling scene, the Hobbs brothers prepare for the film's
climatic battle with a traditional call-to-war chant known as the Siva Tau. It's
a goosebump-inducing moment for the audience, and it was for the actors, too.
"I'm from Maori decent, and we have a similar tradition called the haka as
well," Curtis says. "It's great to see traditions that I grew up with being
shown in film and popular culture."
London or Bust
Cool Britannia Gets Hot
Although key scenes for Hobbs & Shaw were shot in Hawaii and Los Angeles,
most of the filming took place in the United Kingdom, in locations ranging from
London to Glasgow, to a powerplant near Doncaster in South Yorkshire.
The Fast franchise began as a straight-up homage to the underground street
racing culture of East Los Angeles, and it soon became an international
phenomenon speeding into Japan, Mexico, Brazil, the Canary Islands, the Barents
Sea and on to Cuba before eventually landing in London in 2013's Fast & Furious
6, when Dom and the team came face-to-face with Owen Shaw.
London plays an even bigger backdrop in Hobbs & Shaw, as the men try to elude
both the authorities and Brixton while racing against the clock. This isn't the
same London viewers may remember.
This is Deckard Shaw's city and all aspects of it are incorporated into the
film's visual backdrop. From the film's opening sequence, Shaw's sophisticated
English gentleman is surrounded by the posh trappings of wealth. It is a far cry
from his scrappy upbringing in working-class East London with his mom, sister
But as Shaw, Hobbs and Hattie traverse the city the canvas expands to include
more areas of the city, from the hip, modern-day version of East London to
Piccadilly Circus, from Leadenhall in the Financial District to the historic
dome of St. Paul's Cathedral, to the Millennium Bridge over the River Thames.
One particular location seriously wowed the cast and crew: a night shoot in
front of St. Paul's Cathedral, the dome of which is an iconic fixture of the
London skyline. Director of photography Johnathan Sela and his department lit
the historical church as the stunning backdrop to a helicopter landing-a first
in London-as part of the riveting sequence in which Hattie and her tactical team
initiate their covert mission to liberate The Snowflake.
The production worked closely with city officials for months to gain
permission to allow a military helicopter to land in front of the cathedral. The
result is a historic shot that ends with Hattie escaping Brixton's ambush and
running across the Millennium Bridge looking back at the dramatically lit facade
of St Paul's.
The versatility of London and the U.K. allowed the filmmakers to utilize
several locations that weren't tagged to the city. Whether a short drive outside
the city or a plane trip to Glasgow, the production had an abundance of options
at their disposal.
An empty hangar at Farnborough Airport, a private facility located outside of
London, would provide the space for production designer David Scheunemann and
his team to build the headquarters for Eteon, the organization that backs
Brixton Lorr's mission to capture the bio-pathogen from Hattie. The enormous
space would be home to cast and crew for almost two weeks and was chock full of
every type of military vehicle, as well as portable lab pods and weapons
training and test facilities.
West Wycombe House, a beautiful period manor house with pristine, sweeping
green gardens in High Wycombe outside of London would be transformed into a
Russian estate that seductive arms dealer Madame M and her cadre of female
gangsters hijack to use as their base of operations.
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