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FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW

Production Information
THE BACKSTORY
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 Hobbs film.

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."

Family Matters
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 military hospital.

In The Fate of the Furious, audiences caught a deeper glimpse of the man behind the façade 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 own.

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."

THE CHARACTERS
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."

Hattie Shaw
Vanessa Kirby
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."

Brixton Lorr
Idris Elba
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 it."

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.

Queenie Shaw
Helen Mirren
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."

Madame M
Eiza Gonzalez
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 (Baby Driver).

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."

Professor Andreiko
Eddie Marsan
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 organization."

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 boost."

Jonah Hobbs
Cliff Curtis
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 Hobbs' brothers.

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 experience."

At the center of the family unit is their mother, Sefina, played by Hawaii-based 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 character."

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," Curtis says.

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."

THE LOCATIONS
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 and brother.

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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