David Leitch is on quite an action-packed streak. Leitch began his Hollywood career as a stuntman but got his big break as the co-director of John Wick (alongside Chad Stahelski). Since then, in a pretty short amount of time, Leitch has directed Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2 (and we asked him what a third chapter looks like now that Fox was bought by Disney), and now the Fast & Furious spinoff, Hobbs & Shaw.
Hobbs & Shaw finds Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham reprising their respective roles, forced together to stop Idris Elba’s evil Brixton Lore from tracking down a rogue spy (Vanessa Kirby) who is in possession of a dangerous virus that could wipe out the world’s population. So, it’s all up to Hobbs and Shaw to save the world, but, unfortunately, they don’t like each other very much.
Ahead, Leitch takes us through the present and future of both Hobbs and Shaw, and reveals why a little Easter egg might just change how you look at another movie. (Leitch does not consider this a spoiler, so it’s in here. But, you might. If it is, it’s a minor one that does not affect the plot.)
When I saw this movie, the Rock comes out for a scene without a shirt and a woman behind me yells, “Ah, look at that body.” And the whole theater erupted in applause.
[Laughs] That’s awesome. Are you sure it wasn’t a member of the media?
I’d say 80 percent sure.
I was not beyond making The Rock walk the catwalk, as we say. We wanted to make a movie that was fun for an audience and that was a big, fun, summer, popcorn movie. So, if it meant The Rock taking his shirt off for a moment to make one of the four quadrants of fans cheer, then it was worth it.
Right after that scene, he fights a helicopter. I love that there’s a scene of him putting his shirt back on.
Yeah, that was one of those classic moments in movies where we have this sort of continuity thing that we need to address. These big logistical puzzles. We’re shooting scenes, obviously out of order, even in different parts of the world, and there’s that moment where you have that realization, oh shit, he’s got his shirt on.
But, for me, I like that he does to so quickly and efficiently. It’s like only Hobbs can.
How did you want to make this different from the main Fast and Furious movies?
I wanted us to obviously be true to the franchise, but then not take ourselves 100 percent seriously. Maybe 99 percent seriously. I think that what’s been great about the Fast world is the audience has been accepting for them to reinvent themselves in different ways over the last incarnations, and to get crazier and crazier. And I think with Hobbs & Shaw, I think we felt confident that the audience would go along the ride with these characters wherever we went as long as we were having fun and we’re being true to those characters.
People know Dwayne Johnson is funny, but ever since Spy, Jason Statham has been leaning more into being funny, which he is.
Oh, 100 percent. Jason, not only being a talented actor, and obviously a talented action star, he’s a really funny comedian and has great comedic instinct, and he knows his strong suits when it comes to comedy. And they couldn’t have been more tailor-made for each other, this Hobbs & Shaw dynamic.
Idris Elba does the “stops bullets with his hands” trick that I’ve always loved since The Empire Strikes Back.
That whole world Idris is involved in is this sort-of tech cult that has some of this great cutting edge, next-generation gear and that bulletproof suit was one of them. And obviously, his enhancement allows him to predict things, and see things faster than other people. So we thought it was an interesting moment. It’s a little bit of a throwback to my days on The Matrix, in the Neo moment.
A lot of times the bullets just bounce off the chest, but to actually have the hand is great.
So, yes, we went there.