Not even Universal Studios knew how huge The Fast and the Furious would become. The first film in 2001 was a surprise smash that made stars of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster. The second film was okay but the series seemed to destined for failure with the disappointing third installment, Tokyo Drift.
In 2009, Fast and Furious revived it as a new hit. Fast Five was even bigger by having both future Wonder Woman Gal Gadot and the addition of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The former wrestler played Hobbs, an agent who hunts the crew down but then ends up aiding them in their exploits. The success led to more sequels with the seventh movie featuring Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw, a former MI-6 agent-turned-mercenary as the bad guy. In Fate of the Furious, Shaw ends up helping the crew and becomes an anti-hero.
Right now, the future of the franchise is a bit up in the air (especially with the loss of Paul Walker). But this summer, Universal is ready to kick-start it in a new way. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw will team up the two recently added characters. Their mission is to stop Brixton (Idris Elba), a twisted crook on a secret plan that can cause disaster. The trailer has already won raves for its mix of humor, its insane action, and the terrific chemistry of Johnson and Statham. There’s still a few months before its release but to whet every fan's appetite, here are 20 behind the scenes facts that are set to make this one wild ride.
20 It Was Supposed to Open on Statham’s Birthday
It’s common practice in Hollywood to switch release dates around. More than once, a studio realizes they have a film that’s much better than expected and thus, moving it to a new date will allow it to be a bigger hit. Other times, films get bumped to ensure they're not defeated by another huge release. The movie was originally to be released on July 26th, which would be fitting as it’s Jason Statham’s 52nd birthday. Statham was even joking about it being “a great present.” Now, the film will open on August 2nd. Universal figures that by starting in the quieter month of August, the film can be a bigger box-office hit. Too bad for Statham but it still should make a fun date.
19 Chris O’Hara is a Stunt Master
The stunts have always been a critical part of the Fast and Furious series. It takes a seriously skilled person and a dedicated crew to pull these wild stunts off and keep the actors safe during them. Chris O’Hara is the main stunt coordinator for the film, having done work on Baby Driver, Venom, and Jurassic World. While this is his first F&F movie, O’Hara seems to be going all-out. The trailers boast wild stuff such as a scene where Hobbs chases guys down the side of a building and gets into a mid-air scuffle. Johnson and Statham have both praised O’Hara online and producer Shawn Levy thinks so highly of O’Hara that he’s already brought him for his new movie, Free Guy. Fans should enjoy his work here.
18 There’s Plenty of Wrestling References
When Dwayne Johnson started out in action movies, he would often integrate his wrestling moves into them (such as doing the “Rock Bottom” in The Rundown). He’s moved away from that in his bigger hits but it appears that Hobbs & Shaw will bring them back. Several of Hobbs’ threats are straight out of a WWE promo with his dry wit and imposing build. Also, Hobbs is shown describing himself as “an ice cold can of whoop-----.” This seems to be a reference to Johnson’s old rival, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Plus, Roman Reigns will no doubt bring some wrestling touches with his own role. It looks like WWE fans can find some stuff to enjoy with this film.
17 The Cars are Incredible
Obviously, any movie bearing the F&F label has to boast some sweet rides. The trailers guarantee that this spin-off will be no different. Shaw is shown stepping outside a swank party in an Aston Martin DB11 that would make 007 envious. A McLaren 720S is used for a chase scene that includes sliding it right under a tractor trailer. Other chases include everything from a land rover to a Ford Bronco. There’s even what looks like an Audi as a tribute to Staham’s Transporter films. That’s just what’s been shown as it’s probable the movie will boast even more incredible rides. While the characters aren’t huge gearheads, they’ll be bringing some fantastic new rides to this famous series.
16 Roman Reigns Co-Stars
WWE star Roman Reigns has made headlines by revealing he’s been battling leukemia. Thankfully, it’s in remission but Reigns was still handling it when he filmed his appearance in the movie. He plays one of Hobbs’ brothers which is ironic given that in real life, Joseph Anoaʻi is Johnson’s cousin. Reigns still counts wrestling as his main love but it’s possible he may follow Johnson into movies. In which case, this would be a great way for him to get attention. Johnson has posted photos of Reigns’ character helping Hobbs at their garage, which indicates it’s just a supporting role. But if it ends up being bigger with a few solid scenes, this could leave Roman with a new empire to conquer.
15 The Dog May Steal the Movie
Animals have a way of stealing the movie out from under the major human stars. Look at how Goose the cat is a highlight of Captain Marvel. It looks like the breakout character of this movie is going to be Hobbs. No, not Dwayne Johnson’s character—rather, his dog. There will be jokes about how Hobbs named a French bulldog after himself that follows him around and drives Shaw nuts. Johnson has shown off the dog which is his own bulldog, Hobbs, who he named after his character. It looks like the dog will pop up a lot in the movie and probably steal a few scenes. So amid the car chases and wild brawls, the pooch may end up being the showcase of the film.
14 The Fitness Regimen is Insane
Dwayne Johnson is known for his amazing build. He’s actually in better shape now than he was in his pro wrestling prime and loves to display his muscular physique online. Johnson has been showing off photos of his training and diet, which look to be more intense than most athletes. He posted on social media about being “250 lbs. of attitude and classy cuss words.” Statham is joining in by getting into serious shape himself to handle the action scenes. Idris Elba has to do the same, with the actor admitting he’s never had such a physical role in his career. For all the focus on the cars, it’s the actors who get the biggest workout for this movie.
13 There’s a Lawsuit
Hollywood can get pretty ugly and it looks like not everyone is on board with the F&F movies turning into a cinematic universe. Neal Mortiz has been a key producer of the series for all eight movies and was attached to the spin-off. Days before production, Mortiz was let go. He’s now filed a lawsuit against Universal for “breach of oral contract” and “promissory fraud." The lawsuit has gone forward as Mortiz also added a few Universal executives to the complaints. So far, the movie hasn’t been affected too much and both sides are trying to reach some sort of settlement. Still, this showcases how some major drama of the saga is actually happening off-screen.
12 Eiza Gonzalez is a Late Addition
Eiza Gonzalez has gotten attention for her role in the action hit Baby Driver. She’s also high on the list to play the new Catwoman for DC’s movies. That gives her plenty of credentials to have a role in this picture. Gonzalez was actually a late addition, though, coming in just as filming got underway. She plays a mysterious figure known only as “Madame M.” The major speculation is that she’s a criminal allied with Elba’s character. However, she could also be playing both sides against each other. Either way, it’s another dose of “girl power” for the movie and should help raise Gonzalez up.
11 It’s More Sci-Fi
The F&F movies have been infamous for basically acting like the laws of physics don’t exist. You can fill entire pages with all the impossible things the films do with cars. Yet Hobbs & Shaw looks to up the ante big time. The trailers showcase how Idris Elba’s Brixton has been given special cyber-enhancements via nanotech. This makes him strong enough to lift a car and practically invincible. That’s a level of storytelling even most of the F&F movies haven’t touched upon. The film really is taking a science-fiction edge and that should make it more outrageous than any of the others in the series. It just seems a logical step for the Fast films to go full on comic book sci-fi.
10 There Are Samoan Traditions
Dwayne Johnson is known for having huge pride in his Samoan heritage. He’s integrated that into his wrestling career and even movie roles, like voicing the funny demigod Maui in the Disney film Moana. Johnson has stated that Hobbs is also Samoan and this spin-off will explore that a lot more. Johnson shared photos of Hobbs with his brothers and the line “In Samoa we have a word that means everything to us – AIGA – which means FAMILY.” It seems likely they’ll play a role in the movie as Johnson added “when you fight one, you fight ALL.” It seems that Hobbs’ family get their own big action sequence later in the film and it showcases how Johnson’s Samoan past will be a key character point.
9 There Could be a New Universal Ride
Universal Studios has long been turning movies into very successful rides for their theme parks. Part of the Hollywood Studio tour has the trams heading into a tunnel where special 3-D film showcases the F&F characters as Hobbs “enlists” the tourists in chasing down bad guys. A version also exists at the Orlando park in its own separate building. Rumors are abounding that Universal may do a new version of the attraction to be based on this new movie. Given the intense filming, it wouldn’t be unusual to have Johnson and Statham film special footage of the characters as part of a chase scene to enjoy. It would be a good way to cross-promote the movie and spark the rides up more.
8 It’s Starting an F&F Universe
Studios are going wild for cinematic universes thanks to the success of the Marvel movies. Universal struck out as their monster-themed “Dark Universe” ended with the first film. Given F&F is one of their most successful franchises, it’s only logical Universal is trying to spread it out. Hobbs and Shaw is to be the first of several planned spin-off movies that will surround the main series. Producer Neal Mortiz states the tenth movie will be “the endgame of the franchise” but they are building more films around it. One movie will be female-centric and there will even be an animated Netflix show. Thus, fans can get ready for a lot more turbo-charged action to bide time until Fast 9 hits.
7 Hawaii Plays a Role
The early trailers for the movie emphasize major action. There’s a chase scene in London followed by a wild sequence where Hobbs does battle with goons while hanging on the side of a building. That’s followed by what looks like a big chase and battle scene at a nuclear power plant. Yet, it looks like the movie’s climax actually takes place in Hawaii. Photos from Johnson and others show filming with Jeeps and it appears Hobbs and Shaw make a last stand at Hobb’s home where his brothers (once chop-shop owners but now running a legit garage) help out. It may seem odd to end the movie like this yet F&F fans should enjoy the series cutting loose in this setting.
6 There’s Plenty of Humor
There’s always been some light comedy to the F&F series—and we’re not just talking laughing at the wildly over the top stunts. However, it seems Hobbs & Shaw is going to ramp up the humor majorly. It’s shown in the trailers of the duo slamming each other with insults and Hobbs getting in some wisecracks. It’s rubbing off off-screen as J. Jefferson did a video mocking the trailer and Johnson replied how much he loved it. The finished movie should have a lot more of this and it’ll be interesting seeing how pure comedy plays into the franchise. While it promises a lot of amazing action, there’s going to be a lot of laughs as well.
5 Filming Only Just Wrapped Up
Given that the movie has unleashed its first trailer, it would safe to assume it’s all done and in the can. And yet, the film just completed wrapping in mid-February. It’s not uncommon for a film to go back for reshoots. That’s especially true for a major high-budget action flick like this. Still, to produce a trailer when filming isn’t totally done isn’t totally common. Johnson shared a big photo of a helicopter hanging on wires while calling this “the most challenging film I’ve ever done.” He also praised Statham for being so tough and calling him a great co-star. The movie won’t debut until August so that’s plenty of time to finish pre-production work and shows how daunting it was to take so long to film.
4 Glasgow Poses as London
It’s well known that movies rarely shoot in the actual location shown (see how often Toronto stands in for U.S. cities). While the F&F movies have done segments in London, it’s not always the real city and this film is no exception. A street in London was closed down for a key foot chase sequence that appears to involve the big building fight shown in the trailers. For the most part, Glasgow stood in for London, with several streets closed down for a wild car chase sequence. There were also reports of filming taking place under a bridge, indicating some sort of underwater scene takes place. So when the movie premieres, eagle-eyed viewers can look for which scenes weren’t actually in London.
3 Helen Mirren Pops Up
One of the most delightful moments of Fate of the Furious was when Dame Helen Mirren popped up as Magdalene Shaw. The sight of the Oscar-winning icon from the UK talking like a cockney baddie was priceless. The joy was that the smooth and tough Deckard is helpless to resist his mother’s demands for his help, especially when she starts crying. Mirren is set to return in a cameo in the new movie. It’s likely she’ll be called in to settle some of the sibling rivalry between Deckard and MI-6 agent Hattie and maybe even hit on Hobbs. Once more, watching Mirren being part of this wild universe should be a highlight of the film.
2 The Two Won’t be in Fast 9
This had been rumored for a while but it’s now confirmed. While plans for Fast 9 are still a bit up in the air given the schedules of the actors, Hobbs and Shaw won’t be a part of it. There have been reports for some time that Johnson and Vin Diesel have clashed a lot on set. Also, Tyrese Gibson openly complained to a magazine on how the F&F movies seemed to be dominated more by Johnson. It appears the spin-off was a way to free up the characters and let the original stars shine better for the ninth movie. Thus, fans had best enjoy this spin-off because it may be the last time Shaw and Hobbs show up in the F&F universe for a while.
1 Vanessa Kirby is Shaw’s Sister
Shaw entered the F&F franchise by being the revenge-bent brother of Fast 6’s Owen (played by Luke Evans). The brothers ended up working together to save Toretto’s son in Fate of the Furious. It turns out we’re going to find out more of this unique family. Vanessa Kirby (who had a memorable role in Mission Impossible: Fallout) plays Hattie, Deckard’s sister. She’s the “black sheep” of the family because she’s actually a law enforcement agent. Specifically, she’s MI-6 and is still ticked off that Deckard turned on the organization to become a mercenary. They have to work together with reports that Hattie flirts with Hobbs mostly to annoy her brother. Kirby looks to handle the action well and provide some nice girl power to complement the powerhouse pair.
Sources: EW, Men's Health, Variety, and IGN.
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