Hobbs & Shaw Trailer Breakdown With Fast & Furious Writer Chris Morgan
By John Nugent Posted 17 days ago
Yep: they’re back. Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), two very different sides of the same muscly, bald coin, have spent years as sometime-adversaries and more recently grudging pals in the Fast & Furious movies. Now they’re stepping out in their very own spin-off, with the first trailer promising cars, clobbers, quips and explosions galore. Here, Chris Morgan — screenwriter on every film in the Fast series since 2006’s Tokyo Drift — breaks down that spectacularly bonkers first trailer for us.
Guns of Brixton
The trailer opens by introducing the movie’s new big bad. The filmmakers needed someone of brick-shithouse proportions to take on the might of Hobbs and Shaw. They found one in Brixton, played by Idris Elba — with some adjustments. “He is a future-tech mercenary soldier,” explains Morgan. “He uses gear that is at the forefront of technology. His suit is thin and flexible but also bulletproof.” This shot seems to show him being injected with a kind of super-serum, but Morgan stops short at any suggestion he’s an entirely otherworldly foe. “He is not anything sci-fi, per se. But he’s been… augmented in some ways. Hobbs and Shaw are both alphas in their own right. We needed a villain to stand up and just beat them down.”
When we first encounter Hobbs and Shaw, they are happily living on their respective sides of the world: Hobbs in LA, Shaw in London. “One of the requirements and goals for us in our filmmaking team is that for every film [in the francise], we expand on each character,” says Morgan. “We learn a little bit more about them, their family life, their internal dilemmas, their background. And so, when we pick these guys up, we also learn in this film where they are, what their lives are like — and then collide them together.”
With frenemies like these
It takes a big thing to make these former adversaries turned reluctant allies team up again. Here, it’s not Kurt Russell’s shady government agent Mr Nobody that sets the team on a new mission — but their grumpy odd-couple dynamic is still as spiky as ever. “Their styles are so different,” says Morgan. “Dwayne is the bull that charges through everything. Jason is tactical, fast, polished. They just rub each other the wrong way. After the events of the last film, they definitely respect each other. But they also irritate the hell out of each other.”
A moderating influence on all these gallons of testosterone is Hattie Shaw, sister of Deckard, played by The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby. “She’s great”, marvels Morgan. “She gets to be incredibly tough. The chemistry with all of them is really fun. She’s a great counterpart to the guys: she’s funny, she’s smart, she gives them a run for their money. It’s a really fun trio.” Hattie is another addition to the Shaw family which also includes Magdalene Shaw, Hattie and Deckard’s mother, played by Helen Mirren. She’s not seen in this trailer, but after her glorious cameo in the last film, she will make an appearance here.
“Ice cold can of whupass”
Here’s one of the many sublimely punch-the-air one-liners that this film offers: Hobbs, in full action hero mode, describes himself as an “ice-cold can of whupass”. Morgan says that, like everything with the film, the lines are a result of a broad church of collaboration. “These movies are an incredible collaboration with everybody. Dwayne is just a genuine amazing kind human being who really is only thinking about the audience. We’ll all sit together and talk about, what do we think the audience would want to see? What would make them excited? What’s funny? Dwayne has no ego in that.” The Rock’s legendary routine is all true, as well. “I get up in the morning and I literally have a double espresso macchiato in one hand and an Americano in the other, cause that’s what it takes to get going in the morning. By the time I get there, Dwayne has already worked out twice. Twice!”
Keep on trucking
This may be a spin-off, but the series hasn’t forgotten its petrolhead roots, and there will be plenty of vehicular action of all shapes and sizes — including this ludicrously monstrous truck driven by Hobbs, which appears to be the size of a small house. “We tend to put Hobbs in some sort of military vehicle,” chuckles Morgan. “In the past, we’ve had one called the Gurkha LAPV [Light Armoured Patrol Vehicle], and one called the Napstar.” As well as the military-grade wheels, we’ll also see Hobbs’s more humble A-to-B school run car, which Morgan describes as a “tripped out Bronco”.
Mid-life crisis car
While Hobbs tends to go big and brash, Shaw goes slick and sleek – here he gets an extremely expensive McLaren sports car to zip around in. “The McLaren company was so giving for us,” says Morgan, who notes that these racing cars weren’t exactly designed for the kind of stunt madness expected of a Fast & Furious movie. “They are designed to such specificity for racing that they will correct any craziness that goes on with the car,” explains Morgan. “They’re so focused and stable, designed for maximum stability. We wanted to do stunts with them — but the computers on board the car wouldn’t allow it. We had to get McLaren mechanics to reprogramme their chips.”
It worked, as seen in this stunt where Shaw skids under a moving lorry. “And by the way,” clarifies Morgan, “not one truck, but two trucks. Travelling in the opposite direction.”
The skyscraper’s the limit
The climax of the trailer comes in this explosive fight scene on the side of a London skyscraper. The Fast series has dealt with skyscraper action before, of course (Furious 7 saw Vin Diesel drive between three Dubai skyscrapers in mid-air). But never have we seen a man fall out of a skyscraper — and punch another man on his way down. “I love being able to tell character moments and beats in the middle of very heightened action that we haven’t seen before,” says Morgan. “This sequence just seemed a really fun place to showcase the difference in styles between Hobbs and Shaw, and do it in a way that gives you a little bit of vertigo.”
Though it comes at the end of the trailer, Morgan assures us that this is not, in fact, the final set piece of the movie. “We have so much that we’re holding back,” he says, giddily. “This is a blink of the action in the film. A blink.”
The final sequence of the trailer sees our hulking heroes in chains, being threatened with electrocution by Brixton. “It’s knocking down their stereotypical tough guy stuff a little bit,” laughs Morgan. “Dwayne tries it and gets put in his place a little bit. That’s a really fun sequence.” He explains that though the film is very much of Fast & Furious family, it will also push the action and comedy in different directions — with director David Leitch a big part of that. “We maintain the touchstones in tone to Fast, in terms of the personal relationships and the big giant action — but also bring its own unique look and humour. David is bringing that, in terms of the colour palette of the film and a little bit more of a sense of humour. Even though it is an action movie with real stakes.” We’re pumped.
Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw is in cinemas from 2 August
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