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Feature Article

How Hobbs & Shaw Created Real-Life Superheroes, While Staying True To The Fast & Furious Franchise

From supercars to superheroes.

This Summer, Dwayne Johnson's Hobbs and Jason Statham’s Shaw exploded onto cinema screens in their very own outing, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. Arguably the most entertaining characters from the recent Fast movies, it made total sense that these two tough guys would play a bigger role in the franchise. The movie was exactly the dumb fun we expected, with an emphasis on the dumb, as Chris Hayner pointed out in his review, there were a few too many quirks that spoiled an otherwise entertaining movie.

We recently had the chance to sit down with director David Leitch (Hobbs & Shaw, John Wick, Deadpool 2) at McLaren's hi-tech HQ in the United Kingdom, to talk about how he approached the various elements that made this larger-than-life action movie a huge hit with fans worldwide.

GameSpot: How did you walk the line between Hobbs & Shaw being its own film with its own identity, but also tied to the Fast & Furious franchise?

David Leitch: You do want to make sure you’re true to the canon as much as you can be, and I think that the Fast fans are so loyal, and true, and rabid. That's a testament to Chris Morgan who's really been the architect of maintaining those characters and building them series after series, so I wanted to make sure that we were true to Hobbs' character and true to Shaw's character. We had a chance to explore their backgrounds, and that was really exciting to me; spending a little more time with Shaw and his family, seeing where that would go and setting up that world. Then Hobbs and his family and setting up this custom car world that he’s from.

You mention Chris Morgan, when you were working on this film, did you work very closely with him to make sure that this film did follow the lore of the Fast & Furious?

Chris was the gateway and policed me when I needed to be policed, and he encouraged me to expand things. When I felt like maybe that wouldn’t appeal to Fast fans, he knew what would. So when we decided to go bigger with the set pieces he was like, "you can always go bigger, you can always be more expansive, you can always defy physics." People want to go on this fantastical journey in this universe now, and it's happened progressively, and Hobbs (& Shaw) is just another extension of that. We tried to approach this movie true to the fans and what the fans would like, and that was a real mandate from Dwayne. If we knew that fans would like it, and that they would be entertained by it, and we thought there was satisfaction in it for the fans, we went for it.

This film delves into a science fiction element with Brixton, what was the thought behind that, and is that an element of the franchise you’d like to explore more?

I would like to explore it more. I think exploring Eteon and Brixton in moving forward would be really interesting. When you're trying to find an antagonist to stand up against Jason Statham and The Rock, you need someone who is formidable. We had Idris Elba and he's formidable and he probably could have done it without cyber enhancements, let's be honest, but it didn't hurt to have that element to raise the stakes for our heroes. It's sci-fi but we’re not that far off. Near future we're going to be enhancing our bodies, and there's already next generation prosthetics, people altering their vision, and augmented reality. These things are so close that it’s not as far off as them being street car racers that end up becoming spies for a secret organisation.

In terms of unrealistic action were there concerns about that? Is there a limit you do have?

I think there's some limit, I don’t think we were really concerned about that limit, obviously if you see the movie you know they’re jumping from buildings and we're definitely playing the physics and playing with the idea of the action set piece. But as we steered into Hobbs & Shaw, there were some things that I wanted to do with it. I wanted to take it tonally in a more comedic way, and a fun way, and I really wanted to lean into that superhero genre that is so beloved now by the world. If you notice how Fast has been evolving, it's been sort of leaning that way anyway, but could we really make these guys real-life superheroes? People have enjoyed those types of movies so much, can we make this brand have a little bit of that flavour as well, and we weren't afraid to make those leaps in the set pieces.

Will we see Hobbs and Shaw team up again and push the boundaries of the Fast & Furious franchise? We'll have to wait and see. If you missed the movie in theaters, or you want to relive the larger-than-life action, Hobbs & Shaw is now available on digital platforms, as well as Blu-ray and DVD.

Fast 9 will be the next movie in the franchise to hit theaters, arriving May 22, 2020. Though it won't feature The Rock, it'll sport an all-star cast including Fast veterans Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, and Ludacris, as well as recent additions Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren, plus newcomers John Cena and Michael Rooker.

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