WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw, in theaters now.
Hobbs & Shaw leans heavily into the chemistry shared by Dwayne Johnson's Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham's Deckard Shaw, which helps to ground the otherwise over-the-top Fast and the Furious spinoff.
"These are some very special performances because their chemistry is so good," director David Leitch told CBR. "I think everyone involved had bought into the idea that their dynamic is key, and that's what's driving the movie. We focused on it, but everyone came every day to work. People were supportive of each other, writing lines for one another. 'Maybe you could say this, maybe you could say that.' It was a really collaborative experience with those guys."
Hobbs & Shaw often anchors the absurd action with charming character beats, an approach Leitch employed in his previous works, Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2.
"I think it all starts with the characters and the characters dynamic," he said. "Looking back at Atomic Blonde, what is Lorraine Broughton's world like? What stakes do we need to feel for her? How am I going to get this audience to care about her? And then we filled it in with this wish-fulfillment, '80s world. We made the stakes visceral and real. That was one way to get into her character."
"Deadpool is hard to humanize at times because he's so subversive, so we wanted to find a way to humanize him and empathize with him," Leitch continued. "The whole movie has to be subversive, but if the movie didn't have an emotional core, you wouldn't give a shit. We have the love story with him and Vanessa and [exploring] the idea of nurture over nature in this sort of philosophical idea [to ground him.]
"Then you've got Hobbs and Shaw. These two guys, their chemistry is undeniable, they're already having fun, in the last three films they're already having these great vignettes of like, insulting each other. That's what endears them to you. That becomes the core of the movie. If you don't care about the characters, then you're never going to go on these journeys. So it all stems from character and I sort of build out from there."
Directed by David Leitch (Deadpool 2) from a script by longtime Fast & Furiousnarrative architect Chris Morgan, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shawstars Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba and Vanessa Kirby.