By Derek Lawrence
March 06, 2019 at 10:21 AM EST

Hobbs and Shaw have their work cut out for them.

For Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham’s upcoming Fast & Furious spin-off, Hobbs & Shaw, the duo landed an equally big name in Idris Elba, who stars as the film’s villain, Brixton.

“It was a really cool film to make, working with Dwayne and Jason, who make high-octane films quite a bit, way more than me,” Elba tells EW. “It was great to watch them work and learn from them. David Leitch, the director, was a complete draw for me; I love him and I think he’s a fantastic director. I was given free reign to make a character that hopefully sits in the zeitgeist of the Fast world, but just feels a little bit elevated. My character borders on the lines of scientific and I think that is quite an exciting area for the Fast franchise to go. This guy is a mean motherf—er, and I had a lot of fun playing him.”

Speaking to EW in December, Johnson talked about the creation of the character of Brixton and why Elba was the “perfect guy” to follow in the Fast bad guy footsteps of Statham, Charlize Theron, and others.

“If you have Hobbs and Shaw, two beloved characters within the Fast & Furious world, how do we create a villain who is formidable, viable, better, stronger, and more diabolical?” said Johnson. “I feel like we created that on the page, but then who is the actor who can actually bring that weight? And I’ve known Idris for some time now, and we felt like he was the perfect guy to come in and be our main villain. Our goal with Idris to make him the baddest villain the franchise has ever seen. Coming in, he is undefeated. And for a guy who is undefeated, three men enter and either one man leaves or two leave. And I say that respectfully because there have been so many bad guys who we’ve had over the years. But Idris is the perfect guy. Obviously, he’s a phenomenal actor, really brings a great weight and quality to the role — and a viability.”

Universal Pictures

Statham added, “With what they’ve created with this character, I don’t think anyone else can put the boots on. He’s just so formidable, so talented, and I’ve never seen a villain played to this kind of depth. He’s just so electric in what he’s delivering.”

Hobbs & Shaw races to theaters on Aug. 2, while Elba hosts this weekend’s Saturday Night Live.

Related content:

Dwayne Johnson's Hobbs and Jason Statham's Shaw get their own "Fast & Furious" spin-off.
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