Vic Manning is a hulking cop with a vendetta, trying to track down a crime figure responsible for a merciless slaying.
And he needs a ride.
In the summertime action-comedy, Dave Bautista stars as the no-nonsense lawman, and Kumail Nanjiani plays his Uber driver, Stu, who supplies plenty of nonsense as his panicked sidekick when Manning books his car for an odyssey through Los Angeles to hunt down the murderer.
“So, Vic is begrudgingly using Uber because he’s just had Lasik surgery,” Bautista tells EW. “And I mean, begrudgingly.”
That explains both the not-so-stylish goggles in this First Look image, meant to shield his fragile eyes from damaging light, and his inability to drive himself from Point A to Point B.
“He is not happy to be in this Uber, but it’s his only way to get around,” Bautista says. “He doesn’t have the support of the police department at this particular moment. He’s going a little rogue. It’s personal to him.”
Stuber, which (obviously) gets its title from blending the driver’s name and his company, hits theaters on July 12, and a work-in-progress version will preview next week at SXSW.
Directed by Michael Dowse (the 2013 romantic-comedy What If), the comedy aims for the classic mismatched buddy-cop movies of the ‘80s: Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in 48 Hours. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim Belushi in Red Heat. Maybe even Bob Hoskins and the cartoon bunny in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Vic needs Stu to get from here to there, but he doesn’t really want him along for the hunt. “He doesn’t volunteer much information, but Stu is starting to figure things out and doesn’t really realize what he’s gotten himself into by picking up this passenger,” Bautista says.
“So yeah, as you can imagine, they would butt heads a little bit.”
Stu gets especially uncomfortable when he has to witness not-so-good-guy tactics like nearly ripping off a suspect’s leg. That’s what’s going on in this shot below with actor Rene Moran as Amos Cortez, who has some information Vic isn’t going to get with the magic word.
“I don’t want to give away too much, but I will say that during that scene, God it’s so funny,” Bautista says. “What I’m trying to do is get information out of this guy. Stu is very PC and Vic is very rough around the edges. Stu is not comfortable with these methods.”
Uber drivers have the option of refusing a fare, so why does Stu continue on the journey?
“Stu is the biggest do-gooder you could imagine,” Bautista says. “He’s very peaceful, a Buddhist/yoga type of person. So he just wouldn’t. He would feel guilty for the next three years if he actually turned down a ride. He’s really a kindhearted person.”
And he has another motivation. “He doesn’t want his rating to drop,” Bautista says. “He’s a stickler about his rating.”
Hey, in the gig economy, who can afford to turn down a job?