Get behind the wheel with Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, and Idris Elba for EW's exclusive Hobbs & Shaw cover shoot
Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, and Idris Elba are hitting the road. EW gathered the stars of Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw in May for a smoky, high-octane photo shoot at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, where they suited up and spilled secrets about the upcoming spin-off.
Click through for pics from the cover shoot, taken by photographer Michael Muller.
Idris Elba, Dwayne Johnson, and Jason Statham
Johnson’s Luke Hobbs and Statham’s Deckard Shaw have clashed time and time again throughout the Fast & Furious franchise. Their first spin-off movie forces them to reluctantly team up against an even bigger, badder foe: Idris Elba’s mercenary Brixton.
Dwayne Johnson, Idris Elba, and Jason Statham
“[We wanted] to approach it with a tremendous amount of respect and also come into the process with some guts in terms of wanting to create our own flavor, our own style, our own identity,” Johnson explains. “But to still have the quality of a Fast & Furious movie.”
Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham
“I think me and Dwayne share a very similar sense of humor,” Statham says. “The only difference in us is the amount of weight he pushes when he’s doing a bench press.”
Hobbs & Shaw is Johnson’s fifth film in the Fast & Furious universe, since making his debut in 2011’s Fast Five. “The other movies were great, and I loved creating the character of Hobbs,” he says. “Eventually, for me personally, I needed more juice. I needed to sink my teeth into something that allowed the character to grow and expand and showcase more layers.”
“We really lean into the comedy,” Johnson says. “In the other movies, we were able to have a little bit of fun just through quips. But for something like this, it really gives us the opportunity to stretch the script out, inject comedy, and make sure that people are laughing.”
Since first popping up in 2013’s Fast & Furious 6, Statham’s Shaw has evolved from vengeful antagonist to reluctant hero. “I think Shaw was sort of misunderstood when he first came on to the screen in the early Fast & Furiouses, and as we start to unravel what he’s all about, we come to understand that he really isn’t a villain,” Statham says.
“You don’t need to get on the wrong side of [Shaw],” Statham says. “He’s very resourceful, and he’s quite an intense character.”
“I’ve been a fan of the Fast & Furious franchise, as is everyone,” Elba tells EW. “It’s sort of the ultimate escapism. And I love cars. I’m a bit of a motorhead.”
“You kind of almost want to like him, but he’s on the wrong side of the law all the time,” Elba says of his cyber-engineered villain. “For me, the most complex [character] to play is someone that’s hideous and violent but has qualities that make you go, ‘Oh! He could be a nice guy if only he wouldn’t shoot so many people!’”
For Elba, Hobbs & Shaw also marked a chance to show off his action skills. “I come from a martial-arts background, so it’s great to be able to do all this,” he says. “Brixton is extremely strong, so I get to do all these incredible fight sequences and just take out, like 12 men by myself.”
Dwayne Johnson, Idris Elba, and Jason Statham
“These types of films are a lot of fun,” Statham says. “We are not doing a courtroom drama. We’re out there jumping around and having a lot of fun.”
Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, and Vanessa Kirby in Hobbs and Shaw
The Crown alum Vanessa Kirby also joins the cast as Shaw’s MI6 operative sister, Hattie. “She’s an amazing fighter,” Kirby teases.
Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham in Hobbs and Shaw
“Jason loves to come to set extremely prepared, lines locked in,” Johnson explains. “I do too, but then I also come [as] a massive pain-in-the-ass headache for Jason because I’m like, ‘Okay, I’ve got this other idea! Take what you learned and throw it out the window! So how about we do this…’ ”
Idris Elba in Hobbs and Shaw
“I remember the first scene we shot with [Idris],” Statham says. “I remember looking at [director David Leitch], and I go, ‘He’s f—ing brilliant, isn’t he?’ You feel that when you see his work. When he rolls up his sleeves to hit you around the head, he could do that in real life, so it’s not just some phony actor pretending to be tough. He’s the real deal.”
Director David Leitch and Dwayne Johnson on the set of Hobbs and Shaw
Director David Leitch — known for John Wick, Atomic Blonde, and Deadpool 2 — wanted to use his stuntman background to amp up the action. “Shaw’s like a precision driver, and he’s very purposeful, [with] minimal move ments,” he explains. “He’s a guy with a forward-thinking plan. And then you have Dwayne’s character, Hobbs, who’s a man of brute force and muscle.”
For more on Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, pick up the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday, or buy it now! Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.