Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw

EW takes fans inside Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shawthe first ever spin-off from Universal’s highest-grossing franchise of all time – featuring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham reprising their roles and Idris Elba joining as Brixton, a cyber-engineered baddie who’s eager to get his hands on a globe-threatening virus.

EW’s Devan Coggan sat down with the cast and creators to discuss Hobbs and Shaw’s evolution from nemeses to begrudgingly tolerant colleagues, bringing fresh elements to the franchise and why Elba was the only option to play this particular antagonist.

EW learns there were discussions of spinning off the Hobbs character as early as 2011, but plans didn’t shift into gear until after the introduction of Statham’s Shaw in 2013’s Fast & Furious 6.

  • “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. “But you don’t need to get on the wrong side of him. He’s very resourceful, and he’s quite an intense character.”
  • “The other movies were great, and I loved creating the character of Hobbs,” Johnson 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.”

Seeing as both Hobbs and Shaw have filled the antagonist role in past Fast & Furious films, this outing needed a foe who was big enough, bad enough, and threatening enough to unite these two frenemies. Enter Idris Elba’s Brixton.

  • “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. And then, of course, I get to play this really complex bad guy.”
  • “You kind of almost want to like him, but he’s on the wrong side of the law all the time,” says Elba, no stranger to playing sympathetic criminals, like his breakout role as The Wire’s Stringer Bell. “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!’”

Hobbs & Shaw is the first Fast to turn off the main road, and the filmmakers say their biggest challenge was creating a movie that felt true to the franchise while still injecting fresh elements.

  • “What we wanted to do was still be able to lean into the spectacle and the action that you’re used to with that universe,” producer Hiram Garcia explains. “But we wanted to turn up a little bit of the humor, the banter, the buddy-cop dynamic that sometimes we can’t get in Fast because there’s so many characters in play.”

Cover Images:
EW’s Hobbs & Shaw cover can be downloaded here.

Photo credit: Michael Muller for EW


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SpongeBob SquarePants

Ahead of SpongeBob SquarePants 20th-anniversary special, EW has the untold stories on Bikini Bottom, SpongeBob, and all his friends. EW’s David Canfield sat down with the original SpongeBob cast to discuss the series’ origins, development, guest stars and legacy.

Cast on the series beginning:

  • Tom Kenny (SpongeBob): “I’d worked with [Stephen Hillenburg] on Rocko’s Modern Life [as the voice of Heffer and other characters]. So this was the easiest job I ever got: There was no audition, there was no callback, there was no “It’s down to you and two other guys.” Though I did hear that there was a push to have Fred Savage play SpongeBob.
  • Mr. Lawrence (Plankton): “I was also friends with Steve from Rocko; we were directors on that show together. When he was working on the SpongeBob pilot, I came in and he said, ‘You’re going to be somebody on the show.’ I actually read for SpongeBob with Plankton’s voice. I was like [does Plankton’s voice], ‘I’m ready! I’m ready, Gary!’”

Cast on the parade of guest stars over the years:

  • Carolyn Lawrence (Sandy): “I like when Ernest Borgnine [Mermaid Man] was in and he just kept going and going. We all just hung out and waited until he was done.”
  • Kenny:  Same with Tim Conway [Barnacle Boy]. It was the first thing they’d done together since McHale’s Navy, so that was fun to watch. [And Jon Hamm] actually stayed after he was done recording. We were like, ‘Okay, that’s it, Jon.’ He goes, ‘You mind if I stay?’”
  • Mr. Lawrence: “I remember Scarlett Johansson coming into the first movie we did [released in 2004]. She was so excited. We all got into the booth, and we were all there at the same time. She had her headphones on, ready to do her line, but as soon as we started talking…she looked like she was watching a pinball machine. She got to her line and she said, ‘I don’t know if I can do that.’ You could see she was scared. Just the intimidation of watching us all do it at once, up front. And then: She was great!”

Cast on the series legacy:

  • Kenny: “SpongeBob is one of the last remaining super-visual cartoons. There’s just not a whole lot of shows like that anymore. In some ways, I feel like I’m working in this time-machine job. Like working on a radio show or Looney Tunes. It’s pretty cool that we’re still able to be employed as milkmen in 2019.”




Lenore Moritz, [email protected]

Bradford Bridgers, [email protected]