"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? ... Who is the actor who can actually bring that weight?" Johnson recently told Entertainment Weekly. "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."
Elba will play Brixton in the much-anticipated Fast & Furious spinoff, which stars Johnson as government agent Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw. After going head-to-head in previous Fast installments, the titular duo will join forces in the film to defeat Brixton, whom Johnson calls "the baddest villain the franchise has ever seen."
"Coming in, he is undefeated," Johnson said about Elba's character. "And for a guy who is undefeated, three men enter and either one man leaves or two leave. ... Idris is the perfect guy. Obviously, he’s a phenomenal actor, really brings a great weight and quality to the role—and a viability. He’s a big man and he’s a legitimate badass and a legitimate martial artist."
Hobbs & Shaw is currently shooting in London, and will wrap up production in Hawaii next year. Johnson said Fast fans will enjoy this movie, as it delivers comedy, action, and plenty of "holy shit moments." The 46-year-old actor said the team behind wanted the spinoff to mark in evolution in the Fast franchise, but still adhere to the series' DNA.
"It was also imperative—not only to me, but to Jason, [director David Leitch], the entire cast—that we still maintained the core values of what has made Fast & Furious such a beloved franchise. And those core values are a code of honor, a ride-or-die spirit, and above all else, family comes before anything."
You can read the full interview at EW. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw will hit U.S. theaters Aug. 2, 2019.