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With three megawatt names already stretched across the top of its poster, the new Fast & Furious spin-off, Hobbs & Shaw, wasn’t exactly hurting for star power. But going big has long been the franchise’s modus operandi, so audiences that saw the globe-trotting action flick on its opening weekend were treated to two semi-surprise cameos from actors who regularly headline their own blockbusters.
**Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers for Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw below**
While there had been rumors floating around that he had joined the cast this spring, none of Hobbs & Shaw’s marketing even hinted at his conclusion, so it still came as a bit of a shock when Ryan Reynolds sauntered into the frame in the middle of the film’s first act. (Kevin Hart provides the other superstar cameo.) Playing a wise-ass government agent, he’s more than happy to interrupt a father-daughter pancake breakfast between Luke Hobbs (played by star Dwayne Johnson) and his tween daughter (Eliana Sua) to deliver a stack of plot details, drizzled with deadpan sarcasm and friendly antagonism.
How did one of the biggest movie stars in the world end up appearing in one of the summer’s biggest blockbusters, entirely uncredited? He did it “as a favor,” according to Hobbs & Shaw director David Leitch, who worked with Reynolds on Deadpool 2 and kept the actor on speed dial.
When Leitch began to dig into the script, from writers Chris Morgan and Drew Goddard, he knew that some of the early crucial monologues needed some punching up to keep the audience engaged as they were fed the movie’s plot. The opening of the film finds British agent Hattie (Vanessa Kirby) stealing a virus from Idris Elba’s heel Brixton, but there’s little context in the action-heavy sequence.
“We had that exposition of the virus, and I called him and said, 'Hey, I have this scene, it’s stuffy exposition, plot stuff, so would you consider coming in and let’s make it fun?'" Leitch recalled in an interview with SYFY WIRE. Luckily, Reynolds was game to take on the bit part and make it his own. “I sent him the pages and he added the special Ryan dust,” Leitch said, laughing.
Reynolds more or less created the flippant troll character known simply as Locke, who bugs Hobbs by insisting that they’re best friends despite all evidence that the hulking action hero can hardly stand him. Their chemistry makes for a scene that stands out as one of the movie’s highlights; because the two characters are supposed to have a history together, Reynolds feels like he’s been a part of the franchise all along.
It was so natural, in fact, that Leitch wants to see more of Reynolds and Locke going forward.
“Hopefully we can spin [him] out into more episodes of Hobbs & Shaw,” the director said, launching a million fan theories with the mere suggestion.