David Leitch says Keanu Reeves was almost in Hobbs & Shaw. The director went on to say that he and Reeves were in communication before production even began all the way to when the first cut was finished. When the rumors started to spread, action fans started to get pretty excited about the idea of Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Idris Elba, and Reeves all in the same movie. But it was not to be, which Johnson confirmed shortly after the initial rumors began to spread like wildfire.
Hobbs & Shaw hit theaters over the weekend and scored a massive global haul of over $180 million, but Keanu Reeves didn't show up. While the rumors sounded a bit too good to be true at the time, it turns out they were actually based on fact. David Leitch had this to say about Reeves having a cameo in the Fast and Furious spin-off.
"It all stemmed from the fact that we had talked to Keanu early on. It was even before where we ended up with this draft. I had been talking to Keanu periodically through the shooting of it all and looking for opportunities of where it could be. I also wanted to make sure that it was enough - a real promise for something legitimate in the future - and wasn't just a stunt casting role. We started to populate the movie with all these other personalities, and I just didn't really think that we needed it, although I would've loved it. We even talked in post, and I showed him a rough cut of the movie. Then, we had conversations about 'is there something here?' We came to the conclusion of 'let's put a pin in it.' I'm all for finding opportunities, but I also didn't want to force anything."
The original rumors surrounding Keanu Reeves' involvement in Hobbs & Shaw had him in a villain role. He was supposedly going to be tied to Idris Elba's character, though it's unclear what that would have been. David Leitch would not say who Reeves was going to be, but there has been speculation he would have been the mysterious director of Eteon. The villain is faceless in the movie, so there could still be a chance for Reeves in the future. Leitch explains.
"The mystery at the end of the movie where the Eteon director is nameless and faceless seems perfect for our ending because we had so much story we've already told. The backstory with Brixton and Shaw, Hobbs reconnecting with Jonah (Cliff Curtis), Shaw reconnecting with Hattie, Locke's relationship with Hobbs... Dinkley. There was just so much stuff, and we still had to resolve all the family threads. The mystery of what Eteon is and where it's gonna go was left where it needed to be."
Keanu Reeves is a pretty busy guy and went right from the John Wick 3 press tour to Bill & Ted Face the Music. Though his part in Hobbs & Shaw would have probably only taken a few days to shoot, it's probably for the better that he took a bit of a rest. Plus, it sounds like the door is still wide open for him to join the Fast and Furious franchise. After the successful box office debut, it's looking like we will end up seeing a sequel.
It will be interesting to see if Keanu Reeves has the same kind of action contract for fight scenes like the rest of the Fast and Furious franchise reportedly has. It was recently revealed that Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, and Jason Statham allegedly have contract demands which keep them from losing fights to each other. They might have to tear those up if the John Wick star jumps on board. You can check out the rest of the interview with David Leitch over at The Hollywood Reporter.