That’s right, the ever-reliable ridesharing app serves as the premise for this summer’s five-star action-comedy, Stuber, which stars Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick, Silicon Valley) as Stu – or ‘Stuber’ as he’s pejoratively known by his peers – a mild-mannered Uber driver who gets sucked into a criminal underworld by belligerent L.A. cop Vic Manning (Dave Bautista – Avengers:Endgame, Guardians of the Galaxy) after a revenge mission leaves him in desperate need of a willing chauffeur and a keen pair of eyes.
What ensues is a hilarious, buddy-cop comedy where the mismatched duo barrel around the city trying to establish some remnants of law enforcement while taking down the bad guys.
In a Prius.
Ahead of the film’s UK release on 12th July, we sat down with the two stars of the film, Dave Bautista And Kumail Nanjiani, to talk all things Uber… and Stuber.
Kumail Nanjiani: Personally, I’ve been a fan of these movies for a while – I think we both have. There hasn’t been too many of them recently, though, and what I liked about Stuber was that it was really, really funny, it was with Dave and it felt like an opportunity to do something different with a classic genre.
Dave Bautista: Well it was great working together, I don’t want to speak for Kumail but I think he had a good time!
KN: Yeah I had a great time!
DB: I think the dynamic works because we clicked right off the bat and there was definitely a friendship there, which I think translates really well on screen. It was an organic thing that happened from the very first time we met and we just developed that chemistry and friendship as time went on.
KN: Yeah, I think chemistry is a mysterious thing and I always say that even if you’re playing an antagonist an off-screen relationship really helps. So even though on-camera we’re fighting for most of the movie, off-camera we just became like brothers and I think that translates.
DB: It was great, I loved it and saw it as a challenging role. It was something that was a little out of my comfort zone though because Vic is nothing like me as a person!
But because we wanted to play around with Vic’s physicality, it was more of a challenge than people would imagine.
KN: Yeah and you know Dave grew his hair out for the role and he was wearing a fake belly for it. If you had that belly in real life how would you feel?
DB: I would feel awful!
KN: We just needed someone that felt like their best days were behind them!
KN: I actually learned a lot! It’s a little strange, though, especially with the car chases. When you’re acting normally and just talking to people you want it to feel real and natural like you’re there, whereas when you’re doing the car chases you’re screaming and doing all this crazy stuff when really it’s pretty silent, so it can feel a little artificial.
But it’s really an acting challenge. I remember there was an action scene in a Sriracha factory and we would do the take and I thought everything was going great but Mike [director Michael Dowse] was like ‘higher energy, higher energy‘ so I watched what we’d done and he was right, it just felt really low energy!
There was also a scene when I’m in a car and I go to grab Dave and Mike was like ‘scream louder, scream louder’ and I thought it was going to be so goofy and then you watch it back and it feels really real.
So you just kind of have to artificially pump yourself up to do those things and that was new for me.
DB: And at the same time you have to put your trust in the director. If it feels false or artificial you really have to put yourself out on a limb and trust him. I remember the same experience in the same scene. It felt so false, and that’s where I’m still learning to be honest. And I did, and I credit Dowse for that because I would have done it a completely different way.
KN: Oh, not well! Not well at all! At best I could run away. If he doesn’t get me in the first ten seconds I could just run although I’m sure he’s very fast too. I don’t have a shot though! And I can’t even run that fast either so I have literally nothing going for me!
KN: Oh, definitely quiet! I’m definitely someone who likes to mind their own business!
DB: Yeah I’m exactly the same.
KN: I mean, are there actually people who are like ‘oh I’m a chatty Uber passenger I want to get in and talk?’
DB: Very lonely people I think!
DB: To a point yes! I was definitely late to social media and there are times now when I wish I’d taken advantage of it when I was wrestling. That was really early on before the social media explosion, though. I mean I’m not completely off it, but I am somewhat technically ignorant!
KN: You’re on Twitter and Instagram aren’t you?
DB: Yeah I do the main ones. I try to be engaged but only to a point where it’s not driving me insane. I don’t want to get wrapped up in negativity but I do try to use it as a good platform to try to engage with people because it’s just fun. Social media should be fun.
KN: For me it would people who just want to constantly talk and get serious, asking me where I’m from and all that stuff. I’m pretty quiet to be honest.
DB: I’m totally the same, I mind my own business in general. But I also don’t want to meet someone straight off the bat and start having a political discussion or anything too personal. Or if someone has really passionate opinions I don’t really want to get into that while I’m just trying to get somewhere.
KN: I was actually in London a couple of weeks ago and the driver started speaking to me about political stuff and I wasn’t saying anything and then he started talking about the illuminati running the world and Zionists and I was like, ‘this is the worst car ride I’ve ever been in!’
DB: I get lost every time I get it – I somehow always end up on the wrong train!
DB: I’m one of those people who’s never actually had a real job. I started bouncing in high school and then I worked at gyms here and there before going into professional wrestling. Although there was one time I worked with a friend and we had to punch a clock every day for three weeks. We were like 21/22 years old and we had to wear a shirt and tie in the middle of summer and we both quit on the same day because we got too hot! Oh, and I started lifeguarding too for a few years.
KN: You were a lifeguard for years? I learn something new about you every day!
KN: Well I worked in an office for 6 years doing the 9-5 and even though everyone was really nice I was just so miserable because it was so different from what I wanted to do. Looking back I’m glad I did it and had that experience of having an office job at a desk in a cubicle, but it really was like ‘oh my god it’s Friday!’ and then on Sunday I’d be really sad for the week ahead. It was a good experience but it was not pleasant at all!
KN: It always feels like the word ‘friend-zone’ is something that the woman is doing to the guy when really I feel like most of the situation it’s the guy’s fault.
In this movie, Stu is to blame for not telling this woman how he feels and she even says that in the movie. She says ‘it’s unfair, you never told me and you’re making it seem like it’s my fault’ so we really wanted to talk about the ‘friend-zone’ thing and alter the perception of it.
It’s on the guy, not the woman, because really ‘friend-zone’ just means that she sees you as a friend and you want more. So really the onus should be on the guy to be more honest in the situation. Have I ever been in the friend zone? I’ve certainly been on what I thought were dates that turned out not to be dates!
DB: I’m only ever in the friend zone now – I’m 50 and single and I seem to be attracted to women who are already with someone. Fortunately though I’m not in the friend zone with someone I’m in love with so that is something!
DB: Well I do know, but unfortunately that’s the only update I can give right now!
KN: I think he’s sworn to secrecy about all that stuff!
KN: Well we start shooting in a week and I’ve read the first couple of scripts. I think it’s great that they decided to end the show now because they found a good ending point for it. So I think we’re going to have a very satisfying ending to it.
It’s a great show – 6 seasons is a long time for a comedy and things can start getting repetitive after a while so I’m glad that they’ve decided to end it before we get to that point.
But I think there’s going to be big, big changes for the Pied Piper Crew so it’s very exciting.
Exciting indeed – make sure you check out Stuber in cinemas today!
Images via 20th Century Fox
Charismatic, witty, charming, engaging - four things Joshua Rogers will never be. Thankfully, he’s a semi-competent writer, who, after graduating university with two mostly pointless degrees, joined The Hook two years ago. He subsequently honed his writing skills over the course of several sex-related articles, bringing a very public shame to his family's good name.