Kumail Nanjiani will join Dave Bautista to complete the starring duo of the upcoming action/comedy Stuber. Both actors had huge years in 2017, including Oscar attention for movies featuring both. Nanjiani successfully parlayed his breakout role on Silicon Valley into an Academy Award nomination for his original screenplay for The Big Sick, which he co-wrote with Emily V. Gordon. And Bautista, meanwhile, continued to steal scenes as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and played an aging fugitive replicant in the Oscar-winning Blade Runner 2049.
Fox’s Stuber pairs the two together in the film, based on an Uber driver named “Stu” (Nanjiani) who unwittingly picks up a police officer (Bautista) that recruits him for “an unexpected night of adventure”, according to the synopsis. The title, of course, is named after the driver, Stu. And now, director Michael Dowse (Goon) has found his guy to play him.
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Variety first reported the casting of Nanjiani as Stu, describing him as a “mild-mannered” Uber driver. Bautista, who signed on for Stuber in December, plays a “grizzled cop” who is “hot on the trail of a brutal killer”. His character’s name isn’t known yet. Coincidentally, Nanjiani’s character in The Big Sick drove for Uber, in addition to working as a comedian.
The plot of Stuber describes the main character’s story as “a harrowing ordeal where he has to keep his wits, his life, and his five-star rating.” In simple terms, it sounds vaguely like a comedic version of Michael Mann’s Collateral, in which Tom Cruise plays a ruthless hit-man who uses a taxi driver (Jamie Foxx) as his transportation for a night of professional violence. This is Bautista’s first leading role as a policeman, but he played an FBI agent in Lionsgate’s Marauders and a war veteran in the 2017 action-adventure Bushwick.
Bautista already has plenty of action experience under his belt and should feel right at home in a shoot-’em-up. The role sounds like a perfect fit for his combination of brooding intensity and comedic timing. And Nanjiani’s amiable wit has a chance to have great chemistry with Bautista’s persona. As for the director, Dowse showed a penchant for gleefully violent slapstick in Goon and could be delivering more of the same with Stuber.
It’s important that the movie gets a good script from Tripper Clancy, who has previously written only two feature-length films: Wolfgang Petersen’s Four Against The Bank, and the recently released Hot Dog. But Clancy did get guidance from producers Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, who co-wrote the script for Spider-Man: Homecoming. Ultimately, the talent is certainly there for Stuber to be a success for Fox.
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Stuber is currently in pre-production with no official release date.