“Before Hobbs & Shaw: The Almost Epic Duo of Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham”

When The One was in its early stages, it was supposed to feature Dwayne Johnson. The film would have also paired him alongside Jason Statham many years prior to the release of Hobbs & Shaw. However, before Jet Li joined the cast, the role was given to Statham instead. Statham first made his mark in the entertainment industry through Guy Ritchie’s sleeper hit Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels. Despite his on-screen charisma, Statham had a hard time finding success outside of his collaborations with Ritchie. He eventually landed his first action role in Ghosts Of Mars, a sci-fi horror film directed by John Carpenter. But it wasn’t until he starred in The Transporter in 2002 that audiences finally saw his true potential as an action hero.

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw - Open The Magazine

After finding success with movies like “Crack,” Jason Statham joined “The Fast and the Furious” franchise as the vengeful Deckard Shaw in “Furious 7.” While he proved to be a formidable opponent, the series began to redeem his character in “The Fate of the Furious.” This marked a turning point for Dwayne Johnson’s involvement in the franchise as well, as behind-the-scenes issues with Vin Diesel led to the two never filming scenes together and Johnson swearing to not return to the main series. “The Fate of the Furious” also showcased the chemistry between Johnson’s Hobbs and Statham’s Shaw, leading to talks of a spinoff movie starring the duo and their respective families.

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In 2019, the movie Hobbs & Shaw was released, which had a similar vibe to the movie Tango & Cash and was even more cartoonish. However, there is an alternate world where Johnson and Statham would have starred together earlier in their careers in a sci-fi action movie called The One from 2001. Jet Li starred as the hero and villain in The One, which had a storyline about multiple universes. Li’s character wanted to eliminate all of his alternate universe selves to gain power and become the “One.” Before Li was cast, the movie was supposed to be Dwayne Johnson’s first leading role, and he would have co-starred with Jason Statham’s character, Funsch.

Funsch is an agent from a multiple-universe who teams up with the brave version of Li to prevent his villainous double. If Johnson, who would have been a great superhero in Black Adam, accepted the role, he would have played both friend and foe, and there was even a fight scene between the two characters written into the script. Early animations were even created featuring Johnson battling himself, but he ultimately declined the role to star in The Mummy Returns.

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In his early career, Statham appeared in the action film The One and was forced by the studio to adopt an ill-fitting American accent for the movie. He expressed regret that his planned fight scene with Li was cut from the film to simplify the story, but the two later collaborated on the War and The Expendables franchises. It’s interesting to imagine a parallel world where Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham shared the screen long before the Hobbs & Shaw or Fast & Furious films, though it’s uncertain whether such a film would have been better.

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