This is how Stuber begins. Kumail Nanjiani—a Pakistani–American actor, writer, and stand–up comedian, best known for his roles in The Big Sick, Silicon Valley, and Central Intelligence—and Dave Bautista—an accomplished actor and former WWE wrestler—come together for Stuber, directed by Michael Dowse. The three created this utterly moving comedy following the ensuing absurd Uber ride.
“I loved doing a lot of it—was really, really fun,” said Nanjiani, as he stood next to Bautista. The chemistry between these two on and off screen is apparent, but everyone’s favorite co–star was the lovable dog who appears in a few scenes of the film. Bautista says, “The days with the dog were really great for me.”
Bautista draws from his real life experiences when he acts, including those with animals. He explains, “When I think about all my dogs, I can find joy or pleasure, and it makes me happier. Or, when I think about the loss of one of my dogs, it will just break my heart.”
Stuber will be in theaters July 12. In this comedy full of challenges, unlikely relationships, heroes, and subtle social commentary, not only is Stu’s life on the line, but so is his five–star Uber rating. This film highlights how commonplace the app is in our world today—as various characters throughout the film say, “I know what Uber is.” It simultaneously perpetuates and destroys stereotypes, creating a truly heartwarming viewing experience.
The actors explain that one of the best scenes of the movie—involving an extended fight at a sporting goods store—took three nights to shoot, and with shoots lasting from about 7 p.m. until sunrise each night. The actors had a lot of freedom with the roles—they would try out some lines multiple ways, and they even filmed an alternate ending.
Bautista is a four–time World Heavyweight Champion and two–time WWE Champion and has also won a number of other wrestling and MMA titles. After his WWE career, Bautista went on to star in action–packed, dramatic films, such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2—but Stuber signifies his entrance into comedic acting. While Bautista’s strength is more commonly associated with dramatic acting, he says he learned a lot about comedic acting from Nanjiani: “We talk about one scene in particular … It’s funny. To me, it was never laugh–out–loud funny until I actually heard Kumail perform it, recite the lines, and then I was just dying with laughter. So I realized that sometimes it’s not always the words. It’s the way you’re delivering the words.”
Nanjiani was actually part of the reason that Bautista decided to to this comedy. He explains, “I wanted to do a comedy, and we were actively looking for one, and this came across, and then I found Kumail was attached, and I read the script and I was laughing out loud.”
For Nanjiani, Stuber is an introduction to the world of action movies. “I would love to do action movies,” he explains. “People [have] said when you’re in this business, people kind of always want to put you in a box and label you, and put you in ‘these are the types of roles you play,’ and I definitely want to challenge myself and challenge that box.”
Nanjiani and Bautista have shown us just how versatile they are with these new roles, and they both agree that the ultimate project to do together would be a sequel—we can only hope.