In 2014, Leitch made his feature directorial debut with John Wick, the first installment of Keanu Reeves’ hitman series. For the 2017 adapation Atomic Blonde, Leitch directed A-listers Charlize Theron and James McAvoy. After two box office hits, the former stuntman was hired for the Marvel blockbuster Deadpool 2, which outperformed its $110 million budget seven times over. Leitch's new feature, Hobbs & Shaw, stars Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. The action film is a spinoff of the Fast and Furious franchise, with the leads reprising their titular roles. Given the star power and $200 million budget, Hobbs & Shaw seems destined to be yet another massive success for Leitch, as the film currently holds a 71 percent Tomatometer score at Rotten Tomatoes, along with a 91 percent audience score.
While speaking with Screen Rant about Hobbs & Shaw, Leitch discussed the MCU’s upcoming Blade reboot starring Mahershala Ali. The director noted that he’d be willing to collaborate with Marvel for a new project, and that he was indeed part of the 1998 adaptation featuring Wesley Snipes:
“I love Blade. And it's actually one of the first stunt jobs that I was in, the original Wesley Snipes one. I was a stunt performer in that movie. I was in the blood club. You remember that scene? Yes, dancing around in the recycled special effects blood. It was great.”
At the time of Blade's release, Leitch only had a handful of stunt credits to his name. The following year, he served as Brad Pitt’s stunt double for David Fincher’s Fight Club. Leitch then worked as a stuntman on Joss Whedon’s series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and reunited with Pitt for the features Spy Game, Ocean’s Eleven, Troy, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Ironically, Pitt portrays Leonardo DiCaprio’s long-time stuntman in Quentin Tarantino’s new film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. While discussing Blade and potentially working with its lead, Leitch said, “Mahershala is such a great actor, and I've been fortunate to work with some great actors, and I never go wrong that way. Having him play that role is a big deal and would be really exciting. So, yeah, I would love to have that conversation."
Given that MCU's Phase 4 will take up the entirety of 2020 and 2021, Leitch and Marvel have time to negotiate a Blade deal. Currently, Leitch is in pre-production mode for the upcoming features Undying Love (an adaptation of Tomm Coker and Daniel Freedman's graphic novel of the same name) and The Division (a science fiction drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain). As for Blade, we predict that Marvel will set a February 18, 2022 release date. Otherwise, Blade will most likely premiere on May 6, 2022 or July 29, 2022.
For Leitch, Blade would essentially bring his career full circle, and would reinforce his professional relationship with Marvel. And given Leitch’s history as a stuntman, he’s the ideal candidate to provide Ali with all the advice he needs to portray the half-vampire title character. If Hobbs & Shaw proves to be a mega box office hit, MCU head Kevin Feige may want to arrange an immediate sit-down with Leitch to discuss Blade.
- Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
- Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021