Jason Statham: I have always admired Sylvester Stallone
To many of us, he'll always be Bacon from Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels.
But Jason Statham has done so, so much more.
From The Italian Job remake to the Crank movies, from The Transporter films to The Expendables.
Now, with The Expendables 2 hitting Indian theatres Friday, Jason talks to Raja Sen over email and discusses how it is working alongside an all-star cast of action movie icons.
The Expendables cast wear their last names loud and proud, like jerseys of an all-star football team. As a British actor -- and a relatively younger cast member -- which of these big action stars have you most looked up to?
It's amazing to see such a (lineup of stars). These people I've admired for decades. Specially Stallone. Ever since I saw the first Rocky years ago. Each equal in their own right, they've got such a massive, great work. Just to be there (on set), it feels great.
I love Jet Li also. I have massive respect for him. He's one of the greatest living martial artists. He's a very unique and talented man.
With such a stellar list of action heavyweights, did you ever feel the need to appear constantly impressive just to hold your own? Were you intimidated at any time by the legends on the sets?
Nah. You know, they're very warm personalities. They're very charismatic and they wouldn't do anything but want you to feel at ease. You just sense that straight away. They don't try to intimidate, they're happy you like their films.
Image: Jason Statham
'People like seeing actors playing to their strengths'
What do you like best about playing Lee Christmas? Are you personally also someone who digs knives?
We're trying to portray the realism of the everyday man, but with a man that can go in and do something special.We already establish what my character was (in the first part) and it's easy to come back and do the same sort of person because the situation doesn't change.
You still have the same weaknesses; you still have the same strengths. It's just putting yourself under a new set of circumstances and a new storyline but the same person. I'm still battling with should I get married, do I trust, that kind of stuff.
You've been in several remakes of iconic movies. As an actor who very clearly brings his own approach to the table, what's the Statham method to keep things fresh and interesting?What is most important is the director and the script and the story. I'm not just going to hop on a plane and go anywhere.
Image: Jason Statham
Photographs: Jason Merritt/Getty Images
'I love what I'm doing'
A lot of the characters you play can be said to have similar attributes: laconic, dry-witted, efficient, no-nonsense, rarely smiling. Is this what you're like, what you're considered to be good at, or simply what you're comfortable being on screen?
People like seeing actors playing to their strengths. I love what I'm doing, yeah. A lot of actors are frustrated because they want to do things that are different and test themselves. Character actors are always looking for something the opposite of what they did. I don't know, I like doing what I'm doing.
If you could pick any action heroes of all time to add to The Expendables already bulging lineup, who would they be?
That's a tough one. We've used a lot already. If we ask Jackie Chan, will he come and do it? I don't know, it's a good question. But I wouldn't get my choice anyway. The power goes to a different place.
Image: Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham in The Expendables 2