Jason Statham plays (slightly) against type in ‘Redemption’

Jason Statham plays somewhat against type in the dramatic thriller "Redemption." Credit: Getty Images
Jason Statham plays somewhat against type in the dramatic thriller “Redemption.”
Credit: Getty Images

As everyone knows, Jason Statham is the last action hero. He’s more than that, though. Before his screen debut in “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” (not an action film), he was a member of Britain’s National Diving Squad, a model and worked on the black market. He’s still versatile: His latest, “Redemption,” made by “Dirty Pretty Things” and “Eastern Promises” writer Steven Knight, is a drama (with some action) in which he plays an ex-soldier with PTSD who lives on the streets — until he steals someone’s identity and falls for a nun.

“Redemption” concerns homelessness, class warfare and other serious issues. What drew you to it?
I thought it was different but not so different that it wouldn’t be enjoyable. There’s a limit to doing something just for the sake of being different. And I like dark tales, I like thrillers. I thought this would be the kind of movie I’d want to see, so I might as well be in it.

Were you consciously seeking out something that would be different from most of your action films?
It’s not like, “Oh my god, here’s my chance to do something so different!” It’s never like that. It’s more that this is a quality story. This is a quality movie. I want to do that. It just turns out that it’s a bit different from some of the others I’ve done.

Did you do much research?
We met some of the soldiers who have been in the war and came back, and a lot of them have disabilities: They lost an eye, lost a leg. You think, “F—, that’s really out there, we never see that.” It’s not an exposed subject, these soldiers who come back from the war. Ten percent of the homeless people [in London] are from the military forces.

You didn’t start out as an action actor. How did you get into it?
I just kind of tumbled into it. I never had an idea to do it. I had a ton of years of experience in marital arts and gymnastics. My dad was a gymnast and a boxer. When I started I was just like, “OK, now I get to throw some silly stuff around. Let’s see if I can do it.” The next thing you know it worked. I wasn’t being cast in period dramas back in England. You have to figure out some other way to make money.

You could still do that, though. You could do something Dickensian.
I don’t know how many thrills I’d get out of wearing those tights every day.

Is “Crank 3” a possibility?
Everything’s a possibility. [Laughs] Never say never in Hollywood, right? If something lands in my lap and is brilliant, I’m gonna do it, for sure. And those chaps are great fun, [directors Mark] Nevildine and [Brian] Taylor. We had such a laugh doing those two films. F—ing hilarious. I’d be mad not to do it. But they’re busy, I’m busy. Who knows? Someone has to go, “Right, f— it, I’m writing the script, and it’s gonna be great.” If the script was great, I’d be in there like a shark.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…