No stranger to physically demanding roles, action star Jason Statham’s previous career as a member of the British diving team has come in surprisingly handy. “If you’re doing a lot of stunts, you have a very great sense of distance and timing. It’s definitely paid off,” he explains.
The diving background definitely helps for his latest film, “The Mechanic,” which calls for Statham and co-star Ben Foster to careen down a 30-story office building, supported by a single rope. Statham insists it was a blast, though maybe not as much for his co-star. “He was pooping himself,” he says of Foster. “Just being strung up with Ben to see how scared he was when he was going the down the side. ... It makes me sound a little bit sadistic. It’s great.”
But aside from taking glee in a co-star’s trepidation, Statham admits stunt-heavy roles are more satisfying for him. “When you do something good, there’s a great excitement to it,” he says. “You do a good dramatic scene, there’s no one clapping for that. If you do a good stunt and it works out well, there’s a great euphoria on set. That just doesn’t happen in dramatic scenes. You just don’t get that immediate reward.”
A remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson film of the same name, “The Mechanic” asks Statham to step into some storied shoes — but he’s not worried. “There’s always the comparisons that are going to be made, and it’s not the first remake that I’ve done,” he says. “There are a lot of people that won’t remember the original or won’t even have seen it. There’s a whole generation — it’s 30-odd years ago. Almost 40 years ago. Yeah, I don’t think we’re too bothered by it.”
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