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.
“It was very good for me to do what I’m doing now, because a lot of the training is all pointed in a direction where it allows you to gain aerial awareness,” he explains. “So if you’re doing a lot of stunts, you have a very great sense of distance and timing. It’s definitely paid off.”
The diving background helped for his latest film, The Mechanic, which called for Statham and co-star Ben Foster to careen down a 30-story office building, supported by a single rope. The star of the Crank and Transporter movie series 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 we was doing 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 just that much more satisfying for him.
“When you do something good, there’s a great excitement to it,” he says. “It’s always more rewarding doing something in terms of the action.
“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,” he said. “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. “We did a remake of The Italian Job years ago, and that was such, again, a classic movie that some people would think should never be touched. But you know, it was a very decent job. And it’s the same with this.”
Though he always seems to be working, Statham doesn’t have anything on his plate at the moment. And that’s because he’s waiting for a particular phone call.
“I’m just waiting for Stallone’s next film, The Expendables 2,” he says, referring to the anticipated sequel to last summer’s action hit.