The most daring and ruthless theif in the business, Parker (Jason Statham) is an expert at planning and executing seemingly impossible heist. All he requires from his crew is absolute loyalty and strict adherence to the plan. But when his latest robbery turns deadly, Parker declines to join crime boss Melander (Michael Chiklis) and his gang for the next big job. Not willing to take no for an answer, the thieves turn on Parker, leaving him for dead by the side of a deserted road.
Set amidst the unparalleled wealth and glamor of Palm Beach, Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez team up to get their cut in the crime thriller Parker based on the crime novel Flashfire by Donald Westlake. The film is directed by Academy Award nominee Taylor Hackford and also stars Michael Chikils, and Nick Nolte.
We spoke to Jason about playing an icon character, working with Taylor Hackford and Jennifer Lopez, stunt work, and his next film Home Front, and Expendables 3.
Latino Review: The character Parker has been in 2 dozen thrillers, is known all around the world and has a huge fan base, how do you approach such a beloved character?
Jason Statham: Well you have to give yourself to a very artistic director. Taylor Hackford is an Academy Award nominated director so it’s his interpretation and his version of the Parker character that has been written about and 20 plus books written by Donald Westlake. So you just give yourself up to that.
Latino Review: You had a great team as you said directed by Taylor Hackford (Ray/ An Officer and a Gentleman) and written by John McLaughlin (Blackswan/ Hitchcock) was this the dream team for an action film?
Jason Statham: It certainly is, you don’t normally get that quality behind it. It really does give you the confidence.
Latino Review: Taylor Hackford said in this film he saw yourself pushing yourself to grow, how so?
Jason Statham: For instance I never thought I would get beat up in a film. Normally I’m not the guy that gets thrown out of the window. He wanted this to have a significant sort of realism. He really wanted me to feel the pain and we see this character barely get to the end. He’s in these situations where he can barely make it through and that normally doesn’t happen for me.
Latino Review: The character of Parker is basically a bad guy but he’s also the protagonist, how do you balance being an action star and a good actor and combining action and comedy into the character?
Jason Statham: You know there’s no special technique, I never went to acting school and I’ve never had a lesson so I don’t have a traditional approach you just have to embody the part the best you can. That either speaks to you or doesn’t. This character of Parker I sank my teeth very deeply.
Latino Review: How was it working with Jennifer Lopez, you guys seemed to have great chemistry?
Jason Statham: She was a joy. For her it was something to take herself away from her comfort zone and do something that’s gritty and real. I haven’t seen her do anything like this since Out of Sight and it was great to be around her.
Latino Review: Taylor Hackford wanted this film to be as real as possible, the action and violence as well as you doing your own stunts. Was jumping out of the car window in full speed one of the hardest stunts you’ve ever done?
Jason Statham: I don’t know which one is the hardest that I’ve ever done, they all present a certain amount of stupidity. You know it’s part of the course with me, I’m always trying to push myself a little bit further every time I do a film.
Latino Review: Do you get a great deal of fulfillment in doing your own stunts?
Jason Statham: Of course, anything that test or challenges yourself, its much more of a reward if you can accomplish it without killing yourself.
Latino Review: If Parker is received well in theaters are you game to do twenty more?
Jason Statham: I don’t think I have that much in me for that.
Latino Review: You’ll also be in the film Home Front this year. I heard it was written by Sylvester Stallone was that a surprise for you?
Jason Statham: Sylvester Stallone actually wrote it for himself and I was the fortunate man to have it handed to him.
Latino Review: Expendables 3 was just announced, will you be back for a third time?
Jason Statham: I really want to so it just depends if there is a script and I’m written into it. I’m sure, I’m part of the crew with Sly Stallone and I’m ready to rock on that one.
Parker is in theaters January 25th