Jason Statham knows he's not everyone's cup 'a tea.
But the action star takes plenty of pride, and rightfully so, in the fact that "Jason Statham Movie" has become a genre in its own right. It's a very specific type of movie that involves fast cars, seedy underworlds, and most importantly, Jason Statham beating the crap out of people.
And his fans freaking love them.
Statham's latest, "Homefront," is a Sylvester Stallone-scripted scrap-fest that finds the 46-year-old Brit battling country bumpkins and backwoods meth addicts (like those played by James Franco and Winona Ryder) as an ex-CIA agent living "the quiet life" (yeah right) with his young daughter in rural Louisiana.
The actor tells us about his latest actioner, plus shares his unexpected love for "Bridesmaids" and explains why next year's "Expendables 3" is "the biggest action movie ever made."
Question: I'm assuming Mr. Stallone hipped you to this project on the set of "Expendables"?
Jason Statham: We was doing "Expendables 2," and we was having a chat … I know he's written so many scripts, he wrote "Cliffhanger," all the "Rocky" [movies], all the "Rambo" [movies], all the "Expendables" [movies]. I know he's a big-time writer. I don't think people understand how many screenplays he's written. You'd be shocked at how brilliant he is. He got nominated for an Oscar, didn't he, for "Rocky"? So I knew he might have something floating around and might as well ask, and it was the right question at the right time. The next day, he pulled out [the script for "Homefront"] and said, "Listen, try and read this." Initially he was gonna do it himself but it just got a little stale and I came in just at the right time, otherwise he might've dusted it off and done it himself.
Q: Was he around much for the shoot?
J.S.: All of the rehearsals, and at the other end of the telephone as well, any time I needed him. He's just a great inspiration and he always has been. He can just give you the right things to say, the right things to think about. And he's always the one to say, "Listen you've got to break away from what you're doing, just try and be a bit more vulnerable, try a few things." And he said this was a great opportunity for [me] to do that, playing a dad and having a daughter.
Q: There's some good family drama here but of course there's also plenty of bone-crushing butt kicking, as we'd expect. Do you do anything differently on those days before action stunts? Are you doing yoga stretches or drinking Red Bull?
J.S.: Nah. I just want it to feel real and authentic, and that's all I care about. Everyone wants something that's a little bit flashy … Usually it's a little rehearsed, and the stuntmen know what' they're doing. We have a good idea of what we're gonna get up to, and the location sort of dictates how much fun it's gonna be.
Q: Speaking of location – with the "Expendables" movies, "Parker," "The Mechanic," now "Homefront" and soon "Heat" – you've spent a lot of time in Louisiana. You're practically a local. Do you know everyone in the state now?
J.S.: I do, yeah. [laughs] I've got the police badge, they swore me in. I been back a lot, I do like it there, man. It's easy. It's great. No paparazzi, no idiots. I shouldn't say no idiots, there are idiots everywhere, right? I push the numbers up when I arrive. [laughs]
Q: Are you a country guy or a city guy?
J.S.: I'm a city guy. That's what I'm used to. That's why I like coming up to New York, but a different flavor is always a good change.
Q: All the meth in this movie reminded me of "Breaking Bad." Were you a fan?
J.S.: It's a great show. There's so many great shows on TV. If you watched every good show you'd never leave the f--king house. You have to figure it out. I've got so many other interests, sitting in front of the TV is not easy these days, and I'm working all the time.
Q: If you do have the time, what do you watch?
J.S.: I like documentaries, I like movies.
Q: No reality TV?
J.S.: Garbage, f--king useless, mind-numbing shite. The people like it, it's an escape, it's a bit fun sometimes … there's just so much of it. And people are just fascinated by people who make idiots of themselves.
Q: Did you have any preconceived notions about your co-star James Franco?
J.S.: No I never do, I'm respectful for everybody I meet. You know, rumors and crap can get banded around but I'd never heard a bad thing about James anyway. So I had no ideas or anything to think. You know what with actresses and with people that have had some baggage, and I never really listen to what people say. I always see people on a face value. And James was cool. He's a busy, busy man. I love what he does. He's a tremendous actor. And he really done something good with this one.
Q: Do you take pride in the fact "Jason Statham Movie" is practically its own subgenre? You know what you're gonna get.
J.S.: I think it's a great, it's a great compliment. Some people probably hate it. Some people probably go, "Yeah I'm not seeing that 'cause he's in it." Horses for courses, right? Some people like fish, some people like spaghetti, some like steak. It depends how you're dining. It's the same with me. When I go watch a movie, I love a great drama, I love a great action movie, great comedy. It depends what the flavor is.
[Related: Jason Statham Eyes 'Viva La Madness']
Q: Would you ever do a romantic comedy with Katherine Heigl or Jennifer Aniston? Something totally mushy.
J.S.: Eh … depends what the part is. They're great at what they do. I'd love to work with Jenifer Aniston, of course, she's brilliant. She's like the top of the game. So it's whether I'm right for the part. I'm not just going to put on the boots because they're nice and shiny and I might look good in them. They have to fit. It's important that you can do justice to the part you're playing. So if I'm playing some gay hairdresser, it might not be easy for me to do.
Q: You have do have a comedy coming up, "Susan Cooper" with Melissa McCarthy?
J.S.: I'm … just about to try and bag that. [laughs] To me Paul Feig is just a great writer. I love "The Heat," I love "Bridesmaids." I read the script. It's f--king hilarious. And there's a great part in it for me, so, if that comes to fruition I'd be a very happy man.
Q: Can you tell us anything about "The Expendables 3," which you just wrapped?
J.S.: I wrapped it several weeks ago and I went straight from "The Expendables" set to "The Fast and Furious 7" set. Who thought ["Expendables"] could get bigger and better? We've got Wesley Snipes, we've got Mel Gibson, we've got Harrison Ford.
Q: Did you get to work with those guys?
J.S.: Yeah. I'm not sure to what limit I'll be onscreen with them. But it's so many people. It's the biggest action movie ever been made. You line everybody up, you you see all the chairs on the set, it's just ridiculous. You're in the best company in the world there … Arnold, Jet Li, Sly. List goes on.
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