What's it gonna take to make Jason Statham a bigger movie star in America? As we've lamented before, our action stars aren't supposed to be Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield and Mark Ruffalo: They're supposed to Jason Statham. It feels like a cosmic injustice that Statham -- honestly, the platonic ideal of an action star, brooding, acrobatic, powerful, manly and even, if you can believe it, able to act a little bit, if need be -- isn't anchoring a tentpole action franchise every summer. In the 1990s, he'd be battling supervillains played by John Malkovich and Tommy Lee Jones and Eric Bogosian and Dennis Hopper, and it would be awesome. It is a failing of ourselves as moviegoers that this isn't the current reality.
So, how's it gonna work for him? How's Statham gonna break through? It looks like he's smartly taking a page from The Rock: It looks like he's gonna be in the next "Fast and the Furious" film.
Sources tell Twitch that Universal Pictures are currently looking in to the possibility of shooting Fast 6 and Fast 7 back to back in Europe throughout 2012 and, furthermore, that they are entering into preliminary conversations with Jason Statham to explore the possibility of the action star joining one or both films.
Now, it's Twitch, and Twitch's "sources" aren't always right about this stuff (Twitch has a lot of sources!), but it would be a logical, and particularly quite fruitful, move for Statham and the franchise. It's probably time to start accepting that the "Fast/Furious" franchise, and director Justin Lin in particular, is a kingmaker in this regard. We're not always crazy about the movies, but Lin was the first director to finally use The Rock as he should be used, and it wouldn't surprise us to see the same with Statham. So, who's the current decade's version of Malkovich and Hopper? Michael Shannon's already spoken for; Michael Sheen maybe? We like that. Though honestly, if he weren't so hard-up for money (and therefore always requiring to be the lead), Nicolas Cage would pretty much be the perfect crazed action villain. It's taking too long for a Statham vs. Cage film to happen.