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The Expendables - Jason Statham interview

Jason Statham in The Expendables

Interview by Rob Carnevale

JASON Statham talks about working with Sylvester Stallone and Jet Li on The Expendables, thriving on the level of expectation surrounding the film and why he enjoys being given the chance to get stuck into real action scenes…

Q. To what extent do you feel the pressure of the burden of expectation surrounding this film?
Jason Statham: Well, it’s all on Sly I’m afraid [laughs]. No, that’s why you choose to work with people that know what they’re doing. I mean, a lot of the time we get not such a luxury in that choice.

Q. Is there any type of stunt you won’t do? Is there anything you’re scared of?
Jason Statham: It’s all part of the cause. The good thing about the way the movies get made when Sly’s doing it is that he shoots a lot of the stunts in the camera. A lot of the action directors of today tend to rely on the movie as a visual. So, it becomes very boring because there’s a lot of CG and you don’t care too much about it. So, when you’re doing an action movie that requires real men doing real action, it’s an opportunity to do that and that’s what we’re looking for. We can’t wait to get stuck in and do that stuff.

Q. What’s it like acting with some of the heroes you grew up watching?
Jason Statham: Well, Sly’s a bit of a bully actually… he carries a big stick around and starts ordering tea and coffee [laughs]. It’s a situation that you get to know the real man behind the camera. It’s not the film actor anymore, it’s a regular guy and, to me, that was the best part about getting to work with Sly. It was getting to know him as a person. There’s no substitute for that.

Q. Did you grow up watching the films of Sylvester Stallone?
Jason Statham: I’ve been watching his films for years, yes, so I’m very familiar with everything he’s done. That’s why I get excited when I get to do a film like this.

Q. So, what was it like getting to work with him as both a co-star and as your director?
Jason Statham: Well, that’s the great thing about having a guy who is a writer, a director and the star of the movie as well because you have full liberty to change, and improvise… you don’t normally get that. You usually get restrictions where some guy wrote the script and he doesn’t want anyone to mess with that, and the director isn’t allowed to. So, its the best situation you can get. And the humour arises from that.

Q. This is also your third movie with Jet Li, so how influential has he been in helping to shape your own career? Especially through working with fight co-ordinator Corey Yuen, who went on to work with you on The Transporter movies…
Jason Statham: Actually, all of the movies I’ve done with Jet apart from this one have been no good [laughs]! But it’s difficult. My first movie I did with Jet [The One] wasn’t what it was supposed to have been originally. But it gave me the opportunity to work with Corey Yuen, which was instrumental in me getting The Transporter films, so there was a great relationship that we had there. You know, it’s coincidental that we were doing this film together. But we enjoy working together. Actually, both of our previous films together had a kind of science fiction base… whereas this one harks back to the old school action movies that I’m more interested in doing. That’s what makes this one work better for me.

Read our review

Read our interview with Sylvester Stallone