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INT: Jason Statham


Part 1 & Philip G. Atwell / Jet Li

Actor Jason Statham, who portrays an obsessive FBI agent Crawford in the upcoming film ROGUE, comes across more like a comedian then an action star. His cool, calm and funny demeanor reminds you of that longtime friend you could just go out and have a pint with - very different from the serious and dramatic characters he plays on screen. So in between jokes, he talked in great detail about the new film, his thoughts on co-star Jet Li, and being billed as an action star.

Jason Statham

How would you describe your fighting style, the difference between you and Jet Li in this film?

Well it’s obviously very different to Jet, because it’s no good trying to use martial arts against the master, like Jet Li, cause I don’t want to look stupid, so. But more to the point, it’s Crawford’s character, he’s a very sort of angry man and he’s very emotional with his action, so it’s not so controlled as stuff that I’ve done in the past. He’s definitely a more violent person and it’s pretty reckless what he’s doing and he shows no mercy. For me it’s great because the past action movies that I’ve done have always, to me, been a little diluted because of the PG rating.

My favorite action movies have always been an R. (Laughs) Call me mad, whatever but…yeah I just feel that, not that I’m addicted to violence or anything like that, I just think sometimes if there’s a fight that takes place, you know, violence is unavoidable, so let’s not dilute it, let’s show it in its true form. So Phil (the Director) is particularly keen on having the fights be very real, no wires, no flying around, no exaggerated sort of fancy movements. I think you’ll see what we’re doing is realistic, which is great.

What kind of training did you do to prepare for this film?

This is my third movie with Corey (Yuen, the fight choreographer), so I’m kind of very familiar with what he sort of needs of me and you just do a lot of stretching, a lot of training kind of building up to it. And I can do that in my own time, it’s when I come here, once he’s designed the fights, he has to go to the location and see. It’s hard to do any kind of prep work without him coming back with a design idea. So the preparation I did before is just kick some pads, just get your body moving and get the blood flowing and get the rust out of the joints. It’s just basic stuff really, cause we don’t want to over exert ourselves and become tired before we’ve even shot anything. So it’s just a case of getting loose and limber.

Which do you find harder, the physical or emotional scenes?

They all pose a different kind of difficulty; you try not to make things too difficult. I don’t find them very different, you don’t go “oh God, I have to do some drama today”, you know it’s very interesting to come in and do the drama, it’s something I enjoy, for me it’s easy.

Now that you’ve done several martial arts movies, do you feel you’ve developed your own style?

It’s all relative to the character, you know. I’ve only done two action movies; really, I’ve got two that I’ve really expressed myself physically. And the other action movies that I’ve been a part of, I’ve just been a part of an action movie. And it’s not been anything that I can get my teeth into. And since those two, this is the next. So I feel I’ve only ever done three.

Can you tell us a little bit about your character Crawford and what’s driving him in the story?

I don’t want to give too much away about the story, but I’ll tell you as much as I can without (he smiles) giving anything away. He’s a cop, he’s got a partner and it kind of explains how good a friendship can be and how happy and rosy life is when things are going good, everyone is content and strong with everything. And then all of a sudden, a train wreck can screw everything up and sometimes it’s a very small mistake that one person makes, you can sometimes wear the guilt of something else that is not necessarily all your fault.

But you end up taking all the guilt and putting it on your shoulders and to the detriment of your own life and your own sanity, it can f!#* everything up. So this is what’s happened to Crawford, he’s feels semi-responsible for what happened, if not totally responsible to some level, what happens to his partner and his partner’s family, so he’s got these demons that just won’t go away and he points the finger at this guy Rogue and he will not stop at anything until he catches the man. And he thinks if he can catch this man, then all his problems will be gone. That’s what fuels Crawford journey through this movie.

What are your thoughts on your co-star Jet Li?

Well, he’s a smart guy. He’s not some idiot that you just found on the street, he’s complicated. When I say complicated, I don’t mean interestingly complicated, you know, he was like the martial arts champion of China when he was like 13 or 14, the men’s champion. (Jokingly) I mean, you know how many people are over there. So he’s significantly gifted, he’s a unique individual. He’s an interesting man. And not to ever forget that he’s nothing but a very funny guy, I mean he cracks me up all the time. You know, you think someone like him is a very serious person, but his sense of humor is the most prevailing characteristic, I find, of Jet Li.

What’s been the most challenging thing about shooting ROUGE for you?

(Jokingly) The rain! (Laughs) No, I haven’t really found it that challenging, I kind of understand it. It’s a great thing for me to play a character like this, cause it’s very emotional, there’s a lot of layers. What’s happening really in Crawford’s world is something always going on in his own head that you get to find out later on when you see the film. So I’m always sort of preoccupied and concerned with what, you know, I’m thinking about, and what I shouldn’t be thinking about maybe. The challenges are really rising to the occasion kind of thing and becomes more satisfying. If it isn’t a challenge, it becomes very boring, so you don’t see it as a challenge, it’s just internally you feel like you’re doing something good and worthy. That’s how I respond to a challenge.

Having shot a few films up here in Vancouver, how do you feel about being here once again for ROGUE?

I love it. It’s a great part of the world. (Smiles) So many beautiful ladies. (Laughs) You grow them well up here.

Any favorite hang outs, places you like to go?

(Jokingly) I would never tell you. (Laughs) No, listen, we’re working, so it’s not like we have much time to go and have fun. Although at the beginning, we had a couple of sort of nice little socializing, with everybody getting together.

Are you comfortable being billed as an action star?

Yeah, I mean people are gonna label you anyway. It’s a decent label, its better then the old drop out soap star label (laughs), so I go with the other one. I’m constantly trying to do, you know, stuff that interests me and it just happened that people respond well to the stuff that I do with the action. But, you know, I’ve done three films for Guy Ritchie and never thrown a punch in any of them. I wouldn’t really call myself an action star of any of those.

I did a very small independent film last year (LONDON). I mean I’ve done quite a few films that aren’t generated by me kicking the crap out of everybody, but it’s just people sort of see the ones that really excite them and they go “ahh, you’re the action guy”. I think it also has a lot to do with, there ain’t many people that actually can do it. In my experience, I haven’t seen many film actors that can justifiably, can do what I can. (Smiles) It must be my misspent youth. (Laughs) I don’t know what it is.

With the success of the TRANSPORTER series, do you get recognized a lot more?

Yeah, but I mean in Hollywood, it's full of like huge actors, I mean it’s just another person, another face. They’re not gonna bother me, they’re gonna run after Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. (Laughs) So, you know, people come up and say, you know, they respond well to the movies I’ve done. Yeah, it makes me feel good, I like it. (Jokingly) Rather then throwing rotten fruit in your face, saying I can’t wait for you to quit. (Laughs)

When do audiences get to see REVOLVER (a still unreleased Guy Ritchie film)?

I don’t know, you’re asking the wrong guy, that’s not my department. I don’t know what they’re gonna do with it. Your have to take a quick trip back to the UK and pay a pound, whatever they charge over there now.

Is the door open for another TRANSPORTER film or is that behind you now?

People keep saying “when are you gonna do another one?” Luc (Besson, co-writer and co-producer of the TRANSPORTER films) wants to do another one; I want to work with Luc. You don’t want to give people too much of one thing, you know you eat ice cream every day, you’re gonna get bored of it. But Luc said he’s got an amazing idea for part three, so if it’s a great story…in my eyes we can improve on the last one so much.

What about THE ITALIAN JOB 2? (Tentatively titled THE BRAZILIAN JOB)

That’s a little bit more complicated because there’s a lot more people’s schedules to run together, so I don’t know how that’s gonna play out, but I’m good friends with Charlize (Theron) and Mark (Wahlberg), Seth (Green) and Mos (Def), and they all want to do it, so yeah, it would be great. For me, it’s not like working. (Laughs)

All in all, a super cool set visit for the film ROGUE, with all the things that make watching a movie a great experience - plenty of action, hot cars, and engaging stars. Thanks to all involved, Director Philip G. Atwell, actors Jet Li and Jason Statham (you guys rock!) and a special thanks to publicist extraordinaire Barbara J Chomos and Lionsgate’s Yon Elvira. (The next drink is on me!) Until next time!

Source: JoBlo.com

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