This site’s devotion to the mighty Jason Statham has been ongoing for many years, yet for the man himself, 2015 is proving a vintage twelve months. Fast & Furious 7, his last film, is currently sitting as the fourth biggest of all time, and his next, Spy, is already picking up box office gold around the world.
Here, we spent some time with The Statham, where we talked comedy, Crank, and Crank 3…
Go back through your films, and there’s no shortage of comedy in them. The Crank films in particular. Yet Spy sees you in your first outright comedy role. There’s nothing ironic about it, either: a straight character, with loads of funny moments. How was it pitched to you, and why pick this one? You must have been offered comedy before.
Yeah, as you know, I’m always apprehensive to look like an idiot! Some comedies, they want you falling on your face and doing silly things. Paul Feig had a great idea that he wasn’t going to make a spoof or a bare faced silly comedy. He wanted to do a sophisticated spy thriller. The situations that would be happening in the story would be funny.
I thought how do I be funny? And he said don’t try to be funny. We’ll just have you playing a straight character, and the funny stuff will come.
When you look around the Fast & Furious and Expendables sets, you’ve got that Vin Diesel did The Pacifier, The Rock did Tooth Fairy, Stallone did Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. That’s the old way comedy was pigeonholed, to play it against type. Were you offered material like that, and were you especially wary of the genre?
I never really been offered the right sort of thing. I think of Paul Feig as the Scorsese of comedy. He’s the best at what he does. I think people just trust everything that he’s got to say. I think that’s why he has such great relationship with Melissa [McCarthy] and they keep wanting to work together. If you’re good at what you do, people keep wanting to work with you.
You’re in good hands. And I think once you know you’re in good hands, you can really go to town with it. And, you know, there’s no restrictions. The bigger, the more ludicrous, the more intense, the better it is!
It’s your latest great post-credits scene we get here too.
Did you know, without spoiling anything, that it was being left in as was?
The thing about Paul is that he’s very keen to pump a few bits that aren’t in the script in there. Little hidden things, and there’s the scene at the end. You just go with it. The whole process of him directing goes that way. Everything’s on a Post-it note, there’s new stuff coming in, she’s improvising. It’s like organized chaos!
I have, have, have to ask about Crank 3.
[Laughs] [In a good way]
I read a few weeks ago the latest update, but has there been progress since? And how is the adaptation of Viva La Madness going?
Viva La Madness we’re doing, 100 percent. That’s definitely in the works. I’m very, very excited about that. That’s something that, the last few years, I’ve been trying to get everything in place. We’re going to be shooting that next year. I won’t say too much more about that.
Crank 3 is something I’ve always wanted to do, the directors want to do it, we’re trying to figure things out. The only reason I’m in [Spy] is because of Crank 1. Paul’s a big fan of that, so I’ve got a lot of thanks for being in that film!
We ask everyone who we interview what their favorite Jason Statham film is, and Crank is the clear winner. Although it turns out that Sir Kenneth Branagh is a Transporter fan.
[Grins] Who knew?! Who knew?!
What next, then? Fast & Furious 8? Viva La Madness? Or is there something else lined up?
There’s Fast 8, they want to do another one. Viva is something that I can’t take my head out of. The quality of the writing, J.J. Connelly is exceptional at what he does. The voices that he gives are just brilliant.
To me, it depends what Universal are doing, when they want to do. I want to do that. And Viva is the passion project that I’m very, very keen to do.
Jason Statham, thank you very much.