July 26, 1967
Shirebrook, Derbyshire, England, UK
5′ 10″ (1.78 m) Jason Statham was born in Shirebrook, Derbyshire, to Eileen (Yates), a dancer, and Barry Statham, a street merchant and lounge singer. Statham has done quite a lot in a short time. He has been a Diver on the British National Diving Team and finished 12th in the World Championships in 1992. He has also been a fashion model, black market salesman and finally of course, actor. He got the audition for his debut role as Bacon in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) through French Connection, for whom he was modeling. They became a major investor in the film and introduced Jason to Guy Ritchie, who invited him to audition for a part in the film by challenging him to impersonate an illegal street vendor and convince him to purchase fake jewelry. Jason must have been doing something right because after the success of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels(1998) he teamed up again with Guy Ritchie for Snatch (2000), with co-stars including Brad Pitt, Dennis Farina and Benicio Del Toro. After Snatch(2000) came Turn It Up (2000) with US music star Ja Rule, followed by a supporting actor role in the Sci-Fi film Ghosts of Mars (2001), Jet Li‘s The One(2001) and another screen partnership with Vinnie Jones in Mean Machine (2001) under Guy Ritchie‘s and Matthew Vaughn‘s SKA Films. Finally in 2002 he was cast as the lead role of Frank Martin in The Transporter (2002). Jason is also in the summer 2003 blockbuster remake of The Italian Job (1969), The Italian Job (2003), playing Handsome Rob.
- You ain’t ever gonna get an Academy Award for doing Crank (2006) and you certainly won’t for doing all the other movies I’ve done.
- [on being directed by Sylvester Stallone in The Expendables (2010)] He is someone that you have to respect and with that he runs a very relaxed set.
- [on preparing for action roles] I go to this gym full of stunt men. There aren’t any TVs or treadmills there. This is a spit-and-sawdust kind of place. It has a lot of great training aids – trampolines and bags and every weapon ever invented to do harm to a human being. If you want to know how to throw a knife it’s great.
- Growing up where I did, you met a lot of colorful characters whose business was on the other side of the law, or more likely you didn’t know what they were up to, and you never would. So playing those kinds of characters now, I can draw on that. The rest of it, you can practice or learn from books. But mostly, I draw from my experiences. That’s all I have, you know.
- You see a lot of action films, and it’s almost (like) you can’t tell who’s doing what. It’s chopped up so much, you just see a fist, a leg – it’s all driven by the sound, boom, pow, boom. You wouldn’t know what was happening otherwise. The people who inspired me growing up, Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, that’s the real deal. You see them, the camera’s way back, there aren’t a lot of cuts – you feel like you’re really in there. Today, there’s so much technology and green-screen and CGI, you can turn your grandma into an action star. But people are getting wise to that, I think. There’s no substitute for the real thing.
- [on performing in action movies] I’ve spent all those years learning how to do certain skills, and then that competitive spirit kicks in and you want to do the stunts. Basically, it’s the the male competitive ego at work.
- [2007, on filming Death Race (2008) in Canada] The whole time I was up there I never had one beer. It was four months. I was training every day. You know you do the best you can do. If I’m no good in the movie, that’s my fault. It’s not because it was eight tequila shots and a bunch of people I shouldn’t have been with.
Often works with director Guy Ritchie