by R.C. Samo
Action hero, extraordinaire Jason Statham stars in Homefront, the action thriller directed by Gary Fleder and written by Sylvester Stallone. Statham sat down with FanboyNation to discuss his role as Phil Broker, having been a diver and life in general.
FanboyNation (FBN): We saw Homefront last night, the movie was fantastic, you didn’t leave any loose ends, great story and loved the relationship between father and daughter.
Jason Statham (JS): Yeah, yeah, he’s a good writer, Sly (Sylvester Stallone). People over look that aspect because they just see him in front of the camera so often, that’s all they think he does. They don’t actually know that he’s all the accolades in the world. He’s got the Oscar for best picture…or did…for Rocky. First Blood was a tremendous movie and he wrote that and Cliffhanger was great. All of the Rambo‘s and Rocky‘s, I means he’s a big shot writer.
FBN: It seems like you’re starstruck and you’re a friend of his.
JS: I am! You have to be because, I think you’re kidding yourself if you can’t recognize someone’s achievements. He’s one of the most recognizable chaps on the planet. I’ve spent fortunes going to see his movies and it was worth every penny — and at the same time, I’ve been directed by him and I’ve worked along side him as an actor. I’ve seen him put scenes together; I’ve seen him really write it out, with a pen. I’ve been through the process, so I have even more respect for him.
I know him outside the movie industry as a chap. It’s hard not to be in awe of him.
FBN: You’re this DEA Agent, or rather retired DEA Agent. You’re the outsider in the small village and having an accent they haven’t heard in Louisiana for the past 200 years also adds to being unaccepted in the community and the line at the end where you’re holding the gun to James Franco’s head and say…(you have to see the movie to hear it). The whole image of wanting to be the father that you sought out to be for your daughter and that violence isn’t the only solution.
JS: Yeah, right. That’s a great line! I’m so glad that you picked that out because that was a real significant line for us all. Yeah, you know what? He could have done it, he had so much pent up anger for this scumbag, that he really, really could have done it but and she did save…I thought it was great.
FBN: Now, I was reading your profile before, you were a diver for the British team?
JS: For a good 10 years, yeah.
FBN: How do you make that transition from diving to acting?
JS: I’ve had a few careers, you know. I left school at an early age. I left at 15 because my birthday fell on the right side of the summer holidays. So I was working while I was at school, at the time I was living on the east coast, which was like a seaside town. My dad used to have a big auction that tourists used to come in. It was a very lucrative career for my dad and many other people. It was basically a big for market traders…when we say market traders we mean open air markets, you call them like flea markets, but in the UK they have a different sort of cache.
I used to work on the street corner selling jewelry and perfume and I did that ever since I left school. That was my trade, that was my life and I did it for as long as I could remember, then I fell into a hobby where I was an international high diver. I did martial arts as a kid, my dad was a good gymnast and a good boxer himself. I had all these different sort of careers going on and then I ended up falling into acting and so it merged the two experience of working out in the streets and then learning all these physical skills. I wasn’t shy to get in front of the camera from the beginning.
FBN: Right, you were a salesman from the beginning…
JS: Yeah, so I think the two things helped and the next thing you know, I’m in the movie business.
FBN: I remember you from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and then in The Transporter and then everything else.
JS: That was the first action movie for me, I said, ‘F*ck it,’ this is great! This is really want I want to do.’
FBN: This movie is very suspenseful. James Franco (Gator Bodine) creeped the hell out of me. I grew up in San Francisco where junkies were on all the street corners and I was used to that but his transition and especially with Kate Bosworth’s (Cassie Bodine Klum) into their roles…
JS: I swear to God, what a tremendous actress she is. She really did a proper job on this, even Marcus (Hester who plays Jimmy Klum) her husband on this, he was terrific. Everybody in it is good. Winona and James are great — you know. Normally, I’m in a cast where you don’t recognize anybody (chuckling). It’s like they cast a hairdresser from the streets of New York and then put her opposite me. So, I got real actors, it was terrific (chuckling). BRILLIANT ACTORS!
FBN: But you’re English and you have that accent, so you can fake it until you make it anyway (laughing).
JS: Yeah, exactly.
FBN: It’s your language, you have a better grasp of the the vocabulary than the rest of us.
JS: (laughing) Yeah.
FBN: You still seem very enthusiastic about the industry. You’ve been doing this 15 years and there is still that excitement for you.
JS: You know what? I think it’s like you’ve been waiting for one particular splash that really puts you in a spot that really stretches you…everything went your way and you got the best DP, you got the best of everything. It was like the best penalty kick. That was the best I could ever do and I think I’m always striving to find that penalty kick.
FBN: Who was the stunt coordinator on this one?
JS: The stunt coordinator is a guy called J.J. Perry, who I really like.
FBN: Your stunts in this film had a bit more of a Hong Kong feel, where they do a fight scene in close quarters and that you didn’t have to do all this running around, especially at the gas station (see the movie). I love that close combat.
JS: Yeah, yeah, yeah. J.J.’s got a really good relationship with and hand picks good stunt men. There is a chap in the gas station where I do a foot sweep and the guy goes CLUNK, taking a hard hit to concrete. You’ve got to get these guys that can fight, that can react good, that can snap their neck and take a hit with no pads, a tank top and go to the ground with force.
People don’t realize…they don’t really give the stuntmen the credit, but I have a massive respect for these guys because they make the fight! You’ve got to have some brave, tough dudes that can take the hit and really make it look real. A massive tip of the hat to them chaps.
FBN: Do you still dive in your spare time?
JS: I gave that up. My only regret is that I didn’t give it up a lot sooner (laughs), because I f*cked around for years, just like in a bit of a vacuum, thinking there might be something else at the end of the tunnel but, where is there to go from that?
When I was doing it, it was an amateur sport, so you couldn’t get any money, otherwise it would affect your amateur status. Now, people get sponsorships, but at the time people to raise money on a sponsorship deal was impossible. We were in our f*cking speedos and you can’t see any labels on them, no one’s going to see the competitions anyway.
It was a bit of a difficult situation, then the next thing you know, I meet Guy Ritchie and he goes, ‘You used to work jewlery on on the street corners, right? Is that true?’ because we had a mutual friend, I said, ‘Yeah, that’s what I done my whole life’ and he said that he might have something for me. Long story short, I’m in a movie with him.
FBN: Just one door opens and leads to a whole new whole new hallway.
JS: Yeah, it came at the right time where the street trade was a real f*cking grim prospects at the time. I used to take two, three grand on a Sunday of pound notes, I was reduced to taking a few hundred quid. It had taken a big slip and the recession just killed it.
FBN: And now you have this gorgeous fiance…
JS: Yes, I got this little girl from England who’s as good as gold. She’s from Devon in the south, so she’s raised on a farm and doesn’t mind mucking out (laughing).
FBN: What’s the one thing you want someone to take away from Homefront?
JS: Value for money. They go to the cinema, the spend their cash, they get their moneys worth. It’s all about value for money. Some people like heavy metal, some people like country music, some people like pop music, it’s horses for courses.
This has a little bit of everything; it has drama, it has great suspense, there are great performances there’s great action and tension. You get your moneys worth and it’s written by a class act, Sylvester Stallone, who’s as good as they come.
Homefront opens nationwide, Wednesday, November 27, 2013.