Jason Statham


  1. Ice Cube,Ghosts of Mars, 2000.     Or how auteur John Carpenter lost his public.   It started, on paper, as a sequel to his Escape from, New York and LA films, with Russell reprising his eye-patched Snake Plissken hero.  But LA had flopped and Paramount didn’t’ want Snake. What’s in a name?  Carpenter reworked him into Desolation Williams for what he termed a “mindless, silly” piece, a la Commando and Rambo. Russell was dropped.  Statham, the fast-rising Brit, didn’t appeal to the suits either but was kept for a lesser role.   For the Star Power he needed for a deal, Carpenter chose the rapper-turned-actor-producer Ice Cube.  The result was awful. “Unwatchable in many ways,” said Cube. Result: Carpenter didn’t make another feature for nine years!   
  2. Kevin McKidd, Dog Soldiers, 2002.      Quit “The Howling meets  Rio Bravoin the Scottish Highlands” (Variety) for real horror…! The original notion for Rifleman Lawrence Cooper had a sudden Hollywood offer to joinJohn Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars, 2001.
  3. Timothy Olyphant, Hitman, 2007.       As the Agent 47 video game character was bald, obviously Vin Diesel was keen. But he already had two franchises and simply exec-produced. Statham also passed on assassin-for-hire. Enter: the Nicholsonesque Olyphant. However 47 was not as memorable as his modern day marshal Raylen Givens in the finest screen slice of Elmore Leonard, Justified, 2010-2015. Homeland’s Rupert Friend was 47 in the robust 2015 sequel.
  4. Tom Hardy, Bronson, 2008.    “My name’s Charlie Bronson and all my life I’ve wanted to be famous” said Michael Gordon Peterson, Britain’s most violent prisoner. (Seeing Death Wish caused the name change). Jailed for seven years for robery hspent 34 years in jail, about 30 in solitary due to his hostage-taking and violence towards warders. When asked to play him Statham pleaded a packed schedule. Or he realised this one required a genuine actor… Hardy was totally unrecognisable after a regime of 2,500 press-ups a day for five weeks.
 When finally allowed to see “his” film four years later, Bronson called it “theatrical, creative, and brilliant” – and Hardy was Britain’s #1 actor. In Legend, 2015, Hardy played the Kray twin gangsters, who became Bronson’s friends in Parkhurst in 1976.
  5. Tom Hardy, RocknRolla, 2008.     Hardy subbed again – as Handsome Bob, no less, Statham’s name in The Italian Job, 2003 – in the least satisfactory of director Guy Ritchie’s tales devoted to London gangster geezers. Statham owed his career to Ritchie, but preferred heading up Hollywood’s Death Race re-hash.
  6. Nicholas Cage,  Stolen, 2011.     Or, indeed, Taken in New Orleans. And that sounds more exciting than the dumbass movie..  ‘Tis the season to rescue your daughter from the bad man…As different as bangers and mash, Statham and Clive Owen had been attached as the thief leaving jail to find his daughter is kidnapped. The ransom is the $10m from his last heist. Except that went wrong and there is no money. Hammy Cage made it “hilarious, absurd, offensive and insulting,” said The Flick Filosopher MaryAnn Joanson.
  7. Luke Evans, Fast & Furious 6, 2013.   Statham  and David Tennant  were also up for the best villain of the franchise.  The Welsh Evans was perfect, described by  US  critic Steven Boone as looking like the evilest parts of Leonardo DiCaprio and Jude Law mashed together. Statham took over the role for  the next chapter in 2014.
  8. Ed Skrein, Transporter, 2014.      Suddenly,  reboots were happening so fast. Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and now Statham handed over the  role that made him a star  – the screen’s toughest delivery boy, Frank Martin –  to the  ex-physical-training teacher who became an action star as mercenary Daario Naharis in Games of Thrones’ third year. Statham was hard act to follow as Chris Vance  discovered  in the  lacklustre TV series version, 2012-2013. 
  9. Will Smith, Suicide Squad, 2015.     After seeing 14 possible Harley Quinns, director David Ayer shuffled through 19 Deadshots. None hit the target. Not  Daniel Craig, Matt Damon, Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Idris Elba,  Colin Farrell, Michael Fassbender, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jon Hamm.  Nor Statham, Oscar Isaac, Joel Kinnaman (he became Rick Flag), Matthew McConaughey, Ewan McGregor, Robert Pattinson, Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves and  Alexander Skarsgård.  Another Warner/DC flop  because Warner wasn’t Marvel and Smith was way  too top-heavy for a team effort.




 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  9