We Got This Covered: What was it like building that father figure relationship with Nick Nolte? Did you two spend a lot of time together?
Jason Statham: We did. We got enough that we needed. He plays the mentor, father figure-like character, and thank God it was someone with that presence. You feel such a strength by working opposite him. First you get over the fact that it’s Nick Nolte and then you get into the character.
We Get This Covered: What was it like working with Michael Chiklis?
Jason Statham: We are both sort of renowned for having sort of a physical side, and I think that’s why Taylor put us together; the tension would be there. Are they going to clash? When are they gonna clash? Who’s gonna win? It’s going to create the tension for the audience, so it was good to roll around and sling a punch and get one thrown back. Fun and games, huh? (laughs)
We Got This Covered: Did you grow up a big fan of action movies? What were your favorite movies growing up?
Jason Statham: I’m a massive fan of action movies! But if I were to mention some of my favorite movies there’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke, The Sting, I love Paul Newman, I love Clint Eastwood, and I like a lot of different movies. I do like a lot of the 70s movies. I love Charles Bronson in Hard Times. All my favorite movies where ones from yesteryear. The 70s was a good era. I love all those. My mom and dad used to tell me “you’ve got to see this film,” and they were influential to a high degree of the films I saw as a kid. It’s funny because I’m not doing the same quality of movies as them, I’d be out of line to say that, but I’m doing movies that my dad likes even now. “Yeah that was a good one son! The other one, that wasn’t so good. Make the next one better!” But it’s nice to do a good one that he likes. My mom likes them all because she’s all “you’re just brilliant!” But she would just say that if it was a piece of crap.
We Got This Covered: Did you read the Donald Westlake book Flashfire and how much did you use of it for inspiration in your portrayal of Parker?
Jason Statham: It’s hard because once you get tied into the book, and there’s things that you like in the book that don’t make it into the screenplay, you’re all “oh no, but can’t we have that?” You get into this quagmire of fighting for something that might be a good scene that I’d want to do. So Taylor said “leave the book alone. We’re making a movie and it’s gonna be inspired by the Flashfire novel and you don’t have to read it. I’m not asking you to read it. We’re going to be doing something different because we have locations that are specific to the storyline, actors that are going to come in and things are gonna change so that they can feel comfortable with what they’re doing.” So things change a lot. There’s a huge fan base of Westlake fans and I’m sure that they’re gonna love or hate what we did (laughs). There’s gonna be the haters and the lovers!
We Got This Covered: Jennifer Lopez really took a chance by taking on the role of Leslie Rogers. She’s not the lead, she’s not the romantic interest, and her character is kind of down and out. What did you take away from her stripping her persona down to play this role?
Jason Statham: Well it was really something she was always capable of. When Taylor came up to her he said “I know there is that Jennifer but I don’t want that. I want the other Jennifer.” And she said “what other Jennifer?” And he said “this one!” She’s a street girl anyway, she’s got a real down to earth sort of way about her, and I think that’s why people love her so much. She’s just real. You don’t feel like she’s putting on anything, and that’s one of the reasons why everybody likes her so much and she came with that. She wanted to do something like this; I think it was the perfect thing and she really got down and stripped away everything and it worked out great.
We Got This Covered: Would you say that you fell into the role of Parker, did you help create him, and how much of him is you?
Jason Statham: It’s all driven by the Westlake creation. He’s his own self. Westlake said he likes writing about these interesting, cunning, clever sort of criminals that are always on wrong side of the law, but they’re smart. You know, there’s nothing worse than a dumb criminal (laughs), right? They’re the worst of the worst. So you have to be cunning and smart, and you have to have a certain way in order to exact some revenge. If you are gonna come back on five or six guys, you’re gonna have to do it in a smart way. You can’t just beat them up physically, they’re all carrying guns. So you have to have a way, a smart way, of how he’s going to get close to these guys and how he’s gonna do it. Westlake’s mystery writing gives way to that so, thank God for him, you just put the suit on and away you go.
That concludes our interview but we’d like to thank Jason very much for talking with us. Be sure to check out Parker in theatres this weekend.