As the 2012 Olympics close, The Expendables 2 star Jason Statham could be nostalgic for his time as an Olympic diver for Team Great Britain… but he’s not.
“I love the Olympics. I have some good memories,” Statham told Movie Fanatic recently. “But it sucked up a lot of my life where I could have been doing something more productive for what I’m doing now maybe. Who knows?”
Statham has done plenty with his post-diving career. He’s become the action star for the new millennium. His latest brings him back with Sylvester Stallone, largely the reason why Statham adores the entire franchise. That joy is clear as the actor appears to be in brotherly love heaven alongside the action legend in The Expendables 2 trailer.
“I just wanted to have some of those funny scenes with Sly. They are my favorite things! I could spend my whole two hours doing that with him,” he said. “The chemistry is the fun stuff, the dialogue and the banter that I and he share. That’s my favorite stuff to do.”
Being a veteran of over two dozen films, Statham also appreciated Stallone’s vision on the first film and how he conducted himself on the sequel with a new director brought in, Simon West.
“Sly’s the conductor. He likes to be that. No disrespect to Simon West because he’s the director of this film. Sly creates these characters and he writes them so he knows them inside out. If you’re not hitting the right note, he’s the first person to tell ya,” he said and laughed.
If it sounds as if Statham looks up to the action legend on the set, he has treasured the time with the man off set that he comfortably calls “friend.”
“I spent a lot of time with him. We made a movie and then we did a big press tour and we went to many places, so I’ve shared a lot of stories and a lot of time with him,” Statham said.
“He’s a good friend. I’m not going to try and spill any secrets because he doesn’t have any. He’s just a regular guy who happens to be a great filmmaker and a brilliant actor. It’s nice to know someone like that.”
A joy for the audience in The Expendables 2 is the pumped up roles for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis. They reprise their cameos from the first film that are now fully drawn-out roles. There’s even a priceless shot of Stallone, Willis and Schwarzenegger shooting off their machine guns as they mow down baddies at the same time.
“This time they had some good innings,” Statham said of the Planet Hollywood trio. “Arnold gets to come in and say, ‘I’ll be back.’ There are all these sort of homage moments that come in this film.”
A newbie to the franchise, Statham wishes he had more time with Scott Adkins (The Bourne Ultimatum, the upcoming Mortal Kombat remake). The martial arts expert plays Jean-Claude Van Damme’s second in command, mirroring Statham’s back-up to Stallone’s leader.
“Normally you get three or four days of rehearsals and then three or four days to shoot. We had no rehearsal. We had a day to shoot,” Statham recalled.
“It’s quite frustrating because Scott Adkins to me is one of the greatest onscreen martial artists there is. I wanted a little bit more -- because I think we could have done a bit more. You never know when I’m going to fight Scott Adkins again.”
Even though filming The Expendables 2 may seem like a situation ripe for an army of comments on and off the set of “I’m too old for this (expletive),” Statham reported that was furthest from the truth, well except for one. “I think I’m the only one who says that,” he said and laughed.
“You never see any signs of pain. If someone has got a twisted whatever, no one is going to show that. A lot of the stuff that we do, the ego gets thrown out of the window,” Statham said.
“Everyone has made their stamp in some way, so there is nothing to prove. There is a good feeling about it. No one is trying to fight for the camera here. The better everyone else looks the better we look.”
Before Statham is pulled from the room, he teases about his upcoming Parker. “Taylor Hackford (director)… I’m lucky to work with somebody like him and Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte. It’s a good cast,” he admitted.
“This is the first movie that the character has even been called Parker, because Point Blank and Payback -- the other Westlake films that were made -- he isn't.”
Parker could be Statham’s next franchise after The Expendables, Crank and Transporter.
“Who knows? A sequel or franchise is what every filmmaker wants,” he said. “It keeps your bread buttered.”