Jason Statham is an English actor and former competitive diver.
Statham is known for his roles in the Guy Ritchie crime films Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), Snatch (2000), and Revolver (2005). He has also appeared in films such as the action thriller The Transporter trilogy (2002–2008), the heist film The Italian Job (2003), the black comedy-action film Crank (2006), the action film War (2007), the science fiction action thriller Death Race (2008), the crime film The Bank Job (2008), and the action series The Expendables (2010–2014). In 2015, Statham starred in the latest entry in the The Fast and the Furious franchise, Furious 7, and is set to reprise his role in the upcoming film Fast 8. He usually performs his own stage combat and stunts, and is noted for being typecast as an antihero.
While working as a model for French Connection, he was introduced to fledgling British director Guy Ritchie who was developing a film project and needed to fill the role of a street-wise con artist. After learning about Statham's past as a black market salesman, Ritchie cast him to play the role of "Bacon" in his 1998 crime comedy thriller Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. The movie was well received by both critics and audiences, and helped put Statham in the public eye. Statham's second collaboration with Ritchie came in the 2000 film Snatch, playing the role of "Turkish". Cast alongside popular actors Brad Pitt, Dennis Farina and Benicio del Toro, and with the movie earning more than $80 million in box-office revenue, Statham was able to break into Hollywood and appeared in two movies in 2001: the science fiction action horror film Ghosts of Mars and the science fiction martial arts action film The One.
Statham was offered more film roles, and in 2002 he was cast as the lead role of driver Frank Martin in the action movie The Transporter, in which he was responsible for his own stunts (Statham has made this choice for all of his films). He has studied Wing Chun kung fu, karate, and kickboxing. The film spawned two sequels, Transporter 2 (2005) and Transporter 3 (2008).
He also played supporting roles in Mean Machine (2002), The Italian Job (2003) (in which he played Handsome Rob), and Cellular (2004) in which he played the lead villain. In 2005, Statham was once again cast by Ritchie to star in his new project, Revolver, which was a critical and box office failure. He played a dramatic role in the independent film London in 2006. That same year he played the lead role in the action film Crank which spawned the sequel Crank: High Voltage (2009).
In 2008, Statham starred in the British crime thriller The Bank Job and Death Race, a remake of Death Race 2000 (1975). American film critic Armond White hailed Statham's ascension as the leading international action film star. On the occasion of Death Race, White championed Statham's "best track record of any contemporary movie star." Later in 2008, White praised Statham's Transporter 3 as a great example of kinetic pop art.
In 2009, Statham started to develop a new movie written by David Peoples and Janet Peoples. Statham stated "We've got a movie we're trying to do, written by David Peoples and Janet Peoples, in the vein of an old film, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. It’s not a remake or anything, but it's a little bit like that, about relationships and how greed contaminates the relationships these three people have. The working title is The Grabbers."
In 2010, Statham appeared alongside fellow action stars Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li and Mickey Rourke, among others in The Expendables. Statham plays Lee Christmas, a former SAS soldier and expert at close quarters combat using knives. In 2011, Statham starred in the remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson film, The Mechanic, and returned to British film in the police drama Blitz.
He also starred in the action film Killer Elite. The film was based on real events, which were the subject of Sir Ranulph Fiennes' fictional novel The Feather Men. Statham played an assassin named Danny who comes out of retirement to save an old friend, who was played by Robert De Niro. In August 2011, he began filming Parker for director Taylor Hackford; the film was released in January 2013. Statham played Parker, the criminal antihero previously played by Mel Gibson in 1999's Payback and by Lee Marvin in 1967's Point Blank (though their characters were given different surnames).
He reprised his role as Lee Christmas in The Expendables 2 in 2012. In 2013, Statham had a cameo appearance at the end of Fast & Furious 6 as the brother of the film's antagonist Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). He reprised the character, this time as the main antagonist, in Furious 7, which was released in April 2015. In 2013, he also starred opposite James Franco in the thriller Homefront, and headlined the British thriller Hummingbird. Statham made a cameo in the 2014 music video Summer of Calvin Harris as one of the car racers. In 2014, he returned as Lee Christmas in The Expendables 3, and in 2015, appeared in the action comedy Spy.
Statham has advocated for stunt performers to be given their own category at the Oscars.