Jason Statham: Young action stars have an ’embarrassing’ reliance on stunt doubles


Jason Statham really got out of his comfort zone when he signed on to Spy. I kept wondering how his casting even came about, but in Jason’s new Guardian interview, the reporter says that writer/director Paul Feig is apparently a HUGE Statham fan and wrote the role with Jason in mind. And to his credit, Jason understood that signing on to the film was a smart move for his career, plus it just seems like he had a ball making the movie with Melissa McCarthy.

Up until this point, Jason’s interviews haven’t been anything special. His recent Esquire cover profile was exceedingly boring – go here to see. But The Guardian actually got him to open up and chat about a lot of different stuff. He even threw some shade on the current crop of superheroes, which I enjoyed. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

How he approached comedic work: “Paul was saying, ‘Look, just don’t try and be funny. That’s not what I want.’ It harks back to Guy Ritchie saying, ‘Don’t try and act. That’s not what I want!’”

He had difficulty improvising & he bowed down to Melissa: “She was just … great. For myself, it’s not something I’ve been accustomed to experimenting with.”

Whether he does crazy workouts all the time: “It’s been feast and famine. I’ve had untold years of burning the candle: going out, overeating, over-drinking. Even when you do it, you understand you can’t live that way. As you get older, you get a bit wiser.”

He’s still committed to doing action films: “I really like doing action movies. It’s opened the door for me and I’ve had a great career out of it. Why not continue doing something I’ve always wanted to do?”

He hates the younger crop of action stars: “They are not doing what they’re supposed to be doing. I’m inspired by the people who could do their own work. Bruce Lee never had stunt doubles and fight doubles, or Jackie Chan or Jet Li. I’ve been in action movies where there is a face replacement and I’m fighting with a double, and it’s embarrassing. But if you really are an aficionado of action movies, you know who’s doing what and who ain’t. To me it’s a little bit sad.”

He’s not impressed with the superheroes either: “You slip on a cape and you put on the tights and you become a superhero? They’re not doing anything! They’re just sitting in their trailer. It’s absolutely, 100% created by stunt doubles and green screen. How can I get excited about that?”

Would he love to play James Bond? “Could I do it? Abso-f–king-lutely. Would I do it? Abso-f–king-lutely. Is Daniel Craig a great Bond? Abso-f–king-lutely. Yeah, I’d make a decent Bond. But it’d be very, very different if I did it.”

Would he play a Bond villain? “Er …I don’t know if I wanna to do that. That’s not my thing. I’d rather play the other guy.”

[From The Guardian]

I really like what he says about action-oriented actors needing to understand how to do their own stunt work. I think that’s fair for Jason in particular to say, since he prides himself on doing all (or almost all) of his own stunt work. And I like that he name-checks Bruce Lee, Jet Li and Jackie Chan as icons of “action actors.” As for Jason and James Bond… he’s 48 years old now. It’s not going to happen. But he’s right, he would have been an interesting choice for Bond.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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28 Responses to “Jason Statham: Young action stars have an ’embarrassing’ reliance on stunt doubles”

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  1. LAK says:

    He could always be cast as No 9 with Daniel Craig playing No 7.

    Downside though is that No 9 is always getting killed so it would be a one film deal.

  2. Jen says:

    Dude, he nailed it. I just love him. I don’t care how old he is, he could get me to watch 007 again!

  3. Sugar says:

    He’s not my type at all but he sure is handsome. It’s because he’s soooo masculine.

    • Jayna says:

      He’s a man. I hate the baby boy action stars. Give me a man any day.

    • I Choose Me says:

      Yas! Sweet Lord the things I would do that man do to me. The best part is, my husband knows this and approves. Wait, hold up! He’s 48. Daaaaaaaaamn.

  4. aims says:

    I can’t believe he’s 48! He looks fantastic.

  5. Jayna says:

    I give Tom Cruise credit. He really commits to his action movies.

  6. Bridget says:

    They can’t all be former Olympians.

    • Ange says:

      Right?! Easy for him to say when he was an elite level diver. He was much better prepared for stunt work thanks to that.

  7. renee28 says:

    I always forget he’s nearing 50. He looks better than some of the guys in their 30s.

  8. Green Is Good says:

    Love this guy. He’s fierce!

  9. Green Is Good says:

    Melissa McCarthy looks so pretty in the above photo.

    • Angel says:

      Pretty and tiny. I think we have messed up take on her from seeing her next to tiny size 2 women all the time.

  10. lucy2 says:

    I’m really looking forward to this movie. I haven’t seen him in a ton of stuff, but he does seem very capable in action films.
    I forget what movie or show commentary I was listening to, but the actors basically said they HAD to use stunt doubles even for the smallest things. It makes sense from an insurance and risk perspective, but it does take something away from a film when you know it’s a stunt double or CGI for everything.

    • Div says:

      That’s true about insurance, but even Tom Cruise does a ton of his own stunts so there are ways around it. I know Margot Robbie is apparently doing some stunts for Suicide Squad, too. I think it’s an easy excuse for some cite insurance but that it’s not always a valid excuse.

      • I Choose Me says:

        Angelina does a lot of her own stunts as well. But then again she has the clout to make those kind of demands.

    • MonicaQ says:

      Yup insurance. I was listening to Gwendoline Christie talk about the scene in Game of Thrones where she has to fight the bear at Denver Comic Con last week. She was all, “I want to fight the bear!”

      Producers: “Well, see, you’re kind of expensive and–”

      Christie: “I WANT TO FIGHT THE BEAR!”

      So they relented and let her fight the bear until it throws her. She’s fine, she even laughs about it and gets up for the next take but the “money people” said, “No, put the bear handler in a wig and make him shave, you are too valuable. No fighting the bear.”

    • oneshot says:

      I think it varies case by case – a younger actor without the clout of Cruise or Statham, and more importantly without their years of experience and training, likely isn’t going to be allowed to do the tough stunts – and again, it depends on what those are.

      • lucy2 says:

        I think it depends on the production as well, some might allow actors to do as much as they safely can, and others might shut it down and have stunt doubles do everything.

  11. Minimi says:

    He can still play an abso-f-king-lutely fabulous Bond!! I would surely watch that one! Please Hollywood make it happen!

  12. Div says:

    Spy is getting great reviews and it’s at 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. The whole cast is supposedly fantastic.

  13. Miss M says:

    He is a great action actor. The first scene of Furious 7 is amazing, he nailed it. His voice is great!

  14. Angel says:

    Statham is actually a good actor. Not all action movies are the same , even his. Some with more plot he shows that he has chops.

  15. oneshot says:

    Stunts tend to get undervalued as pedestrian and ‘just stunts’ (witness the language in which Natalie Portman’s Black Swan dance double was credited, in a way that played down her contribution to the artistic parts of the film), but I’ve been watching a bunch of Korean tv shows recently where one of the actors did his own stunts, and it’s astonishing just how much it adds to a scene when an actor is able to do their own action/stunt work (within reason of course)

    It’s not just the freedom in how things are shot (not having to block the stunt double’s face, angles etc) but also in how much that physicality adds to a performance.

  16. Crocuta says:

    Hmmm. I get what he’s saying about superheroes but the F&F franchise isn’t all that real either, is it? Pompous action films have stopped being realistic a long time ago.

    • Miss M says:

      The fight scenes are, they practice the scene for up yo 3 weeks. Tony Jaa said the fight scene he had with Paul Walker started from 9 and ended at 3am the next day. They do have a great stunt team especially for the car stunts.

  17. mommak918 says:

    I think he is super sexy. His voice and his bald head do it for me. My husband also has a man crush on him (they look similar but my husband has dimples and has a weird Canadian accent). So i think he doesn’t mind that I find him attractive. He would be a great Bond. I can’t wait to watch this movie.

    Also on a side note, I purposely don’t click on the Kardashian links. But Whyyyy are there so many every darn day? It’s like they managed to become America’s royalty family. Which sucks. Ugh. Please make them stop.

  18. One reason I’ve loved Agents of SHIELD…Ming-Na and Chloe Bennet have been doing a lot of their own stunts…Chloe in particular had a marvellous [punny me!] one take fight scene that rivalled the one in Daredevil. Of course over on that show Charlie Cox did a fair amount of his own stunt work. Haywire’s best parts were when Gina Carano was allowed to let rip. So…really…it does help a lot.