August 19, 2007


Meet the biggest jaw in town: Jason Statham's tough-guy look and demeanor got him his break. The next death-defying leap is his. (Geoff Boucher, 8/19/07, Los Angeles Times)

JASON STATHAM'S acting career began on the sidewalks of Argyle Street in London. Sitting on a milk crate with a suitcase of bogus jewelry, the young street hustler said whatever it took to persuade tourists to buy gold chains that would turn green by the time they flew home. "That was street theater. It was called fly pitching. You work with a team -- some people in the crowd, some guys who stand lookout for the police. Those were the most lucrative days of my youth."

Later, Statham would be introduced to a young filmmaker named Guy Ritchie who was looking to pepper the cast of his upcoming crime film with non-actors whose faces evoked London's seedier pubs. Statham laughed at the memory. "There were two reasons: He wanted to save money, and he wanted street credibility. Guy shoveled me up off the street. Without him, there wouldn't be all this." "All this" is Statham's career as a Hollywood action hero, which is ramping up right now like one of the turbo-charged cars he usually wrecks in his films.

Statham stars opposite Jet Li in "War," a bloody tale of Asian organized crime that opens Friday in theaters, and next week he leaves for Canada to begin filming "Death Race," the Universal Pictures remake of the nihilistic 1975 sci-fi film "Death Race 2000." The rugged Statham has been in 19 movies since 2000 and won the affection of discerning action fans with the deliriously dangerous stunts he did as the title character in "The Transporter" in 2002 and its sequel in 2005, but "Death Race" marks the first time that the 34-year-old will have a major studio and a blockbuster budget at his back when he jumps off a building.

"This is the big leap," Statham said.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 19, 2007 12:00 AM

Can't wait for the movie, wait, I mean the movie on PPV!

Posted by: Mike at August 19, 2007 8:23 PM