Jason Statham – Parker

January 25, 2013 by  
Filed under Interviews

Based on the novel “Flashfire” by Donald Westlake, the new crime thriller “Parker” stars English actor Jason Statham (“Expendables 2”) as the title character. In “Parker,” Statham takes the reigns as the iconic professional thief who seeks revenge on a crew that double crosses him.

“Parker” opens at theaters Jan. 25.

There have been a number of different versions of your Parker character over the years in films like “Point Blank” and “Payback.” With this new adaptation, what were you hoping to show audiences?

You know, the Parker [series] is such a good crime thriller that [Donald] Westlake wrote. I mean, he wrote 20+ books. I was just hoping we could make one of those stories into a good film. You just have to do everything you can to do justice to the story.

How much research did you put into this role since the character has such a long literary history?

You know, there’s obviously a lot more in the book than in the 90 minutes we have to tell the story on film. Basically, you just have to give everything to the director and he has to have his own interpretation of the book and tell that story. He can’t be fixated on trying to please the fans of the book. That gets too complicated. The roots of the character are already written in Westlake’s books. Those are great qualities.

What about the style of the character? How does Parker compare to other gun-toting characters you’ve played in the past? Do you have to exude something different to give him that no-nonsense personality?

You know, I tend to not look at any of the other stuff I’ve done. I don’t think it has an influence really. Now, the physical side of Parker is something I’ve spent 10 years doing in other films. But we know how to execute that stuff efficiently. There’s a benefit in what I’ve done in the past with that.

You might not look at your own roles in the past, but what about looking at other actors who have played the Parker character in other films – Robert Duvall, Mel Gibson, and even NFL football player Jim Brown? Did you borrow anything specific from those incarnations or did you want to start on a clean slate?

This is its own thing. We kept Parker’s likable charm and some of the cutting smarts Parker has always had. So, basically, we kept the good stuff.

You’re known for many of the physically demanding roles you’ve taken on in your career. How does the physicality of Parker compare to other films you’ve done?

You know, I’m always getting hurt. It’s just a fact of life with what I do. It’s just like waking up and turning on the lights. It’s like asking a footballer, “Are you going to tackle somebody today?” You run around doing these sequences where you’re jumping out of buildings and cars and you’re bound to get a knock or two.

Is that why you look up to somebody like Jackie Chan so much?

Oh yeah, I have such a huge respect for Jackie Chan. There’s someone who leads by example. It’s great to be inspired by people like that.

Has there ever been a time in your film career when you wanted to do your own stunts and they didn’t allow you?

There have been certain things they haven’t allowed me to do. It’s because they want me to make it to the end of the movie. (Laughs) I remember I was doing a stunt in “Crank” and I was hanging outside a chopper on skis. We choreographed the scene on the ground and then we were going to take it above in the helicopter. They let me do the scene, but not until the very last day we shot the movie. They didn’t want that fucking thing to fall out of the sky. See, that’s the thing. They’ll let you do the stunts, but they want to make sure they have the movie in the bag first.

Why don’t you think a series like Parker has been able to be a consistent one in the film industry like James Bond?

You just don’t know. The audiences want what they want to see. It’s a very unpredictable business and that’s what makes it exciting. If you have a hit movie it’s pretty fantastic. I’m still waiting for that day. (Laughs)

How does Jennifer Lopez stack up to other leading ladies you’ve had in the past?

She’s just a true delight. She was way out of her comfort zone, but it was a great part for her. She brings this real likable street quality that makes her so approachable. She’s just fantastic to be around.

Jennifer Lopez – Parker

January 25, 2013 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

It’s been 15 years since actress Jennifer Lopez took on the type of grittier role she’s seen playing in the new action film “Parker.” The last time was as U.S. Marshall Karen Sisco in director Steven Soderbergh’s 1998 film “Out of Sight.” Since then, Lopez, 43, has been known in the film industry over these last few years for her romantic comedies, including “The Wedding Planner,” “Monster-in-Law,” and last year’s “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” among others.

In “Parker,” which is adapted from a series of books by Donald E. Westlake, Lopez plays Leslie Rodgers, a real estate agent who gets involved with a professional thief (Jason Statham in the title role). Lopez says returning to this genre was “pretty awesome.”

“When I saw ‘Parker,’ it was like ‘Transporter’ and ‘Out of Sight’ had a baby,” Lopez told me over the phone last week during a conference call with seven other reporters. “This type of character is something I really, really enjoy doing – these sexy-action-thriller-dramas. It was a great thing to get back into and maybe focus on more in the next few years.”

Surprising, Lopez says she was able to connect with her character in many ways she didn’t realize she would be able to until she started filming. This includes the fact that Leslie Rodgers was going through a divorce in the film and during filming, Lopez, too, was experience the same thing with Marc Anthony.

“Leslie is at the worst moment of her life,” Lopez said. “When I was filming this role, there were a lot of similar feelings. I had decided to divorce. It was hard for me to get out of bed every day and even go to the set. In that sense, we were very similar. I knew what those feelings were – to have that sadness and feel like your world is falling apart.”

But like her character, Lopez has a resiliency about her that has never let her down. It’s a personality trait she sees in many of the strong Latina characters she’s played over the years.

“It’s great to play Latina characters, especially ones who triumph at the end like this,” Lopez said. “Of course, there is a Hollywood element to this. No one is really going to go out and team up with a thief and steal jewels, but at the same time, Leslie sees an opportunity and goes for it and doesn’t give up.”