If you’re ever walking down the street and suddenly get bowled over by a very distracted, glued-to-his-iPhone Jason Statham, the first thing you should do is check into a hospital. He is a very strong man — a rock, really — and if you’ve collided with him, you probably have some sort of concussion or other significant injury.
After that, feel free to blame me for the mishap.
During an interview with Statham in Manhattan on Thursday, the veteran English action star’s internet presence was a hot topic of conversation. Or rather, lack thereof: He has no Twitter account, and little interest in starting one.
“I know I’m losing out on [communicating with fans], but I don’t want to be one of those chaps that says all the wrong things, like, ‘What have I got to say today?’” the sharply dressed Statham said. “Some people are very good at that, communicating with the world; I’m not sure I’m suited to it.”
But by forgoing Twitter, Statham didn’t realize he was missing out on some seriously great selfie broadcasting opportunities — and once he fully digested the concept of the selfie, his position softened.
“Never say never!” he said with a big laugh. “They’re going to be like, ‘What the fuck is he doing? He’s so vain, he keeps taking pictures of himself!’ My first selfie, bam! I suppose once you start, you get stuck in it. It’s like your first drink of alcohol, eh? Then all of a sudden, you can’t put it down.”
With the subject of iPhone addiction broached, the discussion turned to Candy Crush, the ridiculously habit-forming puzzle game that has laid waste to work ethics and sleep patterns across the world. Statham was intrigued, so the phone came out, drawing him across to the adjacent couch so he could take a look at the latest in digital crack.
“They just flop down,” he correctly observed, watching as an example round was played for his educational benefit. “It’s like Tetris in some ways.”
Statham took a shot at creating a row of three candies himself, and as the rules of the game were being explained, his publicist happened to walk by the room and overhear the conversation.
“You’ve only got so much time, and you’re talking about jellies?” she asked, hoping to steer the conversation back to his film work.
“We’re OK,” Statham assured her, without looking up from the phone.
Staring down at the screen, he warned, “I’m gonna mess this up,” then proceeded to search out a blue piece needed to complete a row. “You’ve got to get three in a row? I see…”
Ultimately, he found a match — completing a row of four, in fact — and handed the phone back, amused by the hugely popular little game that hadn’t even registered on his radar.
“Next time I’ll be doing selfies and I’ll be doing Candy Crush!” he declared.
Before the iPhone adventure, Statham did talk with BuzzFeed about his very busy career, which includes the upcoming movie Redemption, in which he stars as a former special forces soldier who steals a man’s identity and beings to work as a ruthlessly efficient driver/enforcer in the high-rolling world of the London crime underground. That conversation, which also includes discussion about his surprise role in the new Fast and Furious movie, has been edited and condensed below.
I was at a screening at Times Square opening weekend of Fast and Furious 6, and when you came in at the end, people just erupted. How did you keep that a secret?
Jason Statham: Just pressure. Pressure and warned with an open gun, “Don’t say a thing.”
I guess when it’s you, Vin Diesel, and The Rock making the request, it’s tough to say no.
JS: It’s tough not to say anything, because it’s exciting stuff. I’m well excited. It’s one of the biggest franchises in the world and I’ve been asked to come on board. I’m not allowed to say what I’m going to be doing; people say, “Oh, you’re going to be the villain?” Well, who knows? I might be the villain… I might just be — I know what I’m going to be, but I’m not going to say.
It’d be really funny if you just weren’t in the next one, like it was a big tease.
JS: Ha! They’d be like, “Where the fuck is he?”
There was a little more emotion to your role in Redemption than some of your previous movies.
JS: Umm, you know, you just want to try new things, you want to push yourself a little bit, and there’s different flavors for different people. Some people will like certain movies better than others. I’m just on a good path and I’m enjoying every one, whether it’s something like [Redemption], something like The Expendables. They’re all different flavors. I’m in the action genre. That’s what I do. Some people make comedies.
You don’t want to make a romantic comedy?
JS: I don’t know if people want to see me in that, do they?
You wouldn’t try?
JS: People would just go, “Why’d you do that?” Unless it was good. I mean, who knows. It’s like saying — I don’t know what it’s like saying. Every time I try to liken it to something, it’s almost like putting someone else down, and I’m like, I shouldn’t say that, because someone’s going to take that out of context. It’s like trying to get Hugh Grant to be in The Expendables; it just wouldn’t work, because he’s so good at doing something else. His specialty and his strength is something that we could never do. But on the flip side of that, maybe he’s not suited to some of the roles that Sly would do, do you know what I mean? Everyone’s got their own thing going. It’s good to step out of the box, but don’t step out so far that you can’t get back in.
See, I was picturing you and Jennifer Aniston, maybe a meet-cute at a coffee shop.
JS: I would do that! I’ve done a movie where I haven’t swung a punch before… I’m trying to think, have I done a movie where I haven’t thrown a punch? Maybe not… Yeah — no… The Bank Job was the — no… Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, I didn’t throw a punch once in that. There you go, there is such a thing. There is such a world.
I was thinking as I watched the movie, obviously the stunts are choreographed, but you’ve gotta be good at fighting. It must be crazy to know that, literally anyone walking down the street, you could kill.
JS: [laughs] I don’t know about that. You learn a lot of skills over the years, and it’s all about making it believable — making the character believable and authentic. This is a guy who’s supposed to have skills, so it’s just making that believable. Authenticity is where it’s all at.
Did you suffer any injuries on this one?
JS: I fucked my shoulder. Just training every morning before filming. I’d go downstairs — I was staying at a hotel but they had a punching bag downstairs in the gym and I’d go down in the morning and just whack this fucking bag every day. And for some reason, maybe I wasn’t warmed up enough, but my left shoulder was slightly out of its place, for about six months. I said, my shoulder’s never going to heal. It was literally about six months after I finished the movie I saw this one doctor and he went, “Oh my god, how long has it been like that?” And he worked on this tendon, and lo and behold, put it back and now I’m as good as gold. But it was bad for six months.
What’s the worst injury you suffered while doing a movie?
JS: I’ve busted my ankle, I’ve shredded all the tendons on my ankle before, I’ve twisted my back numerous times, and busted my knuckles. You always get something. This left knee is no good. When the adrenaline is going, you forget the pain, and the next day you suffer.
So when do you get to work on Fast and Furious?
JS: I think it’s September. We start work in September, so I’m excited.
Are you doing anything in between?
JS: Yeah, I’m going to do Expendables 3, we start in August. I’m doing back-to-back ensembles. It should be a bit of fun, I’m looking forward to it.
Who would win in a fight, the Expendables team or the Fast and Furious team?
JS: You’ve got some big, big tough people in The Expendables. But you’ve got The Rock — Randy Couture is the toughest that we’ve got in The Expendables, just because he’s the real deal. But then you’ve got The Rock and Vin, they’re big chaps.
What does The Rock go by in real life? What do people call him?
JS: I think Dwayne. I’ve met him, he’s a lovely chap. He’s fucking huge. No wonder they cast him as Hercules. There ain’t no one as big as him around.
Who’s bigger, him or Vin Diesel?
JS: The Rock is fucking huge.