cinema Jason Statham talks about the joy of reprising his role as Lee Christmas in forthcoming ‘The Expendables 2’
In 2010, The Expendables , an ensemble film featuring past and present action stars, spread much cheer among fans. Directed by Sylvester Stallone, the film starred Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The film told the story of a gang of mercenaries getting rid of an evil dictator in the fictitious South American country of Vilena. The plot was incidental to the growls, grungy hues and flying bullets. The Expendables 2 releasing on August 24 is directed by Simon West ( Con Air, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider ).
Apart from Stallone, Willis, Statham, Li, Lundgren, Willis and Schwarzenegger reprising their roles, the film stars Chuck Norris, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Liam Hemsworth and Jean-Claude Van Damme.
In an email interview, Statham talks about his role.
What drew you to the film?
Well, it’s bigger, louder and they got everybody for this one. They literally have got everybody – if you like action movies they pulled every rabbit out of the hat, they’ve got the full line up and it’s a good one.
These people I’ve admired for decades, ever since the first Rocky I saw years ago. Each equal in their own right, they’ve got such a massive, great work. Just to be there (on set), it feels great.
What is the difference between Expendables 1 and 2?
The change in this one is that in the first Expendables , Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis just had a cameo. They just had (to be on set) for one day. Now they have a real part in the movie.
I think there’s a big difference there, because now it’s not just a couple of cameos but this is now a big movie with three of the greatest action heroes who have ever lived — Stallone, Arnold and Van Damme.
Can you share some memorable moments while shooting for Expendables 2?
The experience comes from just being around those people and listening to stories, just things that happen, talking on set. It’s not like a master class of action movie acting.
I don’t think anyone would give up those secrets anyway (laughs) if there was any (such class). Just to be around them is enough of an influence.”
How much has your character developed in the sequel?
We already establish what my character was and it’s easy to come back and do the same sort of person because the situation doesn’t change. You still have the same weaknesses, you still have the same strengths. It’s just putting yourself under a new set of circumstances and a new storyline but the same person. I’m still battling with should I get married, do I trust, that kind of stuff.”
How much did you have to train for the film?
Most of the hard work gets done before you go to whatever the country is you’re going to be filming in. Then you start training, but what you do while you are there is sort of maintenance.
What difference do you see between Lee Christmas and Frank Martin of the Transporter Films?
The Expendables seems to have a little bit more humour in it. I have to respect what Luc Besson did for me with the Transporter series. I do miss having those exceptionally well-crafted fight sequences.
Up next is Parker, which is an adaptation of Donald Westlake’s popular crime series. I’m lucky to work with somebody like Taylor Hackford, Jennifer Lopez and Nick Nolte. It’s a good cast.
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