He has portrayed a vast number of sleaze-ball street thugs for Guy Ritchie. For French producer-director Luc Besson, Statham is the go-to guy for productions full of testosterone-laden one-liners.
His latest foray into paralleled art is The Bank Job. In the heist film, Statham plays Terry – a petty thief with a little bit of game on the streets of London.
When an old flame (Saffron Burrows) approaches with the opportunity to get out of debt and make a little cash, Terry joins her team.
Together, they collectively pull off the crime of the century – with a whole lot of action in the middle. Sound familiar? It should, because at first glance, that premise echoes the plot of The Italian Job (2003) – another film featuring Statham.
Some may find it shocking that an actor would appear in two such similar films whose names even sound the same. But not Statham.
“It really gets under my skin the way that they fucking do that,” he says, regarding the talk of his typecasting.
In fact, the Olympic athlete-turned-actor is quite aware of his film choices and makes them deliberately. For him, The Bank Job was a completely different project that delved into new themes that he had yet to explore onscreen. For starters, it was based on actual events.
“I’ve always been a big fan of true stories,” he admits.
Back in the 1970s, England was the home of one of the most notorious bank thefts in history. It was so controversial, in fact, that the government issued a D-notice (an order from the upper echelons of government) to keep the particulars of the event out of the media.
The Bank Job’s producer Charles Roven (who is also the mastermind behind Heath Ledger’s film The Dark Knight) wants moviegoers to put aside any pre-conceived notions and watch the movie with fresh eyes and no comparisons to other projects.
“I think that the core of the film is about the little guy getting even with authority or those sitting on top of him,” he says.
The Bank Job releases in theaters March 7.