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Wishful Thinking? Jason Statham Would Like To Work With Christopher Nolan & Martin Scorsese

by Kevin Jagernauth
July 3, 2013 11:23 AM
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Let's face it, Jason Statham's catalog isn't exactly a deep well of varied, nuanced performances in films of varied subtext and substance. As he says quite candidly to This Is Lancashire, "I make a lot of films that don't have much depth to them - they're more like popcorn movies." Very true. But last week Statham showed a bit more actorly muscle in "Redemption" (our review), playing a ex-military solider, and emotionally damaged homeless man, and he's been greeted with good reviews for his work which required less punching than usual (though there still is punching). Could he be setting his sights higher for future gigs? Seems so.

"There's a ton of people I want to work with. [Martin] Scorsese, Chris Nolan, all these people who make good movies would fit the list. But things like that don't come my way," Statham said. Hardly a surprise, but should a name director take a shot on Statham for something other than this formidable action skills?

It certainly wouldn't be the first time an actor has been taken out of their pigeonhole or reintroduced to audiences, as Adam Sandler ("Punch Drunk Love"), Mickey Rourke ("The Wrestler") and Jean Claude Van Damme ("JCVD") have in recent years. And hell, all the way back in 1997, James Mangold found new notes hiding within Sylvester Stallone in "Cop Land." And let's not forget, it was David Fincher himself who recommended Statham for "Redemption" in the first place.

So, untapped talent or have we already seen all that Statham can give? Weigh in below.

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  • Dan B | July 4, 2013 8:01 AMReply

    If he wants to work with these great directors, he needs
    to prove himself and expand and show that he can do
    some serious acting.

  • LA2000 | July 3, 2013 9:50 PMReply

    If you just look at the numbers (which is exactly how such things are decided), Statham is a reliable but modest box office performer. His pull overseas isn't particularly compelling either. Strictly by the numbers, he is Steven Segal, minus "Under Siege." So, unless he just wants to settle for a cameo in a Scorsese or Nolan picture, his best bet is to first find a picture that helps him cross out of his current niche and into the mainstream. In short, he needs a mainstream +$100 million domestic grosser with generally positive notices in which he is one of the top two names on the marketing materials (the Tom Cruise/Risky Business model), or in which his smaller role is considered to be an exceptional highlight (the Melissa McCarthy Bridesmaids/Brad Pitt Thelma & Louise model). Rather than lust after a Nolan or Scorsese, he'd be smart to shadow the projects with breakout potential that get sent to someone who could cross into his niche. Someone like Mark Wahlberg. He'd also be smart to target a director like Clint Eastwood, someone with critical bona fides who generally specializes in the sort of male-centric, nuanced stories that Statham would need to expand the public's perception of his abilities.

    But to get in with Scorsese in a leading role, he needs to first demonstrate a truly compelling box office presence. As history has shown, if the Scorsese lead calls for an aging, muscled, brooding body guard, Scorsese would have no compunction with (mis)casting Dicaprio, who keeps the budget healthy and opens the picture, before he'd cut his director's fee and reduce the number of shooting days to hire someone more appropriate but with less box office clout.

    There's a reason Scorsese is best buds with Dicaprio, and it ain't about the art.

  • rodie | July 3, 2013 4:53 PMReply

    He'd have better luck name dropping Refn or Tarantino. Soderbergh probably would have worked with Statham. Too late for that though.

  • jingmei | July 7, 2013 8:25 AM

    Makes sense.

  • Smyth E. Alan | July 3, 2013 3:34 PMReply

    He was pretty solid in 'Hummingbird', which is one of my favorite films on the year thus far. There's no denying the Stath's got presence, even if his range might be limited (and even the role in this film wasn't too far a leap).

    Presence is more than you can say for many of the pithy leads thrust about in films today, though, and a top director would certainly be able to utilize this to maximum filmic advantage.

  • CrombyMouse | July 3, 2013 3:22 PMReply

    Jason has nice charisma and I think he's more versatile than he seems to be. He's 50 soon so he have to change something in his career choices.

  • oogle monster | July 3, 2013 3:19 PMReply

    Look no further than Matthew McConaghey. A few years ago, everyone thought he was a joke... and he would never get a role that wasn't a rom com lead. I can see Statham following in similar footsteps once he decides to take his career more seriously... the guy can't expect Nolan and co. to come to him until he proves himself beyond mindless action films!

  • gert | July 3, 2013 3:07 PMReply

    Anyone seen London ? Great performance, and possibly my fave Statham role.

  • Tom Rakehell | July 4, 2013 4:49 AM

    Yes! Thank you! Everyone is acting like Hummingbird is the first time he's ever even slightly tried a dramatic role, but he's VERY good in London, and in Revolver (whatever one may think of that film). He's already "proved himself beyond action films". It's just that nobody sees it when he does. He's in a difficult position. But I think he's very underrated as an actor.

  • Rick | July 3, 2013 2:42 PMReply

    The guy has screen presence. I could see Scorsese working with him

  • Raphael | July 3, 2013 2:38 PMReply

    I really like him IN Snatch and he doesn't punch anyone in the face there.

  • tristan eldritch | July 3, 2013 12:13 PMReply

    Honestly, I think he probably has the potential for serious work if given the opportunity, a little like Bruce Willis.

  • James | July 3, 2013 12:12 PMReply

    He should play one of the priests in Silence.

  • owdl114 | July 3, 2013 11:57 AMReply

    He's appeared (if ever so briefly) in a Michael Mann. So anything's possible especially when you consider the faces that have popped up in Christopher Nolan movies (Tom Conti, Tom Berenger, Eric Roberts, Anthony Michael Hall, Tom "Tiny" Lister, Jr. etc.)

  • qwerty | July 3, 2013 11:43 AMReply

    How is this really news? I'm pretty sure just about everyone would like to work with Nolan and Scorsese.

  • caro | July 3, 2013 3:20 PM


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