British actor Chris Vance (Prison Break, Burn Notice) has been cast as the lead in the TV version of the Transporter action movie franchise, EW can report exclusively. Vance will play expert driver and “professional transporter” Frank Martin — the role which was originated on the big screen by his fellow Brit, Jason Statham. The show is being executive produced by Luc Besson, who co-wrote all three of the Transporter movies. The first season will be shot this summer in Canada and Europe and then be broadcast on Cinemax next year. “It’s high octance,” Vance told EW, when asked to give a flavor of what viewers can expect. “Fast-paced. Action-packed. Car chases. Stunts. Fights, Beautiful girls. Villains. Heroes. Guns. It should be a lot of fun.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Has Jason Statham called to wish you good luck?
CHRIS VANCE: Not yet. I’m sure I’ll cross paths with Jason down the line and we’ll have a good old chat about it then.
Were they always looking for a Brit to fill his shoes?
I don’t know that they were looking for a Brit. But the character is British, so they were looking for someone that could make that believable.
Your Prison Break costar Robert Knepper was in Transporter 3. Did you ask him to give the producers a reference?
[Laughs] I didn’t actually, no. Although I did enjoy Robert’s performance. I thought he was hilarious.
Are you having to do a lot of martial arts training?
I’m doing a bit. I’m on a fitness program at the moment. It’s more stamina work than anything, because we will be shooting for five months and that’s a long time to sustain all the physical activites that we’ve got on the show. The stunt guys that worked on the movies are coordinating all the stunts and the action sequences and everything for the series. They’re all very experienced. I’ll be working with them and whatever I can do, I’ll do.
What kind of driver are you in real life?
[Laughs] Like everybody else in the world: fantastic.
What was the last thing you transported?
Probably my dog to the vet. It went well. We made it back.
A lot of people will know you from Burn Notice. Could you tell me one Bruce Campbell story?
Bruce Campbell! [Laughs] At Comic-Con last year, Bruce basically paid the audience to like him. Every time some one was very complimentary about him he handed them a couple of dollars. It was fantastic. A great strategy on his part.
Will you be adopting it?
I think that just works for Bruce.