Jason Statham knows he’s taking a bit of a risk with Redemption, the directorial debut of Eastern Promises and Dirty Pretty Things screenwriter Steven Knight in theaters and available On Demand June 28.
He stars as an ex-Special Forces soldier, Joey Jones, who drowns his guilt over a traumatic tour in Afghanistan with alcohol as a homeless veteran in London. When the young woman he shares a box with goes missing, Joey finds a reason to rehabilitate himself — to find her killer and avenge her death.There is some ass-kicking along the way as Joey’s skills are exploited by his new employer, but there’s also man tears. Lots of them, in fact, in the scene when Joey finally reveals why he’s hit the bottle. “You don’t know if people want to see you that way,” Statham says, with a laugh. “‘You’re not supposed to cry, you’re supposed to beat people up.’ Well, you can have all of that: You can have me beatin’ people up, and you can have me showing a sensitive side. [Joey’s] not a weak man. He’s been hurt. Most guys, tough or not, hide emotions. I know a lot of tough guys, they’re just as weak as the next man, but they don’t show it. It’s just how much are you prepared to show? I think we’re all in tune with pain and how vulnerable we are when certain things get to us, and it’s just are you prepared to give that up? I’m not gonna be doing it in every movie,” he adds, laughing again. “It worked for that one.”
Spoiler alert: Odds are he won’t be crying in Fast & Furious 7, though Statham won’t say anything about the film other than he will be in it (presumably as the brother of Luke Evans’ now-dead Owen Shaw). “I’m sworn to secrecy. You know what they’re like. Universal will kill me if I say anything. They really will,” he insists. “People think I’m gonna play the bad guy. People think I’m gonna be the villain. People don’t really know what’s comin’, and I think there’s something exciting about that. People are just dying to know what extent and what involvement I’m going to have in the movie. I think all good things come to those who wait.”
Statham says he’s always been a fan of the Fast franchise. “The execution of the action is just mind-blowing. There’s nothin’ better than that car stuff. I’ve never seen anything to compare to it. And Vin [Diesel] is terrific. Everybody in it is just terrific. They’re a great little crew. I know Tyrese. I know Paul Walker. I’ve met all of them, and they’re all really cool. I’m really excited to be involved with it… I’m just not gonna tell ya what I’m gonna do.”
Whether or not he gets to share screen time with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in Fast 7, Statham hopes to work with him soon. “He’s the real deal. He’s a real physical specimen. There’s no fake bulls— with him. I’d love to do something with him. It’s trying to find the right project to do with the people you want to work with,” he says. “I want to work with Will Ferrell. I want to do, like, an action-comedy with him. How do I get the project for that? It’s killing me. I’ve got all these great ideas, and the hardest thing is getting the material, the screenplay, you know.”
One script that did land in his lap: This fall’s Homefront, which Sylvester Stallone adapted from the Chuck Logan novel about a former DEA agent (Statham) who moves to a small town to live a quiet life with his daughter but ends up tangling with a meth kingpin (James Franco). “He wrote that for himself, and then decided that I was going to be in it. It was like being knighted,” Statham says. “‘Hang on, Sly. You wrote that for yourself, and now you’re giving it to me?’ That is a pinch-yourself moment. It’s the coolest thing to be asked by probably the greatest action hero in the world. It’s a great little thriller and really, really good fun. They get drawn into this dark world, and it just gets really, really messy.”