Jason Statham technically joined the Fast & Furious franchise two years ago, in the explosive post-credits scene of Furious 6. But Furious 7 gives him a grand entrance straight out of John Woo’s Hard Boiled: While the credits roll, Statham’s Deckard Shaw casually through two floors of a destroyed hospital. In the film that follows, Statham has fight scenes with both Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel, not to mention copious scenes of driving a car real fast.
EW caught up with Statham to talk about fighting gigantic humans and the current status of the Crank threequel.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did the Deckard Shaw character come together?
JASON STATHAM: It was sort of a work in progress. Do I want to be the scumbag villain who’s out to blow up the world and steal everybody’s cash? No. The Bond Villain wasn’t on the menu. I wanted it to be vengeful. It was much cooler, much more precise. And it’s a great parallel. He’s all about family? I’m all about family!
You usually play the good guy. Was it fun to play the villain?
It’s great to play the hero. You get all the good stuff. You’re in it all the way through. This is a bit of an easier ride. You turn up. You rustle feathers. You’re not in it for the whole duration. Easier workload.
You’ve got a couple huge hand-to-hand fight scenes in this movie. What was it like working with Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel on that stuff?
The Rock is the Rock, you know? He’s the ultimate athlete, the professional man with precision. And you want precision from a 270-pound living, walking brick wall. And he’s got adrenaline! He’s a monster. You want someone that can be precise, that ain’t gonna take your teeth out every time he misses. And he’s such a humble sort of chap, he doesn’t have an ego. Vin’s another great athlete, who’s a cool character. He loves what he does. He’s the centerforce for the success of this whole thing.
This is a big movie with a lot of huge stunt-action scenes. Was there anything you especially enjoyed filming?
I particularly loved shooting the opening sequence, because it was a single-camera, single-take sequence. It’s a very ambitious idea that James Wan came up with. I’ve never done that before. And it goes several f–king minutes. All these things have to come into synchronization. The frame has to be good. Everything has to work like clockwork.
This is the seventh Fast & Furious movie. I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you: Will there be a third Crank movie?
We’ve been talking for years about Crank 3. The first Crank, for me, was such a great experience. It’s a wacky few weeks that you have with such talented directors [Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor]. There’s no rules when you’re doing the Crank movies. We just keep going: “How are we going to get this off the ground?” They have a loose idea. They haven’t written the script.
I just did a movie with Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy, Spy, and the only reason I got that movie is because he loved Crank so much. So I’m very, very grateful to the chaps, for more reason than one. I’d love to do Part 3, put it that way.
You’ve worked on a lot of films like Crank, with smaller budgets. How does that compare to working on something as big as Furious 7?
You could put half of my career into this one budget. If you’re going on the budget of Crank—what was that, $10 million? So you could make twenty-five Crank movies for this one.