Jason Statham in 'Parker' with Jennifer Lopez
Given the gallery of frequently law-unabiding rogues Jason Statham has portrayed in films like Crank and The Mechanic, it is no surprise he warmed to the titular part of a thief in the forthcoming crime thriller Parker. “He’s a man who lives by a certain moral code,” says the Expendables star. “He’s involved in criminal activities but he perceives all business to be in some way crooked. He never steals from people he feels can’t afford it and he doesn’t hurt people that don’t deserve it. So there’s a likeable quality,” he laughs, “to this anti-hero.”
Parker first appeared in the 1962 novel The Hunter, the first of more than 20 books to feature the career criminal written by prolific author Donald E. Westlake under the pen name Richard Stark. The character has previously broken any number of laws in a clutch of movies including 1967’s Point Blank and 1999’s Payback, but always after a name change (in Point Blank, Lee Marvin played “Walker” while, for the Mel Gibson-starring Payback, the character went by the name “Porter”). Parker director Taylor Hackford (Ray, Against All Odds) and screenwriter John J. McLaughlin (Black Swan) have, of course, very much rectified that situation, even naming this adaptation of Westlake’s 2001 novel Flashfire in honor of Westlake’s original creation.
Parker will be released on Jan. 25 when fans of “the Stath” will get to see him in action alongside Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte, Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce, Patti LuPone and… a whacking great Stetson. ‘“Parker adopts a couple of misleading disguises and that’s why you see me in a Stetson,” explains Statham, who is currently filming the Sylvester Stallone-written Homefront. “They got me [dressed up] as a priest as well. I’m full of surprises in this film.”
You can check out exclusive photographs from Parker below.