He is one of the greatest action heroes. He is Jason Statham, or as some would say our last action hero. In order celebrate Statham’s 50th birthday, we’re revealing what makes this English bruiser tick with these 10 badass facts about him.
HIS FIRST CALLING WAS DIVING.
Jason Statham was one of the world’s top divers he became a big-screen tough guy. Statham spent 12 years as part of the British National Diving Squad, highlighted by competing in the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand.
Even though he was an excellent driver, he never qualified for the Olympics. Jason reveals that for him that is still a “sore point”. “I started too late,” he has said of his diving career. “It probably wasn’t my thing. I should have done a different sport.”
HE DANCED HALF-NAKED IN A COUPLE OF MUSIC VIDEOS.
Two ‘90s music videos went viral, in 2015. “Comin’ On” by The Shamen and “Run to the Sun” by Erasure. And because the songs were just that good was not the only reason. The two videos featured a half-naked. And guess who he was. Jason Statham, of course. He was dancing away in the background.
HE DABBLED IN MODELING.
Right after his diving career over, Jason entered the world of modelling for the fashion company French Connection. He was exactly what the company was going for.
“We chose Jason because we wanted our model to look like a normal guy,” Lilly Anderson, a spokesperson for French Connection, said in a 1995 interview with the Independent. “His look is just right for now—very masculine and not too male-modelly.”
JOHN CARPENTER WANTED HIM AS THE LEAD IN GHOSTS OF MARS.
Unfortunately, while Carpenter was sure that Statham was ready for the role, the producers weren’t. They pushed the director to cast someone with more name value. And eventually, they settled on Ice Cube. Statham played a smaller role as Sgt. Jericho Butler.
GUY RITCHIE CAST HIM BECAUSE HE WAS SELLING KNOCKOFF JEWELRY AND PERFUME ON THE STREET.
One of Jason’s jobs was selling knock-off perfume and jewellery on London street corners. Fortunately, that type of real-world hoodlum was exactly what director Guy Ritchie needed for 1998’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
JASON DOES HIS OWN STUNTS.
“I’m inspired by the people who could do their own work,” Statham shared. “Bruce Lee never had stunt doubles and fight doubles, or Jackie Chan or Jet Li. I’ve been in action movies where there is a face replacement and I’m fighting with a double, and it’s embarrassing.”
The worst offenders? Superhero movies.
“You slip on a cape and you put on the tights and you become a superhero? They’re not doing anything! They’re just sitting in their trailer. It’s absolute, 100 percent created by stunt doubles and green screen. How can I get excited about that?”