Jason Statham Won This Great Role Because Bruce Willis Was “Difficult” For $315 Million Action Franchise

Jason Statham Won This Great Role Because Bruce Willis Was “Difficult” For $315 Million Action Franchise

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Jason Statham

Writer Robert Mark Kamen has created such legends as The Karate Kid franchise and the Taken franchise. After collaborating with Luc Besson on The Fifth Element, the pair reteamed to give birth to The Transporter franchise and created Jason Statham – the action movie star. Kamen says that working with the “very difficult” movie star Bruce Willis on The Fifth Element is what made him and Besson try out the relatively unknown Jason Statham on The Transporter.

Bruce Willis trong một cảnh tĩnh của The Fifth Element (1997)

Before The Transporter, Statham had gotten his big break in Guy Ritchie‘s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, and reteamed with Vinnie Jones on the British soccer movie Mean Machine. His only real foray into Hollywood at that stage was a supporting role in the John Carpenter science fiction movie Ghosts of Mars. It was 2002’s The Transporter that turned Statham into the action star we know and love today.

Speaking to Uproxx about making The Fifth Element with Bruce Willis, Kamen said; “He was very difficult, and Luc [Besson] worked around it. But Luc wasn’t used to it. After he did that, he came to me and said, ‘We have to create our own movie stars.’ And that’s what we did with The Transporter. We created Jason.”

Bruce Willis in The Fifth Element

It’s seems as though Kamen has a knack for creating franchises that create action movie stars. Before 2008’s Taken, Liam Neeson was best-known for his Oscar-nominated role in Steven Spielberg‘s Schindler’s List, and having supporting roles in the Star Wars prequels and The Dark Knight trilogy. Neeson was primarily known as a dramatic actor, in the likes of Nell, Rob Roy, Michael Collins, Kinsey, and Martin Scorsese‘s Gangs of New York. Since Taken, Neeson has starred in over 20 action movies.

Speaking of Neeson, Kamen said; “He figured out that he’s a great actor, but he wanted to make money. This is a money machine for him. Liam picks up a gun, and they pay him a lot of money.”

For more action excitement, check out our guides to the best thriller movies and the best spy movies and the best detective movies.

Why Did Jason Statham Leave The Transporter Franchise?

Jason Statham carried the Transporter franchise for three films— The Transporter (2002), Transporter 2 (2005) and Transporter 3 (2008). However, EuropaCorp is currently moving forward with a reboot of the movies without their lead star. It turned out that The One actor and the studio both wanted to develop these stories further, but there were some specifics that the action star found to be off-putting.

Jason Statham

In an interview with Vulture, Statham opened up about why he decided against rejoining the franchise:

“It was obviously a great experience doing those films, and I would have loved to keep doing it. But they wanted me to sign on and do three more films without even seeing a script, and they offered me less money to do three than I’d get paid for one! So it was a business decision.”

Statham played Frank Martin in the Transporter trilogy (2002-2008) as a result of the box office success of these movies. He also experienced popularity as a member of the Fast & Furious franchise and the ensemble action series The Expendables.

He most recently appeared in Expend4bles, the fourth movie in The Expendables series, which came out almost a decade after The Expendables 3 (2014). He will next be seen in David Ayer’s upcoming action movie The Beekeeper. The cast also includes Josh Hutcherson, Bobby Naderi, Emmy Raver-Lampman, and Jeremy Irons.

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