In his new film Safe, Statham displays a gentler side. He stars as Luke, a man who plunges into depression and destitution. After a period of homelessness and grief, he finds salvation in the peril of a kidnapped girl who seeks his help. Together the two flee the Russian mob, crocked police and Chinese thugs.
The International Business Times had the chance to ask Statham about bringing humility to his Safe performance and if he would ever star in a romantic comedy.
In Safe, you're not just an action hero but rather someone who's experienced real loss and grapples with homelessness. Did you talk to anyone who went through that to help bring more humanity to the character?
I'm not a whipper-snapper. I've met people that have gone through loss and you can understand how painful that is and I've seen a few homeless people in my time. Living in London for most of my life, I've rubbed shoulders with a few in the early hours. So I'm not completely naive to that world.
Would you be opposed to taking a role in a romantic comedy or an indie drama?
I'd love to do an interesting film in any of those genres. It's just what comes your way and usually the filmmaker is the drive and I'm not in pursuit of certain projects because things are coming my way that are interesting in a different way. People have to be able to visualize me in a role.
If people are interested in you playing a particular part and you like the part, the collaboration is immediate, whereas if you're going to pursue something that the director doesn't want you for, it becomes difficult. If I'm a director and I want to put a certain chap in there and you're banging on my door every night but I really want this other chap, it's going to create some difficulty. Although you might get the part, the director may have really wanted the other person. You can also campaign, you can go after roles.
Do you have an interesting projects on the way that may be considered a departure from the action/thriller genre?
I'm doing a movie at the moment called Hummingbird written by Steven Knight, who's a terrific writer. He wrote Eastern Promises and Dirty Pretty Things. He's a brilliant; he's written a really dark sort of dramatic film that I'm doing right now. So that's the biggest departure from the action movies I've ever had, so that will be around soon.