Stuart Griffiths, a former soldier who knows about life on the streets from own experience, revealed in an interview with Sunday Express how Jason Statham sought him out for advice on his role as Joseph “Joey” Jones, a member of the Special Boat Service who goes AWOL after a bad experience in Afghanistan, in the upcoming Steven Knight-directed thriller “Redemption.”
“They [producers] tracked me down and sent me an email, saying that Jason would be starring in a new movie as a homeless soldier and asking me if I would visit them at their London studios,” Stuart said, a former combat photographer and now a successful photographer renowned for his work in portraying homeless veterans.
“When I arrived, Jason was there.
“I was a little awed, but he was calm and cool, as you’d expect, and really keen to learn what it had been like for me when I was struggling to survive.
“He was kind, honest and genuinely interested. Most of all, he had a lot of empathy. He admitted he’d never been in the forces and this was an alien world to him, but he really wanted to get into the skin of his character.”
Stuart talked about some of his most agonizing experiences, telling Statham how to find food and safety in London.
“I spent two months on the streets of London before I was, luckily, able to get my act together,” he said.
“I told him how branches of Pret a Manger would give away left over food at the end of an evening, and you worked out the best place to be. I explained how it felt to be lonely in one of the most crowded cities in the world and how to avoid unnecessary trouble.
“The hardest part for me was to not fall in the alcoholism and drug use trap. I knew that if I’d let myself get involved with that, I would have ended up spending years on the streets.”