UPDATE December 31, 2014: We typed out the last part of the interview and added it to this post.
A big thanks to Shez Louise for sending us the article of a brand new Jason Statham interview featured in the “Healthy For Men” January/February 2015 issue. We typed out everything for you and will add a better quality scan to our gallery soon.
Jason & his dodgy brakes
As one of the pack of Hollywood hard men who like to do their own stunts, Jason Statham reveals how he builds his strength for action roles and what happened when a scene went wrong on the set of “The Expendables 3.”
Healthy For Men: How do you keep your body ready to play larger-than-life action heroes?
Jason Statham: I do action films, so my career is spent preparing for movies. I do a movie, I get a few weeks off, then I’m preparing for the next. It’s not like I’m on the sofa for six months, waiting for Sly to call me. I’m always in this mode of some kind of physical preparation.
HFM: Does that mean you knock out 100 press-ups?
JS: We don’t count press-ups; that’s not going to help us on camera. No one drops down and gets a round of applause for doing 50 press-ups. We’re trying to build usable strength and adapt some kind of skills. So we work out with a lot of the stuntmen, and we do a lot of fight training. Essentially, we’re doing a bunch of things that will help us on camera.
HFM: Do you have a set routine?
JS: I like to change my routine. I might be injured, or recovering, or at a time where I don’t need to be under pressure, or I am under extreme focus to get fit. So it changes. If it’s the same thing all the time, every month, every week, it’s boring. You have to swing up and swing down. And I like that, I like strict focus, and then I like to relax!
HFM: We hear you drove a truck off a dock and into the Black Sea – was that in the script?
JS: It was a mechanical failure of the brakes. You can never predict that. You don’t know when that’s going to come, if it ever comes, and it’s just one of those situations where you don’t know what’s happening. You keep stomping on the brake pedal and it just goes flat because it’s a hydraulic that just failed. The next thing you know, I’m busting over the edge, falling nine, 10 feet into the Black Sea.
HFM: Seriously, you just sank into the water inside the truck?
JS: Yes. Lots of tankers are close by and there’s a lot of diesel and it’s very, very murky and literally I’m sinking to the bottom at high speed. I am trapped behind the wheel with big gun belts and big boots, jeans and jackets [weighing him down], and I couldn’t even take a breath at the beginning.
HFM: The perfect scenario to test your stuntman skills for real then?
JS: I have scuba dived for years and I’ve also free dived with a Cuban world champion called Pipin Ferreras, who showed me how to compose myself and take big gasps of air.
HFM: Still, you must have pretty much dropped one?
JS: Being underwater and gasping for your life is the worst thing. Doing action films you accept that you can get hurt, and your shoulder or whatever will recover – you can break a leg and you can fix it. But if you run out of air and you are stuck underneath, that’s the end of that. There are no injuries that can compare to dying underwater.
HFM: But you must have had a few injuries along the way?
JS: If I get hurt, I have to recover. It’s as plain as that. And I’ve sustained a lot of injuries over the last few years, so I’m always working on trying to fix those. But there are no secrets. You have to mobilise your joints as much as you can.
HFM: Do you have any advice for our readers who may be dealing with injuries sustained in the gym?
JS: It’s easy for people to go to the gym and focus on doing pull-ups and getting heavy on the cleans and big deadlifts because you get the results. You get the strength and you get strong – quick. But you also have to remember that if you just keep doing that, your body will get tight, so you have also got to put yourself through the full range of motion. You’ve got to focus on really mobilising your hips, your back, and your shoulders, because they’re made to do a lot more than day-to-day living.
HFM: You’re 47 now, doesn’t that make it tough for you to continue doing your own stunts?
JS: Your body requires a positive state of mind, but things deteriorate so you have to do maintenance. You have to stretch, and you have to drink a lot of water and you have to eat and you have to put fuel in the car. The older you get, things slow down – the metabolism slows down, joints and tissues get more brittle – things don’t stay like they used to be. You have to be aware of that. But again, you don’t have to be like: ‘Oh my God, I’m getting old’.
HFM: Yeah, we bet you’ve never heard Sly Stallone calling for the Stannah stairlift!
JS: You see people that sit on the sofa that are the same age as Sly, and they can’t even get up and down stairs, because they don’t do what Sly does. He thinks he’s 25, and I think that state of mind is important as it doesn’t believe that deterioration is an issue.
HFM: The Expendables franchise is a bit of a surprise hit – why do you think it’s been so successful?
JS: I think it’s that people like to see recognisable faces. All these guys are an unusual combination to see on one screen. There’s not been any other franchise in the history of cinema that has put this many actors, who have this many franchised movies of their own, all together in one big story that makes sense and that isn’t just a joke. It’s like, how do you interweave all these great, fabulous icons into a story?
HFM: What’s it like working with The Terminator, Rambo, William Wallace, Ivan Drago and Blade?
JS: I’m working with Sly Stallone, Mel Gibson and Arnold Schwarzenegger. These are the biggest cinema icons that I grew up watching. So to work with them, you don’t get better company. These are the best of the best and you are now invited to the party.