A huge thank you goes out to Claudia Murillo and Elena María Cobano Parrilla for translating the interview for us. Enjoy the high-quality scans and happy reading.
Page 14: 206. Statham. The action movie actor par excellence returns to add adrenaline to Fast and Furious 8.
Page 206: The British actor Jason Statham, the living definition of action, takes part in a new take for the most famous shocking street races saga, Fast and Furious. And for Esquire, there was no better way to celebrate the eighth part than with a chat with him.
Page 207: Jason’s suit and T-shirt by John Smedley.
Page 208: JASON STATHAM. We believe that we know what it means to be an action man. The truth is that Jason breaks with every definition of this and no, obviously it´s not the one we see in the dictionary; with him, it´s just what we see on the screen. The actor chats with us about his two big passions, films and the scenes that take him to the maximum level of adrenaline. In this new chapter of the Fast and Furious saga, the actor comes back with his role of Deckard Shaw to show us that neither the bars of steel nor the same The Rock can go against him.
ESQUIRE: Have you ever been in races in other films in the past? How has your adventure been being a Shaw brother in the saga?
JASON STATHAM: It is grand to be a part of this franchise, there are many personalities, and people start to get involved and have a relationship and they get to know you when they see you in public. And also the people can see what I represent. I even respect what the people interpret. This group of personalities makes me very proud. Being a part of international world movies, action movies, there is nothing better than to be a part of the Fast and Furios movies.
ESQ: What´s the first thing you thought about resuming the role of Deckard Shaw for this eighth film?
JS: It´s a process of labor development, his ideas go to the right direction, with concepts, action sequences, it´s a working process and it´s incredible to be included in it. In the creative moment, talking about my character, sure, because in the last film we were sure that he was locked in a high security prison, so obviously it´s very exciting to present how he´s going to escape, is he going to reach it or not and what he does when he goes out from there.
ESQ: We know that before you became an actor, you would want to be a stunt man and now you take it to another level, being able to be the frontman and even so, doing the most dangerous scenes, what do you feel you can do both of them now?
JS: I’ve always been impressed with what it’s like to be a stunt man, what they do is trying to be heroes in a way and I don´t think they get the credit they deserve. They are, really, responsible for the greatest scenes. They are heroes! I´ve always been impressed by that. I think that I´ve physical aspects in my life like being an athlete for a lot of years, always training so much, fantasizing that I get this opportunity, if I´d be prepared to do it, and it happened years later, and I always try to show the best part of the role. I have the chance to do my own stunts; doing all of this in front of the camera is incredible.
ESQ: Have you been afraid of doing them?
JS: Well, I wouldn´t do things that I think aren´t necessary to express the feeling of the character. The fighting sequences are very important to me, every element and every aspect. To be inside a car that crashes against another one is very risky, and there isn´t any profit for being there; that kind of scenes we let the professional people do, all that involves pyrotechnics, explosions and unpredictable things.
ESQ: To be part of a saga means working wit the same group of people with whom you generate a certain attachment. How has your relationship with the cast of Fast and Furious been?
JS: When cameras are filming it’s something very different to when they stop. The last one I did fighting with The Rock generated many conflicts with my character, because he´s a guy that doesn´t want to mess with him. And I think that this is great for the audience to look for in a drama. You know, when cameras stop filming everyone has a great attitude and everybody sees themselves for being there, because is a privilege to do films with a group like this one. I´ve also worked with many creative people in this new film and it´s been a great adventure indeed.
ESQ: And how was it to work with the directive vision of F. Gary Gray?
JS: I worked with him a long time ago. It´s funny that the last film we did together was one where I was a driver (smiles). It’s a lot of coincidence that the main core of this one is also from cars, so to work with him was great, he enjoys his work and it´s always good to work with people like that.
ESQ: Is there any lesson left to you by Deckard’s character?
JS: You know, lessons in life come from your mistakes and I think that those instructions are the best ones. We cannot feel that in films because it’s a fantasy world but I think messages that people get from the movies are created by the talent of all who participate in it. You learn something every day, it´s always a different experience by the thousand points of views of the actors, writers´ ideas and the director´s interpretations.
ESQ: What motivates you to continue within this genre of films?
JS: To take the chance to do this, that you can never miss an opportunity like this because hey, not many people have these kind of opportunities in life! So I want to do them again and again and I really enjoy them. I think it is that, doing what impassions you invites you to do it even better, that´s why I do it. I´ve always been a fan of action films and doing them is a direct thread with what I love.
Page 209: Jacket by Tom Ford.
Page 210: Polo shirt and pair of trousers by Tom Ford.
Page 211: ESQ: As a part of one of the biggest cinema sagas, which do you think is the factor that’s kept this saga as one of the most blockbuster films?
JS: It´s hard to put it simple on the table but I think is by having a lot of branches because people relate to the characters and can have a couple of hours to escape and really be entertained, in a way that the saga does like none, with the best stunts, family issues, love dramas, troubles that go ahead despite the obstacles, there´s a lot of evil, there´s a lot of all that entertains people and that´s what they´re looking for, a good moment, and being related and they do it with all those aspects.
ESQ: What do you consider to be the best collaboration you have ever done?
JS: To answer this it makes me think of my career´s beginning, a very significant moment because I wasn´t an actor, but I made a good decision. A director named Guy Ritchie called me to do films together. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, the ones which gave me a plattform, an entrance as a Hollywood actor. Without that chance, I think that I´d go on working in any corner of the street.
ESQ: What was the most significant moment during the Fast 8 filming?
JS: I always like filming with The Rock, Dwayne Johnson is a great character to share an action scene, he´s a beast, he´s very fit, he´s a great athlete and a professional ex-fighter. You only have to see him to notice what he´s able to do, so having the opportunity to do scenes together – we disturb each other all the time – is incredible.
ESQ: What responsibilities come being an action star?
JS: Well, I don´t like to label people. I don´t see myself as someone different from the one I was 25 years ago, obviously I have a different job but I´m still the same person. I have a highly evolved vision of what I see as work but you know at the end of the day your work isn´t what defines you, it is something you do and doing something that you like is magnificent, I think that it doesn´t exist a responsibility of being a action star… maybe be on time for the scenes and trying to do it the best you can (smiles). While people see your film, I think that is fine with that.
Page 212: “A character that I´m never going to forget? Performing Frank Martin in The Transporter saga. It was something very significant. It was the first time that I got involved completely in an action role.”
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