When it comes to playing on-screen badasses, few Hollywood actors can compete with Jason Statham. Whether playing a hero or a villain, in a comedy or drama, the one thing you can always be sure of about Statham’s character is that he will be a supremely confident macho male, used to getting his own way, bordering on arrogant.
In a recent interview with Elle, Statham’s wife, actress, and model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley revealed that the actor’s onscreen persona had caused her to expect him to behave in a certain way in person, and she was pleasantly surprised to find a much more grounded man in real life when the two first met.
“The fact that you just brought that up made me remember the first evening I ever met [Jason] and spent time with him. I remember calling my friend the next day and just being like, ‘Wow, he’s so unexpectedly not who I thought he’d be. He’s so grounded and humble, he’s really fun and charismatic and energetic.’ Those were all things I just wasn’t expecting about him and what drew me to him.”
Imagining Statham as a “fun” person would have been difficult for fans to envision when the actor first broke out with his Transporter series of action films. But later in his career, with movies like Expendables, Spy, and Hobbs and Shaw, Statham has shown an unexpectedly brilliant comedic side, willing to poke fun at his own alpha male persona to get a laugh.
Statham’s grounded approach to fame and fortune can be attributed to his life before Hollywood came knocking. The actor had previously worked a series of odd jobs and strange career choices, from being a competitive diver to selling stolen jewelry. According to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, coming up in life the hard way has made Statham appreciate what he has now.
“He knows the value of a pound. And he understands what hard work gets you… He didn’t act until he was well into his thirties, so he had this big chunk of life where he was a painter and decorator and he was on the door of clubs and he was on the market stall, trading… So he’s got that real groundedness and I love the fact he will pass that on to our child as well.”
The colorful life that Statham had led prior to Hollywood gives the actor’s performances a sense of realism that few other action stars can mimic. He will next be seen in Wrath of Man, where he will play the role of a cash truck security guard who pulls his own con in the middle of a heist to settle an old score.
Directed and co-written by Guy Ritchie, Wrath of Man stars Jason Statham, Holt McCallany, Jeffrey Donovan, Josh Hartnett, Laz Alonzo, Raúl Castillo, Deobia Oparei, Eddie Marsan, and Scott Eastwood. It opens in theaters on May 7. This news was first reported in Elle magazine.