Frank Martin is back! The ex-Special Forces operative is used to risky assignments, but in Transporter 3, the special package he’s assigned to deliver has an unexpected personal interest which makes the job that much more dangerous and shows a side to Martin we haven’t seen before–vulnerability.
Jason Statham is back for the third time reprising his character and ComingSoon.net caught up with the star in Beverly Hills:
Q: How did you refine your character for the third film?
Jason Statham: I think on the third one we found his weakness. It all lies within this lovely female here (referring to Natalya Rudakova, who plays his love interest.) It’s about the creative aspects of how are we going to make this one a little more interesting? How do you make Frank Martin more vulnerable? At the same time you always have to try to exceed what you did in the previous two which is so difficult these days because there’s so much to live up to with what Luc [Besson] created with the character. There’s always challenges and hopefully we’ve made this one interesting enough.
Q: Were there more physical challenges in this one?
Statham: We actually learned a lot [about] what you have to get ready for physically. The fight sequences always pose a certain challenge. If you’re not physically sort of ready, if you don’t hit the gym and you’re not stretched out, you’re going to get injured very quickly. You learn that from making the first one that you have to be very efficient with your preparation. We try to give as much time as we can way, way before we start the first day of filming.
Q: Did your swimming experience help you in the under water scene?
Statham: Absolutely not, no. I used to do diving years ago. You have to hold your breath about two seconds. You dive in and you come straight to the surface. I actually learned to scuba dive for the first one with a good friend of Luc’s who’s the best person you can probably learn to scuba dive with. He’s a little bit unorthodoxed in his teaching techniques. I was thrust into a cave and the mask was ripped off, but you gain confidence very, very quickly and it was the best place to learn.
Q: What do you think it is about this character that makes people want to see more of him?
Statham: I think Frank Martin is like this guy who would always like to talk his way out of a situation. He has this good moral code. What he does is not necessarily of the right side of the law. He has a good judgment of what is really deep seated and correct and respectful. There’s also a great amount of respect for someone who can deal with these very intense situations that necessarily don’t go as planned and how do you get out of those situations with minimal damage. He’s not like this guy who waves a gun around and shoots people in the head unnecessarily. He’s trying to do the least amount of damage possible. He’s not looking for conflict. He just wants to have an easy life. At the same time, the way he protects that is to not get involved with people and live a very sort of quiet and lonely life. It’s most different to most of our and I think that’s why I think we find a bit of interest in that. Generally we’re much more social and much less inclined to deal with situations than someone like Frank Martin.
Q: In the first two films, Frank was very cold and now we see how a woman makes him vulnerable. Why do you think that is and can you relate?
Statham: Personally I’m not going to answer that. (laughing)
Q: Why do you think falling in love makes your character vulnerable?
Statham: It upsets the apple cart. If you live a certain way you’re protected. You have your rules. Once you integrate something that comes with an emotional bag than everything gets upset and you can’t function properly and that’s why these sort of military guys have a certain regime they like to stick to. They don’t have their wives at arms reach. They have this solitary existence and it’s a protective existence so when you have someone that you care about deeply it affects your mind set.
Q: Do you think having a love interest softens a character?
Statham: I think it makes him likable, more human.
Q: How are you similar to Frank Martin?
Statham: He’s much cooler than me. I’m a bit of a fool deep down. Luc is ultimately responsible for the creation of Frank Martin and for me being in Hollywood right now. If it wasn’t for “Transporter” I don’t think I’d be in this position. It’s the first movie I did where I played a leading part and certainly the first action movie I’ve ever done. It’s great to have such a huge opportunity to do something like that. It takes a lot of balls to gamble on somebody that doesn’t really have something to back that up. To answer the question of if I’m like Frank Martin, apart from I’m able to put on a black suit and I have the same hair cut probably not.
Q: Can you talk about the train sequence?
Statham: It’s an action sequence. A moving train is never easy to move around. Obviously there are things we have to shoot on a green screen – minimal amounts, but I think there’s a lot of the sequence that sometimes you’re not in because it’s all on Robert [Knepper]. We tried to be well prepared and that’s where Luc and Olivier [Megaton] get all these action sequences all ready. Everyone knows what they’re doing. It’s not like we’re coming in and trying to work things all. It’s all pre-planned and we have a rehearsal so we can shoot it very efficiently. A lot of the big action movies don’t actually get things done in an efficient way like we do it. They just cost 50 times more money and don’t get as good of a result like we get.