Holding on to kick-butt roles
Jason Statham, the star of Mechanic: Resurrection, takes on baddies without breaking a sweat and says he won't be retiring from action films just yet
I was in a boat mere metres away from Jason Statham, bobbing in the deep blue ocean, and he was wielding a gun.
The 49-year-old English actor didn't look pleased. His unusually huge biceps were majorly straining against his sleeves.
Opposite him, an armed Sam Hazeldine looked ready to pull the trigger any second.
Just moments before this, I was told to keep a lordly silence. At this point, I suppose I should be really, really terrified.
But then the next cue came, and a deafening "Cut!" broke the silence.
Don't worry, I am safe.
So were the 40- or 50-odd cast and crew members on board luxury yacht SuRi, where all that dramatic action was taking place.
What might have sounded like a hostage situation was actually myself and two other journalists on the set of new action flick Mechanic: Resurrection when it was filmed on SuRi out at sea in Pattaya, Thailand. (This was back in December 2014, two years before the movie will finally be released here tomorrow.)
Shortly after that scene, our smaller boat approached SuRi, and we got on the massive US$50 million (S$68 million) yacht.
I would come to know later that we had been given a fleeting preview of the wham-bam climax at the end of the sequel to 2011's The Mechanic.
There was a jacuzzi - a spot where a baddie becomes toast - at the top deck. There were rooms below sea level that housed costumes.
In Mechanic: Resurrection, Statham reprises his role as hitman Arthur Bishop and is forced to help ruthless businessman and nemesis Crain (Hazeldine) carry out assassinations of his three enemies or risk the life of his girlfriend Gina (Jessica Alba).
LOOKING GOOD: Jessica Alba and Jason Statham at the premiere of Mechanic: Resurrection in Hollywood, California, earlier this month. PHOTO: AFP
The movie also stars Tommy Lee Jones.
Apart from Thailand, the film was reportedly also filmed in Bulgaria, Malaysia, Australia and Brazil.
When we later spoke to US actress Alba, 35, during lunch, she insisted on casually chatting first as she ate.
"I miss my kids, this is the longest I've ever been away from them," admitted the mum of two girls aged eight and five, while picking at her meal, which comprised giant prawns, pickled beetroot and meat on a salad.
Statham, after a bout of rest from his earlier scene, then bounded into the room for the interview.
On playing Arthur Bishop again...
Statham (jokingly): I get to mess around with Jessica this time. She is a lot better to look at than, who was the last guy? Ben Foster. Slightly better version, right?
On intense training and doing their own stunts...
Alba: He does everything. I do all of mine as well.
Statham: It is great that we get to do stuff and make it look believable. Even when we're not bashing people's heads.
Alba: We both train hard but it is not about doing 1,000 push-ups. You know what your body needs and strengthen what you have.
Statham: You get yourself to a spot where you are, at least for me now at my age, training to prevent injury.
On on-set injuries...
Alba: I hurt my thumb the other day. I was so annoyed.
Statham (jokingly): The whole movie shut down for two hours.
Alba: No it didn't! There was a gun, and it hit my hand because I put my thumb in the wrong place. It was a stupid mistake. I can't wince too much so, you know, I have to (be tough).
On Statham doing yet another action movie...
Statham: Oh you mean, why I am finally changing my direction? To this period drama (where) I am wearing tights and wigs?
Alba: No, you should not retire anytime soon. You're so good at it.
Statham: Well, I enjoy (action films). If you enjoy it, you do your best work. I used to train with lots of stuntmen who are good friends, and I wanted to be like them in my teens.
On saying goodbye to action flicks...
Statham: I am the youngest guy in a crew where everyone is 20 years older than I am and still running around. When you're in that sort of environment, retiring is not on the menu.