Statham took 30 seconds to agree to star in Guy Ritchie's Wrath Of Man
He says this movie veers away from Guy Ritchie's signature crime capers
When it came to working with Guy Ritchie again on the big screen, Jason Statham did not waste any time saying yes.
In fact, he took "about 30 seconds" to be convinced over the phone, as part of the British director's two-minute pitch.
It had been about 15 years since their last collaboration Revolver, which came after Ritchie first cast the British action star in Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000).
The pair reunite on the new action thriller Wrath Of Man, which is currently showing in cinemas here.
Statham, 53, plays H, a mysterious loner who takes up a job at a security company. Its armoured vehicles transporting valuables have recently been the target of deadly armed robberies.
With the attacks continuing, it soon transpires H is not after a steady pay cheque but rather a skilled marksman seeking revenge for a personal tragedy.
He said in a Zoom interview with international media from Los Angeles: "I really liked the premise, and I knew this would be a departure from the typical comedic stuff Guy does, but (would still be) brimming with style. It spans two genres - heist movies and revenge movies - and I have a personal affection for this type of movie.
"(Wrath Of Man) is thrilling, with edge-of-your-seat tension and a great payoff."
He added: "Guy gave me a career 23 years ago. He is a really confident film-maker, he is an auteur, he writes and he creates, he captures it on film, he edits. He is a one-man show, and that is what sets him apart (from other directors)."
Statham, who has a four-year-old son with British model-fiancee Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, was also appreciative that their latest joint project departs from Ritchie's signature crime capers that helped define the genre.
He said: "It is good to have a different movie as part of our journey as actor and film-maker working together. I was very fond of the ensemble pieces I did with him. There were so many characters in Lock, Stock and so many memorable ones in Snatch, but these are things I would never want to repeat because they were significant 20 years ago."
And just when you think Statham has done every action stunt and sequence imaginable over his two-decade Hollywood career, he admitted there is still one thing he has yet to conquer - jumping out of an aeroplane.
He said: "That seems to be on my list of things to do before I retire. I used to be a high diver for many years, so heights don't bother me.
"I just would love to feel the thrill of flying. I am impressed by those very brave men and women who do close proximity flying in their wingsuits - they base jump from a very high mountain, and just skim its surface. I cannot imagine anything as thrilling as that.
"That to me is the epitome of adrenaline."