Jason Michael Statham (born 12 September 1972) is an English actor, known for his roles in the Guy Ritchie crime films Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; Revolver; and Snatch.
Statham also appeared in supporting roles in several American films, such as The Italian Job, as well as playing the lead role in The Transporter, Crank, The Bank Job, Death Race, and in War opposite martial arts star Jet Li.
Statham was born in Sydenham, south-east London. He was the second son of a lounge singer and dressmaker-turned-dancer.
He grew up initially following in his parents' footsteps to master the art of street theatre. He also played football for the local grammar school (1978-83), but his real passion was diving -- in particular, he finished 12th in the World Championships in 1992. He was also a member of Britain's National Diving Squad for twelve years.
Statham's life in media began when he was spotted by a talent agent specializing in athletes while training at London's Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.Afterwards, he became a model for the clothing brand French Connection where he was introduced to fledgling British director Guy Ritchie. Ritchie was working on a film project and needed to fill the role of a street-wise con artist. After learning about Statham's past, Ritchie cast him to play the role of "Bacon" in Ritchie's breakout 1998 hit, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
The movie was well received by both critics and audiences, which helped catapult the unknown actor into the public eye. Statham's second collaboration with Ritchie came in the 2000 film Snatch.Cast alongside popular actors Brad Pitt, Dennis Farina and Benicio del Toro, and with the movie earning more than $80 million in box-office revenues, Statham was able to break into Hollywood and appeared in two movies in 2001: Ghosts of Mars and The One.
Statham was offered more film roles, and in 2002 was cast as the lead role of driver Frank Martin in the action movie The Transporter, in which his background in martial arts enabled him to do most of his own stunts. A sequel, Transporter 2, followed in 2005. A third Transporter film was released in 2008, with Jason reprising his previous role again. He also appeared in supporting roles in The Italian Job (2003) (in which he played Handsome Rob) and Cellular (2004), and had a cameo in Collateral before taking the lead role in Crank (2006).
Statham compares his role in Crank to his real life in the September 2006 issue of Maxim Magazine In 2005, Statham was once again cast by Ritchie to star in his new project, Revolver, and also starred in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, which was released in the U.S. in 2008. His most recent releases were the action films Death Race and Transporter 3. Statham's upcoming releases include Crank: High Voltage.
Statham is currently developing a film written by David Peoples and Janet Peoples (Twelve Monkeys). Titled The Grabbers, the film (according to Statham) will be in the same vein as Humphrey Bogart’s classic The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Statham said “We’ve got a movie we’re trying to do, written by David Peoples and Janet Peoples, in the vein of an old film, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. It’s not a remake or anything, but it’s a little bit like that, about relationships and how greed contaminates the relationships these three people have. The working title is The Grabbers.