Jason Statham in Talks to Star in PARKER for Director Taylor Hackford

by     Posted 3 years, 182 days ago

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Jason Statham, the man with the finest British growl in the business, is in talks to star in the new thriller Parker. Adapted from a popular series of novels by Donald E. Westlake (writing under the pseudonym Richard Stark), the film will cast the Crank star as an honorable thief (would Statham ever play any other kind of thief?). The character has inspired several solid cinematic outings before, so the source material definitely has a successful pedigree. The film will be directed by journeyman filmmaker Taylor Hackford for the production company trifecta of Sierra/Affinity, Incentive Filmed Entertainment and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment.

Hit the jump for more juicy details on this impending action flick.

parker-book-cover-01Following the unfortunate box office disappointment for the surprisingly entertaining action outing The Mechanic, Variety reports today that Jason Statham is in talks to star in Parker as his next cinematic ode to bullets and explosions. The title character is taken from Donald Weslake’s popular series of novels stretch all the way from the 60s to the 2000s. The first Parker outing The Hunter was previously adapted into both John Boorman’s 1967 crime classic Point Blank and the underrated gritty Mel Gibson outing Payback. However, both movies were fairly loose adaptations of the novel that didn’t even retain the character’s name. This new production seems to be the first attempt to lift the character to the big screen in full force, though the adaptation seems to be a compilation of Parker’s greatest hits rather than being based on a specific book.

The concept is barebones crime fiction focusing on a professional thief with a strong code of ethics that prevents him from ever stealing from people in need. However, when pushed against the wall, he has no problem resorting to violence. It sounds like the type of hard boiled criminal protagonist tailor made for Statham’s grizzled voice and chiseled ass-kicking exterior. While it would be nice to see Statham returning to the frankly batshit insane (in the best possible sense) Crank series, it sounds like the underwhelming box office receipts may have put that franchise to rest, Still, Statham is one of the few genuine old school action stars to emerge in the last decade of CGI superhero movies and his presence behind a cool car with an attractive lady and an itchy trigger finger is always welcome on the big screen. Hopefully he latches on to this project.

The script was written by John J. McLaughlin whose most recent credit was on Black Swan and directing duties will be handled by Taylor Hackford. As a filmmaker, Hackford has enjoyed a long career on projects varying from his Oscar-nominated work on Ray to his not-so-nominated work on The Devil’s Advocate. He’s definitely an efficient filmmaker who doesn’t like to repeat himself and will probably try to invest a little more than just explosions into the movie. He told Variety, “I don’t want to get stuck in a genre. What I like the most about this piece of material is that you can take a genre piece like this and turn it into a great movie.” Certainly John Boorman managed to take the character of Parker and use it as a springboard for an esoteric experiment in narrative deconstruction and expressive editing, so elevating this material has been done before. Whether or not Hackford can do the same remains to be seen and it’s probably dependent on if he can land a bankable lead like Statham. If all the pieces fall into place, this could be an interesting little genre flick. For now, cautious optimism surrounds the project. We’ll see who ends up in that lead role before reaching even minor levels of excitement.




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  • Wayne

    I assume “Parker” is the working title? From what I understand, while Westlake grants license for film adaptations, he never allows the character to actually be called Parker as he is in the books. IE, Gibson’s character in Payback being called Porter.

  • Moses Ashford

    It would be good to include Wesley Snipes in The Expendables 2 to fight Jason Statham and they can finally give us the fight that they unfairly denied us in Chaos (2005).

  • penispie

    Wow sounds like a completly different role for Jason Stratham! Who would have thought. Is it just me or is this dude the same in every stinking movie he goes in!
    I like the guy he’s a cool actor but for fucksake do something different for a change!

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  • RG

    I hate to be that guy, but you clearly don’t know anything about the Parker character, though you’ve written as if you do.

    I checked this article just to see if there would finally be a movie that would get this material right, but apparently there won’t. I’m not shitting my pants over it, I just won’t go see it. I just wanted to point out some errors in your article for those visitors who might get a false impression of the original work.

    “The concept is barebones crime fiction focusing on a professional thief with a strong code of ethics that prevents him from ever stealing from people in need. ”

    Well let’s reference the Darwyn Cooke graphic novel that you used as the image for this story. Off the top of my head, Parker steals from a stranger, beats his ex-wife, encourages her to commit suicide and then desecrates her corpse, and then assaults and kills an innocent woman who is a complete stranger. And that’s just the first half of the book.

    “However, both movies were fairly loose adaptations of the novel that didn’t even retain the character’s name. This new production seems to be the first attempt to lift the character to the big screen in full force, though the adaptation seems to be a compilation of Parker’s greatest hits rather than being based on a specific book.”

    There’s a reason the other movies didn’t use the name Parker. Because Westlake wouldn’t allow it. He has allowed it only once, for the Cooke graphic novel. If I had to guess why, it’s because other versions feature a neutered version of his character, complete with a “strong code of ethics” that turns him into a grumpy good guy instead of an intriguing villain. Payback was decent, but chickened out and settled for making “Porter” a grumpy good guy with a growly voice.

    And if I was to continue guessing, I’d say that this movie will not be titled “Parker”, for the same reason. It sounds like a dumbed-down generic action movie, modified from the original source material into a vehicle for Statham, so the studio can scratch the itch of that particular demographic, get their $30 million box office, and move on to the next one.

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  • norm

    Jason Statham as Parker is a horrible, horrible idea.

    Jon Hamm is the obvious choice.

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