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.
Following 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.