Movie News

Jason Statham Is Donald Westlake's PARKER!

Published at: April 18, 2011, 7:56 a.m. CST

Nordling here.

I've not read any of the Parker books by Donald Westlake, but I have seen POINT BLANK (where Lee Marvin plays him and he's called Walker) and PAYBACK (Mel Gibson plays him as Porter), both based on Westlake's THE HUNTER, the first of the Parker books.  Parker is a thief seemingly without a code of ethics, but when you cross him you better make sure you've got your cemetery plot all picked out.

Now Jason Statham will be taking his turn at the character, according to Variety.  Taylor Hackford will direct PARKER, based on Westlake's books.  It's unclear if this is an overall adaptation of the character or if it's based on any particular Westlake novel, but since there's so many novels to choose from, this could easily be a franchise character for Statham.  John McLaughlin (BLACK SWAN) wrote the script.  Says Hackford, "What I like the most about this piece is you can take a genre piece like this and turn it into a great movie."

Like many of you, I'm a Statham fan.  I especially love THE BANK JOB, which I think is his best performance.  I think Parker is perfect for him, as long as he plays him like the son-of-a-bitch that Parker is.

Nordling, out.

 

Readers Talkback

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  • April 18, 2011, 7:59 a.m. CST

    FIRST!

    by dowjonesindustrialaverage

  • April 18, 2011, 8 a.m. CST

    Damn it...

    by Spudwick30

    dowjones, you beat me. LOL!

  • April 18, 2011, 8 a.m. CST

    apologies

    by dowjonesindustrialaverage

    i clearly have nothing of value to add to the discussion.

  • April 18, 2011, 8:03 a.m. CST

    spudwick

    by dowjonesindustrialaverage

    not gonna lie, ive been wanting to do that for years haha

  • April 18, 2011, 8:05 a.m. CST

    When I grow up I wanna be FIRST!

    by Sanyi

    Statham needs some memorable badass role. not just the Crank-movies.

  • April 18, 2011, 8:06 a.m. CST

    ...shooting holes in my suits. Man, that's just MEAN.

    by FlickaPoo

    Cool. Can't wait.

  • April 18, 2011, 8:06 a.m. CST

    Jason Statham

    by kwisatzhaderach

    has the acting talent of a brick.

  • April 18, 2011, 8:19 a.m. CST

    I don't care if the character's American

    by joliet_jake1978

    Please don't make him do another American accent, he sucks at them. Do directors/producers think the English can't be badasses???

  • April 18, 2011, 8:20 a.m. CST

    The PERFECT role for Statham! :)

    by TheGhostWhoLurks

    Parker, like The Transporter, is just a stoic force-of-nature, who's single-minded about whatever it is he puts his mind to doing, and not shy about putting people in the ground who stand in his way. It's a great book series that's been made into a couple of good movies already, and as Nordling said, there's a slew of novels that could easily be adapted to the big screen. The Outfit better stock up on Depends... :)

  • April 18, 2011, 8:24 a.m. CST

    Cor blimey stroike a loight an' no mistake guv'nah!

    by CaptainBass

    I thought Parker was noirish American? The Stath cannot do accents...well...not that I've ever heard him try. But his cock-er-nee is so broad I just can't imagine it. To paraphrase Lee Mack: "I'm so cockney it fuckin' 'urts mate!" He's gotta be Laahndaans answer to Shir Shean ShConnery...except a billion times shittier. I don't hate the guy but I don't think this is right for him.

  • April 18, 2011, 8:25 a.m. CST

    If Statham plays this role for the first

    by toshiro-solo

  • April 18, 2011, 8:26 a.m. CST

    If Statham plays this part for movie # 1

    by toshiro-solo

    Won't they need to use someone else for the rest?

  • April 18, 2011, 8:34 a.m. CST

    Is AICN the freezinguppingest site on the internet?

    by FlickaPoo

    It locks up more than any other place I go, that's for sure.

  • April 18, 2011, 8:35 a.m. CST

    Bank Job Was Surprisingly Excellent, Indeed

    by Crow3711

    I remember seeing in a basically empty theater and I couldn't figure out why more people weren't coming out to see it. Everyone loves a heist film, and that was a fucking good one.

  • April 18, 2011, 8:58 a.m. CST

    Does Statham actually act?

    by waxxel

    While I do like many of his movies, does he actually act? I mean, how far are any of these characters actually from him.

  • April 18, 2011, 9:01 a.m. CST

    Darwyn Cooke graphic novels

    by dave04

    If the movies turn out anything like Darwyn Cooke's Paker graphic novels "The Hunter" and "The Outfit" they should great. I highly recommed the books to anyone

  • "Do I look like I have cunt written on my forehead, m'lady?"

  • Jack Reacher is a BAD ASS. I've read 2 of Child's novels and I'm in the middle of the 3rd, and I can see these books in my head as movies as I'm reading them very clearly. <p> Looks like Paramount hired a screenwriter to adapt "One Shot" (The 9th Reacher novel of 15) for the big screen last year. Apparently the script is a knockout...but now it's languishing in greenlight hell. <p> Considering the first Reacher novel came out in 1997...seems like Hollywood is dragging their heels on a very bankable action/thriller character. <p> In Playboy's review of the one I'm reading now ("Persuader"), they said... "Think Die Hard. Without the smirk". <p> yep...that's about right.

  • April 18, 2011, 9:28 a.m. CST

    One of Mel Gibsons best performances

    by Turd Furgeson

    Payback worked so well because Mel was so damn good. Find myself watching it every single time it's on. Statham can nail this, he just needs to tone down his natural charm like Gibson did. If he does that, this will be awesome!

  • April 18, 2011, 9:28 a.m. CST

    Statham's a shit choice

    by buggerbugger

    ...for pretty much any role. Even that one role he plays - you know, that bloke who looks hard and mumbles gruffly a lot.

  • April 18, 2011, 9:33 a.m. CST

    I agree with The Bank Job

    by Mandolorian

    If he is given better material, he can act. He always plays the same role because that's what they want. I'd like to see him branch out more. Worthington is the one who can't act, regardless of what the material is.

  • April 18, 2011, 9:34 a.m. CST

    He'll make a great Parker

    by D.Vader

    Not as charismatic as Mel Gibson, I'd say, but definitely as bad ass, if not more so.

  • April 18, 2011, 9:37 a.m. CST

    Man, Point Blank is 12 Kinds of Awesome

    by Aquatarkusman

    It's cooler if you think of Lee Marvin as a white-haired cyborg whose sole directive is to GET HIS MONEY.

  • April 18, 2011, 9:38 a.m. CST

    Potential Franchise

    by sewiz

    I think I remember reading somewhere that the reason they changed the names in the adaptations of the "The Hunter" is because Westlake would only allow them to use Parker if they were going to do multiple adaptations...so if they call him Parker I think its a given they are wanting to franchise this....which is awesome. Parker is a kind of like James Bond in he doesn't seem to age - and since he more than once resorts to plastic surgery to help hide is ID, then getting multiple actors to take on the role would not be hard. Check out the director's cut of Payback (I believe the subtitled it Straight Up) for a more accurate portrayal of the character - who is a really a nasty guy. The only real redeemable quality in him is his competency (everyone can appreciate someone who is good at their job, right). This is very exciting - I've read a lot of the books, and they all entertain.

  • April 18, 2011, 9:39 a.m. CST

    This'll be great...

    by jasper Stillwell

    ...as long as they don't ask him to speak or look like he knows what he's doing. I love Darwyn Cooke's take on the character, though, very appropriately '1962'.

  • April 18, 2011, 9:46 a.m. CST

    As long as he doesn't attempt an accent, I'm fine with this

    by palimpsest

    As anyone who's seen THE ONE or GHOSTS OF MARS knows, The Stath doesn't do accents. Tho, as anyone who's seen THE BANK JOB knows, he can act under the right conditions. And Taylor Hackford's no slouch. At least The Stath plays this shit serious. Hopefully the upcoming BLITZ and the remake of THE KILLER ELITE won't be fuck-ups.

  • April 18, 2011, 10:03 a.m. CST

    Wait... he's actually going to be named "Parker"?

    by Chewtoy

    I didn't think Westlake allowed the name to be used in any adaptations, barring Darwyn Cooke's comic (hence "Porter" and "Walker", etc.)

  • April 18, 2011, 10:04 a.m. CST

    Has this guy EVER been in anything good

    by Nick

    All his films, are pure abortions...

  • April 18, 2011, 10:11 a.m. CST

    "Has this guy EVER been in anything good?"

    by Brian Hopper

    I once saw him shopping at the Beverly Center with an unbelievably hot supermodel type, so: yes.

  • April 18, 2011, 10:13 a.m. CST

    nope

    by Nick

    Rumor has it, it was she, who was in he. He's a kinky sonofabiatch...

  • April 18, 2011, 10:14 a.m. CST

    I've read almost all his books....

    by westie

    ...and it could be a good franchise if done well, and the books have plenty to offer if they really want to find out how to play the character right. "Women knew he was a bastard, knew he had hands made to slap them with, but they went to him anyway because they knew how he'd fall on them in the night. Like a tree."

  • April 18, 2011, 10:16 a.m. CST

    Even Snatch and Lock, Stock, natalieportmansyummyafterbirth?

    by D.Vader

    Urrrgh, try not to appear to be so trollish.

  • April 18, 2011, 10:19 a.m. CST

    Guy Richie = Style over Substance

    by Nick

  • April 18, 2011, 10:21 a.m. CST

    Sure, I'd agree with that

    by D.Vader

    But I wouldn't go as far as calling them cinematic abortions. That's waaaaaaaaaaay too far!

  • FUCK PEARS.

  • April 18, 2011, 10:45 a.m. CST

    To a more on-topic posting

    by darthderp

    Statham's got a great screen presence, and for much of the type of movies he does (namely the Crank and Transporter series) that's pretty much all he needs; the rest is memorizing his lines and busting a few moves...and heads. From what I've read of this, he does seem like a perfect fit for a ruthless antihero. Time will tell, I guess.

  • April 18, 2011, 11:11 a.m. CST

    I love the Parker novels

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Gritty, hard-boiled, a blessed lack of subplot bloat (most come in at under 200 pages, with short, clipped chapters)...it's losg past due for an actor to franchise these books. I know they'll never go for a period setting for the movies, but it'd be great to finally see an actor get more than one opportunity to play Parker (and have the character be CALLED Parker...I guess Westlake's recent death was the reason they can use Parker's actual name now) and build a franchise around him. The movies wouldn't even have to cost much...there's little in the way of elaborate stuntwork or major pyrotechnics in the books, which is what I like about them...Parker avoids conflict whenever possible, keeping his head down, only resorting to his gun or his fists when backed into a corner. Statham has charisma to burn and the right no-bullshit physicality for the role, so I'd love to see him take a crack at the character. I don't even mind Parker getting turned into a Limey.

  • April 18, 2011, 11:26 a.m. CST

    Jason Statham is Jason Statham in everything

    by thommcg

    You either like that or you don't. It's like sticking in a movie with Sean Connery in it - you know he'll have the same accent no matter who he's playing.

  • April 18, 2011, 11:26 a.m. CST

    Sometimes I want style over substance

    by slone13

    In fact, sometimes it's better that way

  • April 18, 2011, 11:28 a.m. CST

    Don't get the Statham hate

    by Beezbo

    If you're into action movies, why would you not like this guy? He's a better actor than Stallone, Arnie, Van Damme, Seagal, etc. The only action movie he made that I didn't really like was "War" because it didn't have much action. I'm not familiar with the Parker books (just the movies) - is there a better choice for the role?

  • April 18, 2011, 11:42 a.m. CST

    The Bank Job is definitely his best performance

    by lv_426

    After seeing that one, I've always thought that Statham could be doing more than the bread and butter action films he seems to have been sticking to over the past 4-5 years.

  • April 18, 2011, 11:47 a.m. CST

    lv_426 re: "bread and butter action films"

    by darthderp

    That's probably why he keeps making those films; with the condition he's in, it's probably an easy payday for him. Statham Gotta Eat and all that.

  • April 18, 2011, 11:51 a.m. CST

    Statham... a good actor?

    by Nick

    I just puked in my mouth a little bit...

  • April 18, 2011, 11:52 a.m. CST

    Uh...natalieportmansyummyafterbirth?

    by darthderp

    A username like that and Statham's acting ability makes you sick?!?

  • April 18, 2011, 12:04 p.m. CST

    Better a Parker than a Porter...those suitcases can get heavy

    by darthderp

  • April 18, 2011, 12:07 p.m. CST

    JASON: TIME FOR A NEW AGENT.

    by uberman

    Jason Stathom can act, but either his Ego or Agent is continually steering him into shirtless tough guy roles to the point where he is/has become a cliche. If I were he I'd go after some smaller character roles playing against type. His mano a mano macho dude stick is getting dangerously stereotyped and is sure to hurt his future acting prospects.

  • April 18, 2011, 12:09 p.m. CST

    Different type of role, yeah fine. But what?

    by darthderp

    I mean, can you really see him doing a rom-com? And I don't know how his dramatic skills are....

  • April 18, 2011, 12:29 p.m. CST

    This is going to HAVE to be a series of films...

    by The Dum Guy

    Westlake has a stipulation on the use of Parker as a character, unless it (Parker) is going to be a recurring character in a franchise, then they can't use the name Parker, e.g. why they went with Walker/Porter/other names in other adaptations. Peter Coyote played a version of Parker.

  • April 18, 2011, 12:39 p.m. CST

    Statham's not the right fit...

    by captaincosmos

    Sorry, but he's not. I'm no Statham hater, but he's no actor, and this part needs a tough sonofabitch, yes, but also one who can act. God, I wish Lee Marvin would come back from the grave and take this role back. And the person who mentioned the Darwyn Cooke graphic novels is 100% correct -- they are frickin' awesome. Right on the money. I'm in the middle of the 2nd one -- "The Outfit" right now, and loving it. If they want to do right by this property they should set it in the 60s and get someone with equal parts physical and acting abilities. Hell, I'd rather see Clive Owen do this role, based on "Shoot 'em Up." But yeah, Parker is absolutely an American, and Statham can't pull that off. Too late now, I guess. I'll just keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best. At least we've still got "Point Blank," right?

  • April 18, 2011, 1:10 p.m. CST

    Statham does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    Statham = the MOTHERFUCKING MAN! Yes, he's Statham in every movie. That's what he does. THAT'S ALL HE DOES. Who wants to see Statham branch out and do a rom com, or do a Tom Hanks like in PHILADELPHIA? No one. Let the Stath be Stath - and be thankful that we've got at least one 'Eighties style' action hero kicking ass today.

  • April 18, 2011, 1:11 p.m. CST

    Jason Statham IS Peter Parker!

    by Jaster

  • April 18, 2011, 1:21 p.m. CST

    If this project further delays a possible "Crank 3"

    by Dr Gregory House

    I'm against it.

  • April 18, 2011, 1:23 p.m. CST

    I'm worried about this "code of honor"

    by Vern

    Variety claims that Parker "lives by a code of honor that includes never stealing money from people who need it." That's not the character at all. Parker lives by a code alright, but it has nothing to do with honor, it just has to do with getting his job (stealing) done right. He's a great character, and not a great person. There are several movies I like based on Parker (POINT BLANK, PAYBACK, THE OUTFIT and THE SPLIT). But I'm glad none of them used the name because in all of them, even POINT BLANK, they give him emotions and personal attachments. That's just not what this character is about and it's what makes the books unique. Some day they gotta get that right.

  • April 18, 2011, 1:34 p.m. CST

    Jason Statham cliched roles

    by D o o d

    what more can I say. The hard man of hollywood can only do hard man roles. It's a bit like my plumber who can only plumb, or the cleaner that can only clean or the actor that can't act!

  • April 18, 2011, 2:15 p.m. CST

    captaincosmos

    by jasper Stillwell

    The Cooke graphic novels - fucking awesome aren't they? Not sure about Clive Owen though - it's a shame Fred Ward (or sonmeone like that) isn't a few years younger.

  • April 18, 2011, 2:19 p.m. CST

    Kevin Bacon anyone?

    by darthderp

    Yeah, yeah; forget that Six Degrees bullshit. He's played the heavy before - The River Wild comes to mind, but especially Sleepers. Guess it depends on how old this character is supposed to be.

  • April 18, 2011, 2:53 p.m. CST

    flickapoo, what browser are you using?

    by Sonny_Williams

    I was having major issues with AICN after the update. Found out that IE7 is pretty much a no-go for this place now, but couldn't update my work computer due to our shitty old servers. I've been using Safari now and haven't had any problems.

  • April 18, 2011, 2:54 p.m. CST

    Stripped to the waist, again?

    by Ciderman

    Once we don't have to be treated to Stathams 6 pack at every opportunity, that was really starting to piss this particular fat bastard off. Me, I've a 1 pack, more of a keg actually! But, Statham is an action man in need of a franchise, I really enjoyed the first and third Transporter movies, getting into the Ronin spirit of things plus some OTT action, the use of a CGI car was very very weak though.

  • April 18, 2011, 3:05 p.m. CST

    Statham IS always the same... so?

    by Sonny_Williams

    Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, John Wayne, Lee van Cleef, Slim Pickens... there's a shit-ton of actors who always play the same character. But when it's a cool character, especially of the badass variety, it can work out pretty well for all concerned. I'd never rank any of them up there with the very best actors who lose themselves in their roles and play a wide assortment of types, but you can still be an icon hitting that one note, if you do it well.

  • April 18, 2011, 4:04 p.m. CST

    by ScribeOz

    Statham has done an American accent in Cellular which wasn't bad...just jarring if you've seen his other films. And yes, he's done action films that didn't give him much range but he's also been in films like the Bank Job, the Itallian Job, any of the Guy Ritchie films which did require some acting from him. Furthermore, in the recent Gnomeo and Juliet, his Tybalt was the best thing about the damn film. I think given the opportunity, he can act and well. Oddly enough, even if he did do a rom com (shudder), there would be a significant portion of his audience who are women who will watch just about anything that he does because he's really one of the few 'real' men on screen these days.

  • April 18, 2011, 4:15 p.m. CST

    PARKER!!! WHERE ARE MY PICTURES, PARKERRRRRR?!

    by Triple_J_72

    Sorry, I just couldn't resist. ;-)

  • April 18, 2011, 5:28 p.m. CST

    Yeah, cool...whatever.

    by Grammaton Cleric

    This dude just needs to do Crank movies the rest of his life. No pair of movies are more kitchen sink awesome than the Crank, uh..duology. Can we take about the Crank: High Voltage score? 'Cause it fucking rules. Mike Patton really knocked that shit out of the park.

  • April 18, 2011, 6:49 p.m. CST

    Plenty more actors out there who play themselves in every movie

    by Michael Katz

    Sonny_williams has a point, and the list goes on and on. How many different characters have we seen DeNiro play? One. Even in comedies, he plays DeNiro. Jack Nicholson? Same. Pacino? Same. Some of us like Statham. He may not be a master thespian, but he does better than Seagal, Van Damme, Stallone (although I like a lot of Sly's movies, too). If you don't like an actor, don't watch his movies. But these guys are making money for some reason, so someone out there must like them. P.S. Parker doesn't need to act. Like Aquatarkusman said about Point Blank and Lee Marvin, the character is basically a cyborg--and that's what's cool about him. The books were awesome, the Lee Marvin movie was great, Mel Gibson's version was not even close to the character.

  • April 18, 2011, 7 p.m. CST

    I like Statham...

    by Baryonyx

    ...but he's not right for Parker. If Jon Hamm could act more badass he'd be great for the role.

  • April 18, 2011, 8:17 p.m. CST

    Statham needs a franchise character. Hopefully this is it.

    by IronEagle74

    And yes, I know he has "The Transporter," but aside from the first movie it's been a bad franchise.

  • It's true that DeNiro, Pacino, and even Nicholson have all, to some extent, become parodies of themselves and don't stretch their acting muscles anymore. But that's not true for their entire careers. I think all 3 of them have, to some extent, been coasting since the 80's. But are you trying to tell me that DeNiro gave the same performance in Mean Streets, The Godfather 2, Taxi Driver, Cape Fear, The Untouchables, Raging Bull, Awakenings, and Goodfellas? Or that Pacino gave the same performance in The Godfather 1, 2, and 3, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Insomnia, Heat, Donnie Brasco, and Scarface? Or did Nicholson give the same performances in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, The Last Detail, The Shining, Chinatown, Easy Rider, Batman, A Few Good Men, As Good As It Gets, Prizzi's Honor, The Crossing Guard, and Little Shop Of Horrors? You really should qualify your statement when you say something like that. They're the 3 best actors of their generation and they shouldn't be lumped in with Jason Stratham simply because they've coasted on their reputations in their 50's and 60's...

  • April 19, 2011, 9:26 a.m. CST

    Like Statham, but he's totally wrong.

    by Laserhead

    Parker doesn't do kung-fu, has hair, and is American. His badassery is more a result of balls, toughness, and a lack of hesitation rather than being able to high-kick a grenade in mid-flight.

  • April 19, 2011, 9:05 p.m. CST

    coughlins laws, I stick by my statement

    by Michael Katz

    I don't deny that DeNiro, Pacino, and Nicholson are all great actors, but I don't personally see much if any variation in the characters they played. Of course, I know that this is only my opinion, and do not contest your right to disagree with me. Nor do I think that you are wrong--when it comes to opinions, there is no right or wrong.