Why Isn't Jason Statham In 'The Transporter: Refueled'? The Franchise Lives On Without Its Original Star
Jason Statham spent this summer running the box office with Furious 7 , so he definitely hasn't hung up his action star uniform. But you've probably noticed that he's not the man incapacitating gangsters and hot-tubbing with half-naked women in the trailer for The Transporter: Refueled, opening in theaters Friday. After playing the most badass courier in existence for three Transporter movies, Statham is not Frank Martin in the new film. This one stars former Game Of Thrones actor Ed Skrein, who was himself recast in that show with Michiel Huisman. Skein plays a younger version of Martin in this prequel. So, was the original actor simply too old to play the part? Why isn't Jason Statham in The Transporter: Refueled ?
Age has nothing to do with the recasting of Frank Martin. Statham was approached to take part in the film, and told Vulture why he decided to pass on reprising the role:
It was obviously a great experience doing those films, and I would have loved to keep doing it. But they wanted me to sign on and do three more films without even seeing a script, and they offered me less money to do three than I'd get paid for one! So it was a business decision. I would have loved to have done it, but you can't really sign on without doing a script, and to sign on for three of them? And to get paid a pittance? I just couldn't see the value in that.
Statham's presense is a major part of the first three Transporter films, so it's strange that he wouldn't even be offered a script before committing. The actor recognized a bad deal when he saw it, thus made the call to cut ties. He's not the first action star to vacate a successful franchise, either — these actors, below, also let the show go on without them.
Matt Damon & The Bourne Legacy
After three movies as amnesiac super soldier Jason Bourne, unlikely action hero Matt Damon stepped aside and made way for Jeremy Renner to take the lead. He addressed his decision in a GQ cover story, citing a feeling of stagnancy: "We really got everything out of it that we could." That feeling must have passed, since Variety reported last year Damon is making a return to the franchise for lucky film #5.
Michael Keaton & Batman Forever
In another casting choice that wasn't exactly obvious, Michael Keaton defined Bruce Wayne for a whole generation in Batman and Batman Returns. Who knows how long he would have held onto that role if the studio hadn't dropped director Tim Burton in favor of Joel Schumacher. "It sucked!" Keaton told CBS Sunday Morning last year of the Batman Forever script. He also claimed to Entertainment Weekly that the executives in charge weren't too fond of his dark take on the character, which makes the success of the Christopher Nolan Batman films pretty hilarious in hindsight.
Keanu Reeves & Speed 2: Cruise Control
This one was a solid call. Speed is the kind of one-off success that should never have resulted in a sequel, and certainly not one in this setting. At the time, Reeves's representative told Entertainment Weekly that the actor, who had just finished filming Chain Reaction, "didn’t want to do two action movies back-to-back." In a 2014 interview with Screen Crush, the John Wick star put his objections into his own words: "At the time, for me, it was a creative decision. I really didn’t feel like the script was in the right place. And for me, I didn’t get the idea of Speed and a cruise ship." You and me both, man.
Jodie Foster & Hannibal
Jodie Foster earned an Oscar for her work as young FBI agent Clarice Starling in the horror/thriller classic The Silence Of The Lambs. But she opted not to come back for the film adaptation of the Hannibal, Thomas Harris's next novel in the Lecter series. In 1999, she told W Magazine about the huge payday she was offered and why she still couldn't be tempted: "But who cares, if it betrays Clarice," Foster said. "Who — is a person, in some strange way, to me." The book has Starling developing a romantic and sexual relationship with the cannibal, a plot twist that the filmmakers decided to scrap anyway. The part went to Julianne Moore.
These movies prove that not even the biggest stars are replaceable, though the quality of recast results may vary.
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