It's a long five years since Jason Statham last fastened his seatbelt for a Transporter movie. In the meantime, Stath has gone on to big things in the Expendables and others, and The Transporter has continued quietly without him, as a TV series with Chris Vance. More movies are finally on the way, however, with Luc Besson's EuropaCorp just striking a deal at Cannes for another three instalments.
Before you get too excited, there's no mention at all yet that Statham will be returning to his signature role as Frank Martin, the driver who never changes the deal and never opens the package (except when he does). Statham played the role in three films (four if you include his cameo in Collateral) and sad as it feels to say it, we'd be surprised to see him return: it would feel like a step backwards for a man recently confirmed to be frying some serious fish in the near future (nospoilersarrrgggh! But if you already know what we're talking about AND ONLY THEN click here for more). So we'd guess The Stath is an outside bet, and we're more likely looking either at some big screen adventures for Vance, or someone entirely new in the driving seat.
The deal as thrashed out is between EuropaCorp and its new Chinese partner Fundamental Films. It's a co-financing, production and distribution arrangement, with Transporters 4-6 each budgeted at a not-too-modest $30m-$40m. Not, say, as a random example, Fast & Furious levels of mayhem then, but not bargain basement straight-to-DVD action either. At least one of the three films will be shot in China.
More car-flipping! More oily shirt-off man fighting! More Francois Berleand! More news as we get it, obviously. We'll next see Statham in Hummingbird (or as the US has it Redemption) on June 28.