Exclusive: Statham Set For The Grabbers?

Influenced by Treasure of Sierra Madre

Empire caught up with one of this country’s finest cinematic exports - Sir Jason 'The Stath' Statham, who’ll next be seen in Paul W.S. Anderson’s brutal but enjoyable Death Race – recently and, being the fearless investigative journalists we are, we totally asked him about his next movie.

“Jason, we said,” in the courageous style of a Woodward, Bernstein or Olly Richards, “what are you doing next?” You should have been there. It was electric.

Well, we had The Stath bang to rights. And so he told us about a project that hasn’t yet been officially announced – and which, nevertheless, sounds damned intriguing.

“We’ve got a movie we’re trying to do, written by David and Janet Peoples, in the vein of an old film, The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre,” quoth The Stath, immediately piquing Empire’s interest. If you don’t know The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre, it’s a John Huston film, starring Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston as gold diggers who become contaminated by greed. It’s a stone-cold classic* and a timeless rumination on the danger of avarice – and the news that the script for this new version is written by the Peoples, two of the finest writers around (they wrote Twelve Monkeys together, while David wrote Blade Runner and Unforgiven on his tod), is particularly exciting.

“It’s not a remake or anything,” clarified The Stath. “But it’s a little bit like that – about relationships and how greed contaminates the relationships these three people have. The working title is The Grabbers.”

Ah – something might have to be done about that title, as it’s a) a bit rubbish and b) sounds a bit rude. Can you imagine asking for two tickets to see Jason Statham’s Grabbers? No, us neither.

Anyway, fans of The Stath won’t be surprised to find that he would be playing “this crazy Brit that is quite charismatic.” We’ll even stick our necks to say that, though this isn’t a remake, that he might well be playing the Bogart role – which means that we can compare the man dubbed the ‘new Steve McQueen’ to another cinema icon. And, of course, it sounds like a change of pace for Statham from his usual diet of hard-edged action flicks. Good - while we love those movies, we'd like to see him make a play for the big leagues. And who knows - maybe The Grabbers could be his breakout flick.

It’s early days yet, though, and the film might not happen. “Hopefully we’ll get that made. We’re trying to put the finance together now and hopefully do it before the end of the year,” said The Stath, who also has Transporter 3 and Crank II: High Voltage awaiting release, as part of his plan to dominate the world by, apparently, killing everyone on the planet bar himself. “If not, we’ll do something else.”

Well, we wish him well in his quest to bring The Grabbers – sorry, Should Be Untitled Jason Statham Project - to the big screen.

  • If you don’t know The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre, and shame on you if you don’t, you might know the Walter Hill remake, Trespass, which starred the two Bills, Paxton and Sadler, and the two Ices, Cube and T. It was bobbins.