Jason Statham for “The Transporter 2”

Jason Statham is one of these actors who clearly relishes what he does. The working-class Brit who was discovered by mentor Guy Ritchie, has rapidly become one of Britain’s favourite young actors, something that the star of the new Transporter 2 action film smiles at, considering that he stumbled onto acting and never expected to be here talking about his latest film. “I fell into it and it was a complete sort of ‘right place, right time’, lucky bastard kind of thing,” Statham laughingly recalls. “Guy Ritchie was looking for someone that had experience selling street corner merchandise – you know, jewellery and perfume – and I was the one that he was looking for, the authentic man for the job. So it was just being in the right place that Guy Ritchie was fortunate enough to give me my first ever acting gig. Then again he gave me another part in his next movie and then all of a sudden you’ve got a career kind of thing.”

That was some 18 films ago, and since then, the 33-year old Londoner hasn’t looked back, with such films as Snatch, Mean Machine, Cellular and the upcoming Revolver and Pink Panther to his credit. For a lad who never set out to act, he admits to being surprised that he’s still doing it, and successfully no less. “I feel like I know what I’m doing now and what it takes to make a good movie, so I feel more educated. I have a lot more knowledge on the whole process of how a movie gets made and the process of that.”

Statham’s masculinity, charm and good humour attracted Iconic director Luc Besson to cast him as the lead in The Transporter. The film’s success led Statham to do a sequel, in which the driver for hire is protecting a young boy, whose kidnapping leads him on his unique rescue mission. His initial attraction to the character, he says, “was the opportunity to play a leading man and to display a bit of physical sort of martial art skills,” he says, somewhat modestly. “As a kid I wanted to be like a stunt man, throw myself around and kick myself up but I never kind of fulfilled that. I went years and years without even pursuing that any further and then a few years ago I had a chance to do it in a movie.”

Those skills are further put to the test in the action-packed sequel, a film that Statham jumped at the chance of doing. “As soon as we came up with the idea, we knew we could succeed what we did in the first one in a lot of areas,” he says, referring to himself and Besson, who returns as co-writer and producer. “We sort of filled in the blanks from the first one but we kind of lost a little bit as well,” he admits. “So it’s hard to kind of get the perfect recipe. We’re getting there slowly but possibly we might reach an even better stage if we do another one.”

Not that he means that there’s be a Transporter 3 any time soon. “Don’t take this the wrong way. You learn so much when you make a movie and when we went into Transporter 2 we thought: well what we missed out where we could improve from the first one we would. So we tried to make the best attempt to make that happen and there are certain things that suffered but there’s certain things that came out much better.”

While the first film was shot at the south of France, this time around, the film’s action is in Miami. The actor says that might not have been ideal in retrospect. “One of the things we learned in making the film, was never to make a fucking movie in Miami during hurricane season,” he says, laughingly. “I also learned that was a massive, massive headache for us. I mean we made Transporter 2 in, God knows, probably, I think 50 days, where the first one was like 75 days. It was almost like a rush job, so given the time and the prep, I think we could do an even better job.”

Yet Transporter 2, Statham says, has all the elements that he loves, including this interesting character, set within an action genre. “For me, character is the most important thing, because we get so many poor quality action movies on a weekly basis, which is just action for the sake of action. I mean, at least initiate some kind of a motivation for some guy to run around doing what he does, so we feel that these two movies have enough of a reason to motivate this guy.” Statham says that he likes the fact that this is character “is a man of his word. And that’s not a usual common trait in this day and age, but here’s this guy who couldn’t let this kid down.”

In this film,. The stunts seem far more complex and adventurous than in its predecessor, but Statham says he didn’t do too much that different in preparing for the sequel. “The physical prep was the same, except I had to learn to drive again the Lamborghini. They had to calm me down on burning the rubber tyres off,” he recalls laughingly. “I also had to learn to do some nifty Jetski jumping. and some wakeboarding which we never used it in the movie. But it’s always good to be over-prepared than under.”

As successful Statham is rapidly becoming, he says nothing much has changed in his life and both professional and personal perceptions have remained the same. “I’m still doing the same things and have the same friends. Nothing will change in my lifestyle or me in any way. I mean some people come out in the street and they’re, expressing how much they like the films and stuff but that’s cool.” Statham reunites with Guy Ritchie in this winter’s Revolver, world premiering at this year’s Toronto Film Festival. “I play Jake Green, who’s this kind of gambler.” Beyond that, Statham remains as busy as ever. “We’re developing a couple of projects to take place early next year that I’m very excited about with a great director to direct one, and the other one is still being sort of developed in terms of the screenplay. So there’s a couple of projects that we can control and hopefully keep some kind of quality control on.”

And Statham hopes to extend himself beyond acting, possibly direct. “I’m a keen sort of photographer and I take a lot of pictures nowadays. I bought myself a nice camera and I compose nice photographs, but as to whether I’ve got the capability or patience that a director needs, I don’t know. You need to be very good with peoples’ personalities and be able to adapt to many different situations as a director. I don’t know if I’m capable right now to do that. At the moment I’ve got my hands full with trying to work out this acting stuff.” And he would be more than happy to return to Transporter territory if the sequel ended up a huge success. “I’d be more than happy, as long as people don’t get bored of seeing the same thing, as long as we can make it interesting and different enough.”

For this accidental actor, young Jason is doing rather nicely, as his feet remain planted on the ground.