Taylor Hackford is a film-maker who has navigated from neo-noir (Against All Odds) and horror (Dolores Claiborne, The Devil’s Advocate) and has shown an affinity for music with the Chuck Berry birthday documentary Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll and the Oscar-winning Ray.
It seems that for his next feature he’s reverting back to the noir genre this time directing the thriller Parker. Jason Statham (The Mechanic, The Expendables) is in negotiations to star.
Statham, who will next be seen playing Detective Sergeant Tom Brant in Blitz, based on the Ken Bruen novel of the same name, will switch allegiances with Parker. Instead of enforcing law, he’ll be a thief who lives by his own code of honor, which includes never stealing money from people who need it.
The character he plays is based on a series of novels written by Donald Westlake written under his pseudonym Richard Stark. Close to 25 novels written by Stark feature Parker. If Parker’s code sounds a wee bit familiar, it may be due to the fact that this isn’t the first time Parker has been adapted for the big screen. Previous incarnations include Lee Marvin playing the character “Walker” in Point Blank, which is an adaptation of Stark’s first novel, The Hunter. Parker has also been portrayed by Mel Gibson in Payback (also based on The Hunter) and Robert Duvall in The Outfit.
As Hackford told Variety, “I don’t want to get stuck in a genre. What I like the most about this piece of material is that you can take a genre piece like this and turn it into a great movie.”
The role seems to be right in Statham’s wheelhouse, knowing that he has a knack for playing characters who are no more than blunt instruments with quick feet and driving skills. With Hackford directing and Statham as the lead this could lead to another franchise for Statham, who has already starred in a pair of Crank movies as well as three Transporter installments.
Plus just picture Statham as Parker when reading this passage:
“If you leave me here,” the guy on the floor said, “he’ll kill me tomorrow morning.”
Parker looked at him. “So you’ve still got tonight,” he said.” (Stark’s Dirty Money).
Tags: Lee Marvin, Mel Gibson, Parker