Jason Statham clearly has no plans of abandoning the action/thriller genre any time soon. He's all but guaranteed to return in next year's The Expendables 2, looks to be the new lead in the globe-trotting thriller Echelon, and is now circling a role in an adaptation of Donald Westlake's popular crime series, Parker.
Oscar-winner Taylor Hackford (Ray, The Devil's Advocate) is already attached to direct and produce the film, based on a script penned by Black Swan co-screenwriter John J. McLaughlin.
The character Parker was created by the late Westlake, who - under the pseudonym Richard Stark - wrote a total of 24 novels that featured the criminal figure as their protagonist. Parker makes his living as a thief who is more than willing to commit murder if need be, but adheres to a strict code of honor that involves never stealing from or harming the innocent and needy (think a variation on Statham's Frank Martin from the Transporter movies).
Variety says Parker is based on Westlake's literature, but does not clarify whether it is an adaptation of any specific novel. The titular character has been featured on the big screen before, most famously in the 1967 film Point Blank, and later in the 1999 Mel Gibson vehicle Payback - both of which were based on the same novel by Westlake, "The Hunter".
Statham makes so many action flicks that it's understandable if they blur together when you try and recall them all. He pretty much always sticks to playing the efficient and deadly type - be it in a more realistic caper flick like The Bank Job, a grittier crime thriller like The Mechanic, or in unabashedly ludicrous action fare like The Transporter or the Crank movie series.
There's no denying that Statham has that act down pat and can make even the least memorable shoot-em-ups or action thrillers worth a look. Hackford is a generally solid filmmaker who has demonstrated a fair amount of versatility before, having worked in numerous different genres over the course of some four decades now. So although he's never helmed an action pic quite like Parker, Hackford could deliver a Statham vehicle that's actually pretty entertaining (and hopefully a little less forgettable).
We'll keep you posted on the status of Parker as more information is released.