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Guy Ritchie on Why He Loves 'Grumpy' Jason Statham

Ethan Alter
Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

Back in the late ’90s, Jason Statham was just a British model and martial artist looking for his next photoshoot. Then along came emerging director Guy Ritchie, who saw a movie star in the making. The filmmaker cast Statham in his first two features, 1998’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and 2000’s Snatch, which set him on a path that’s led to such blockbuster franchises as The TransporterThe Expendables and, of course, Fast and the Furious. Making his debut appearance as Deckard Shaw in the closing moments of Fast & Furious 6, Statham appeared in both Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious, and may get his own spin-off vehicle with Dwayne Johnson. “It’s rather wonderful to see his ascension,” Ritchie tells Yahoo Movies. “He’s, like, a major star now!” (Watch our video interview above.)

Ritchie credits Statham’s “discipline” with being one of the keys to his success, stemming from his early days as an athlete. And even though Statham’s schedule is crowded with roles in big movies (not to mention impending fatherhood), the two old friends still make time for each other when they’re both home in London. “Jason is one of my most favorite people in the entire world,” says Ritchie, who recently directed, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and is preparing to helm Disney’s live-action version of Aladdin. “He’s grumpy, and he’s one of the few grumpy people that doesn’t annoy me in any way.”

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