“We created Jason”: Bruce Willis’ On Set Attitude Forced Director to Ditch Him and Hire Jason Statham For $315 Million Action Franchise

After collaborating with Luc Besson on The Fifth Element, Robert Mark Kamen again gave birth to Jason Statham’s The Transporter franchise with his screenwriting mate.

The success of The Fifth Element was usual, as it was about something that most big-budget science fiction films never even attempted — thanks to Kamen and Besson’s smart screenwriting, the movie was a big hit.

The Fifth Element (1997)
When Luc Besson was working with Bruce Willis on the film, he had to go with an interesting compromise — that you’ll get to know further in this article.

And because of Willis’ attitude on the set of The Fifth Element, the director told Kamen that working with Willis was “very difficult” which made him try out relatively unknown Jason Statham on The Transporter.

Luc Besson’s Struggles with Bruce Willis Lead to Jason Statham’s Rise

Luc Besson with Bruce WillisLuc Besson with Bruce Willis

While working on The Fifth Element, Besson realized his star wasn’t used to filming at such a quick pace, so he made a deal:
“So then I made a deal with Bruce and I said what about rather than working 5 days, you know, from like Monday through Friday, you work for 4 days per week? Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, but you sit on the box next to me by the camera and we shoot like crazy, and he said okay! Deal! So he was like on the entire set like 10 feet from the camera on a box and he was so happy. Because he preferred it shorter and tenser.”
Speaking to Uproxx about making The Fifth Element with Bruce Willis, Kamen said:
“He was very difficult, and Luc [Besson] worked around it. But Luc wasn’t used to it. After he did that, he came to me and said, ‘We have to create our own movie stars.’ And that’s what we did with The Transporter. We created Jason.”
Willis already has a reputation for sometimes being difficult to work with. According to some filmmakers, working alongside the Die Hard star was pretty hard, as he can often be argumentative, uncooperative, and demanding on sets.

Thanks to Willis’ on-set attitude that made Jason Statham got his best movie.

Jason Statham Got His Breakthrough Role Because of Bruce Willis

Jason Statham in The TransporterJason Statham in The Transporter

So, in the next screenplay of Kamen and Besson, Jason Statham earned his breakthrough role, starring in The Transporter (a French action thriller film franchise) in 2002.

The Transporter movies grossed nearly $315 million worldwide. For making main protagonist Frank Martin come to life, Statham reportedly bagged $750,000 for the first movie.

The franchise has four films and a television series released between 2002 and 2015. Statham plays Frank Martin in the first three movies, a professional freelance courier driver for hire.

But he wasn’t seen in the fourth sequel of The Transporter (The Transporter Refueled), because filmmakers wanted him to sign on and do three more films without even seeing a script, and they offered him less money to do three than he’d get paid for one. According to the actor, it was a business decision.

Source: The Digital Flix

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