The film Death Race was launched in 2008 and was directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, with the stars being Jason Statham and Tyrese Gibson. The plot of the film is set partly in the busy streets of America and mostly at the Terminal Island penitentiary where the prisoners are the main characters. The gladiator game, Death Race consists of drivers who fight for their freedom on the track. Jensen Ames (Jason Statham), a former NASCAR driver, is framed for murdering his wife and jailed at Terminal Island to make the race lively and increasing ratings.
Together with Machine Gun Joe (Tyrese Gibson), they hatch a plot to escape the prison in the middle of the final race. The movie culminates in the death of the warden in a bomb blast and the in the final scene, Jensen Ames and Machine Gun Joe reunite in Mexico.
The film is very interesting and action-packed. How much time did you use in perfecting your roles as convicts and drivers?
Jason Statham: I am particularly interested in cars, especially German made automobiles.
Every vehicle that I own is German. The selection of the Mustang for Death Race came as a surprise for me but then again, driving is driving so I was comfortable with it. Therefore, the driving part was rather easy for me. As for taking on the role of a convict, it was slightly more difficult, and I had to prepare myself mentally.
Tyrese Gibson: The driving experience was the most in the Death Race set as I was not that used to high-speed racing but I managed to handle it well enough.
The convict role was rather easy for me; I have played several roles, as an inmate so I understood what was required (Berardinelli, 2008).
Death Race had many frightening scenes involving car stunts, fistfights and near-death conflicts. Tell us some of your memorable moments in the film shooting.
Jason Statham: The car stunts involved breathtaking 360 turns that was quite difficult to achieve while shooting fellow drivers. At one time, I was driving at about 160 km/h that was extremely daring and required my full concentration. Racing and fighting other people was also a new and exciting memory for me.
Tyrese Gibson: The driving experience was a rather hair-raising experience. I had many moments when fellow drivers gave me a fright, when they shot at my Dodge ram, but I eventually got used to it. Jason Statham was excellent in his command of the vehicle so all I had to do was follow his lead. The combination of driving and combat was very exciting (Ebert, 2008).
Are there any actors or producers on and off the set that you would like to work with again in the near future?
Jason Statham: Tyrese Gibson is definitely at the top of my list of people in Death Race that I would consider for another action film. Hiss aggression and determination convinced me to improve my own acting skills and together, we were a terrific team. I also look forward to working with upcoming directors such as Michael Mann and Scorsese.
Tyrese Gibson: Statham, Tom Cruise and Stallone are just some of the people I would look up when I need to grow my acting career. My previous experience with action movies has reinforced my belief that I can fit in the field without many problems (Borys, 2007).
Did you undergo any training programs that were related to the shooting of Death Race?
Jason Statham: Yes. We were subjected to physical training sessions by Logan Hood, an extremely intense ex-Navy trainer. We went through body weight distribution, push-ups and squats to get us physically ready for the shoot. We were also kept on a strict vegetarian diet that consisted of a lot of proteins and fruits.
Tyrese Gibson: The movie set had a training program that left me very fit and ready to take on physical scenes. I used to wake up at 5am to go for gym sessions and then later on prepare for the film. The stunts in the movie were easy to execute, although I must say I had one or two bruises, but no major injuries were recorded in the whole set.
Do you feel that acting is the best career for you currently?
Jason Statham: Most definitely. I have always wanted to do many things behind the camera ever since I was in college. Of course, I did not attend drama school and my acting career started all of sudden when Guy Ritchie gave me a part so I must say I was at the right place at the right time. However, I have come to learn how to be a good actor, and it is that and God that keeps me vigilant and aware of the changes in the industry (Koehler, 2008).
Tyrese Gibson: I had always wanted to get on television and feature in a movie. I had acted a couple of times, but the Death Race experience was very new to me. I consider myself a very competent actor as I have taken various roles and performed them satisfactorily. I have been acting for many years now, and I can say that it has been the best time of my life so I think that it is my career at currently (Tinneny, 2008).
Lastly, do you have any plans concerning the release of any films that we might look out for in the near future?
Jason Statham: Yes, I have Crank 2 that I just finished shooting last week so viewers should look out for that.
Tyrese Gibson: I have some minor roles to play in a few movies alongside some other major artists but for now, I am planning to work on my music and release an album. Thank you.
Berardinelli J. (2008) Death Race. Retrieved from http://www.reelviews.net
Borys Kit (2007). “Statham in ‘Death Race’ driver’s seat”. Retrieved from http://www.hollywoodreporter.com
Ebert R. (2008). Death Race. Retrieved from http://rogerebert.suntimes.com
Koehler R. (2008). Death Race. Retrieved from http://www.variety.com
Lee N. (2008) Death Race. Retrieved from http://movies.nytimes.com
Tinneny T. (2008). “Death Race: The Set Visit!” Retrieved from http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php