There’s a new celeb beef in Hollywood and it’s a showdown of burly Brits. In one corner, you have Jason Statham, the star of Snatch, Transporter and countless gonzo action films. In the other corner, you have Paul Bettany, who recently flexed his muscles in Avengers: Age of Ultron as purple daddy Vision.
Last night on Conan, the titular host confronted the latest Avenger on “smack talk” Statham doled out about Marvel movies. And Bettany, who looks like he’s cosplaying as and extra hipster version of Jimmy from You’re The Worst, was quick to throw some shade.
Irked that Statham had said even his grandma could front a Marvel movie thanks to their reliance on CGI and stunt doubles, Bettany declares: “[Statham] should maybe think about investing in an acting double.”
From this late night clip, it might seem Bettany not only won this first round, but also is the good guy, having responded with a righteous burn after Statham “smack talked.” But if you watch the video Conan’s referring to, it’s not as inflammatory as his paraphrasing makes it seem.
Here’s the interview from Spy’s promotional tour:
And for those of you at work without headphones, here’s Statham’s full quote:
“A lot of the modern action movies you see—you know Marvel comic things—I just think any guy could do it. I have no ambition (to do that.) I could take my grandma and put her in a cape, and they’ll put her on a green screen, and they’ll have stunt doubles come in and do all the action. Anybody can do it. They’re relying on stunt doubles, and green screen. $200 million budgets, it’s all CGI created. So to me it’s not authentic. I’m inspired by old real star(s), guys who can really do their thing.”
Reading what he said, it might seem like Statham is talking smack. But in the context of the video, he’s calmy explaining his personal disinterest in making Marvel movies. He doesn’t see them as the kind of physical challenge that appeals to him as an action star. He’s not talking quality. He’s not intentionally dissing the myriad of Marvel movie stars. He’s saying he’d rather throw himself full-bodied into an action movie.
You got to give it to Statham, he knows what he’s good at. He’s good at physical stunts. And—despite what Bettany might snipe—he’s an incredible comedic actor. But maybe Paul “I would never talk shit about somebody else’s work” Bettany couldn’t see Spy with his nose so high in the air.
Kristy Puchko remembers A Knight’s Tale.