1 The 39-year-old Brit took the lead in frenetic action flick Crank (out Sept. 1) for three reasons: sex, drugs, and violence. ''I wanted something undiluted and hard,'' he says. ''It's an R-rated film where I don't have to tone [scenes] down.''
2 The transatlantic ass-kicker regularly does his own stunts. On dangling from a helicopter during a Crank fight scene, he jokes, ''You just gotta grab your nuts and f---ing hope for the best.''
3 Guy Ritchie, who gave Statham a prominent role in Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, has earned Statham's loyalty. ''Guy is responsible for me being where I am,'' the actor says. ''I'm until-the-fat-lady-sings with him, as long as he doesn't get bored with me.''
4 Statham breaks every known traffic law on screen in the Transporter series, 2003's The Italian Job, and Crank but not in real life. ''In my misspent youth I was risky,'' he says. ''I think I've got a bit more to lose now, don't you?''
5 Before film stardom, Statham was a diver, a model, and a street pitchman in London. His wares? Everything from jewelry to electronics to china. His sales secret? ''Insult them into buying it or insult the fact that they probably can't afford it.''