Most Offensive Male Characters
British director Guy Ritchie frequently attributes the success of his unorthodox crime films -- 1998's Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, 2000's Snatch -- to the fact that his offbeat miscreants are more than believable, they are real. Preferring to cast for authenticity rather than resumé, Ritchie handpicks many of his actors from the true-life cult figures and rascals of London's underbelly. Actor Jason Statham is among the best of them.
A one-time Olympic diver, fashion model, and black-market salesman, Statham came to acting by way of commercials and "street theater" -- a euphemism for hustling tourists on London's Oxford Street. Raised in Syndenham, London, he was the second son of a lounge singer and a dressmaker turned dancer. Although Statham had the familial background to go immediately into entertainment, he excelled first on the high dive. He was a member of the 1988 British Olympic Team in Seoul, Korea, and remained on the National Diving Squad for ten years. In the late '90s, a talent agent specializing in athletes landed Statham a gig in an ad campaign for the European clothing retailer French Connection. This led to an appearance in a Levi's Jeans commercial and a fledgling modeling career. Meanwhile, Statham had also earned local fame as a street corner con man, selling stolen jewelry and counterfeit perfume out of a briefcase. Thus, when French Connection's owner became one of the biggest investors in Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, he naturally introduced the diver/model/hustler to knave-hunting Ritchie.