By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
HOLLYWOOD—Hunky British actor Ed Skrein takes the wheel of the “Transporter” franchise from fellow Londoner Jason Statham, who first played uber-driver Frank Martin in the 2002 high-octane action movie and again in two sequels.
As with most things Hollywood, “Transporter’s” reboot involves a younger, edgier actor with a cooler car (a tricked out 2012 Audi S8), prettier women, and much more edge-of-the-seat action—this time on the narrow, winding streets of Monaco on the French Riviera. As Frank, he abides by three simple rules: no names no questions and no renegotiations. However, his rulebook goes out the window when he is tricked by the beautiful Anna (French actress Loan Chabanol) into driving the getaway car for a brazen bank robbery, carried out by her and three other blond-wigged knockouts. Racing through the streets of Monaco in his sleek, fast Audi, Frank unwittingly becomes involved in a revenge scheme to bring down a Russian human trafficker (Yuri Kolokolnikov) who forced Anna into prostitution several years earlier. His situation becomes further complicated when he and Anna become more than just friends. The cast includes Gabriella Wright Tatiana Pajkovic, Wenxia Yu, Noemie Lenoir and Ray Stevenson, who plays Frank’s aging playboy dad.
The tall, lean Skrein, 32, knows a little something about Hollywood’s fickleness—after playing Stormcrow Daario Naharis on Season Three of “Game of Thrones,” he was replaced the following season with another actor—but he was thrilled to join the popular action franchise produced by Luc Besson (who also produced the previous “Transporter” films), which clearly elevates him to the rank of action star.
At the L.A. Forum, one of the City of Angels’ premiere sporting and music venues, the polite and dashing Skein sat down to talk about taking on the street-wise Frank Martin in this explosive and action-packed reboot directed by French helmer Camille Delamarre, working with his beautiful co-stars, bringing his young son, Marley, to set and what (pardon the pun) drives him.