Parker is a 2013 American crime thriller film directed by Taylor Hackford. Starring Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez, the film is adapted from Flashfire, the 19th Parker novel, written by Donald Westlake under the name Richard Stark.
Parker (Jason Statham) is a professional thief, who doesn’t steal from the poor or hurt innocent people. At the beginning of the film, his trusted crew ends up betraying him, and leaving him for dead. However, he survives and follows them to Palm Beach, Florida to get revenge on them. Disguising himself, he enlists the help of real estate agent Leslie Rogers (Jennifer Lopez), one of their targeted victims, to find out about the plan his former crew has made..
Taylor Hackford directed Parker as well as producing the film alongside Steven Chasman, Les Alexander, Sidney Kimmel and Jonathan Mitchell.Hackford was excited to make Parker his “first sort of film noir”, stating: “I don’t want to get stuck in a genre. What I like the most about this piece of material is that you can take a genre piece like this and turn it into a great movie.”Prior to this film, 38-year old Parker had first appeared decades earlier in the 1962 novel The Hunter, written by Donald E. Westlake, which spawned into a book series that including over twenty other novels.He had also been depicted in several films including Point Blank (1967) and Payback (1999), among others.
On April 18, 2011, Justin Kroll of Variety reported that Statham would play the role of Parker. Of Parker, Statham has commented that he’s “a man who lives by a certain moral code. … So there’s a likeable quality to this anti-hero.” The actor noted that: “He’s involved in criminal activities but he perceives all business to be in some way crooked. He never steals from people he feels can’t afford it and he doesn’t hurt people that don’t deserve it”, describing Parker as an “anti-hero”. During the film, Parker poses as a Priest during a scene.
On June 21, 2011, it was revealed that Lopez was in talks to play “the female lead, a character named Leslie, who gets involved with Parker as he executes a heist”. Lopez’s casting was confirmed, along with Nick Nolte who will play Parker’s mentor. Lopez and Nolte previously worked together on the film U Turn (1997). Hackford noted the role of Leslie as a departure from her other work, considering she had been acting in romantic comedies for the last several years, and was happy with her performance. Leslie is a “savvy insider” who’s “short on cash, but big on looks, smarts and ambition.”Initially, she only partners with Parker for her own financial gain, but eventually becomes romantically involved with Parker. Owen Tonks of Daily Mail noted that “The couple’s relationship grows stronger and Leslie falls for Parker as the storyline develops”.Additionally, Tonks noted that Leslie is “likely to be completely different” from Lopez’s true personality.Wendell Pierce, Clifton Collins Jr., Michael Chiklis, Patti LuPone and Emma Booth will also co-star in Parker.
The Times-Picayune’s Mike Scott reported on June 23, 2011, that Parker would begin shooting in New Orleans on July 18 for seven weeks. Scott noted that filming in New Orleans was “good news” for the local film industry because it came “at a time that has historically seen a slowdown in major productions, due both to the oppressive heat and the arrival of hurricane season.” Playbill later confirmed that production for the film had begun on August 4, 2011, in New Orleans.Filming briefly moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana from August 5–9.
Parker was also filmed in Palm Beach, Florida, where Lopez and Statham were spotted that September. Palm Beach County Film and Television’s commissioner Chuck Elderd was pleased with the shooting for Parker. He said: “From the commission’s position, we knew when Taylor Hackford was going to shoot [Parker] we were going to get gorgeous shots of Palm Beach County and incredible aerials, which we got a taste of in the trailer as a plane flies over Palm Beach and West Palm Beach. And the action scenes make Boca Raton look great.” Additionally, Elderd noted that filming in the area attracted more attention to Palm Beach, therefore lifting its interest. According to Robert Janjigian of the Palm Beach Daily News, Palm Beach were “star-struck” and “ready for its close-up” during filming. Variety noted that locals were also “shook up” by helicopters, firetrucks and marine patrol boats, “bringing big-time filmmaking to an area better known for leisure-time activities.”In January 2012, filming for Parker concluded in Miam….
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