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Could The Beekeeper Be Jason Statham’s Next Action Franchise?

The number of films that constitutes a “franchise” is rather questionable. Common logic would tell you at least three, right? Apparently, it’s a fluid definition depending on who you’re talking to and which online source you’re looking at. To use the most flexible definition, we’ll put it at two films.

By this logic, Jason Statham, Hollywood’s most prolific tough guy, has done six: The Transporter (2002, 2005, 2008), Crank (2006, 2009), The Expendables (2010, 2012, 2014, 2023), Fast & Furious (2013, 2015, 2017, 2021), and The Meg (2018, 2023).

Does the 56-year-old former model, martial artist, and stuntman have it in him to make another?

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Jason Statham stars as Clay in director David Ayer’s THE BEEKEEPER. Photo Credit: Daniel Smith
Jason Statham stars as Clay in director David Ayer’s THE BEEKEEPER. Photo Credit: Daniel Smith

His latest attempt at American action film glory is The Beekeeper. It was written by Kurt Wimmer (The Thomas Crowne Affair, 2012’s Total Recall, Expend4bles) and directed by David Ayer (Fury, Suicide Squad, Bright). Statham stars alongside Jeremy Irons, Minnie Driver, and Josh Hutcherson.

“I find bees endlessly fascinating. The first alcohol was made from honey. Charlemagne had bees on his standard. Napoleon chose the bee to represent his status as emperor. Everybody loves bees,” says screenwriter Wimmer in the film’s production notes.

The story of the film is built around the mythology and structure of the beehive — the hierarchy of the colony — drones, workers and a queen.

“… The beekeeper is almost like this force of nature, this invisible force of organization that is shaping the reality of the bees and … It’s such a great idea to play with the idea of governments and who fixes things and who has a vision for society and how to help people,” director David Ayer also commented in the production notes.

In the film, Statham does actually play a real retired professional beekeeper, Adam Clay, who coincidentally used to be an undercover operative in a very secret, very special government organization in which he functioned as a “beekeeper” — a force without any jurisdiction.

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“What we know is, Clay has an incredible skill set. He’s almost like a super soldier that is there to protect society. When society can’t protect itself, he’s the person, a Beekeeper, that comes in to recreate the equilibrium. That’s what Adam Clay really stands for – he is one of these guys that doesn’t really exist. He’s almost like this ghost that comes in and course corrects,” describes Statham in the notes.

Adam Clay’s stinger comes out after Eloise, the older woman (played by Phylicia Rashad of The Cosby Show) whose land he cultivates his sweet honey upon becomes the victim of a telemarketing scam. Her bank account is emptied and as a result, she unalives herself. Clay vows vengeance.

Josh Hutcherson Photo Credit: Daniel Smith

The man behind the heartless scam is Derek Danforth (Josh Hutcherson). He’s a total creep who rides a skateboard in the office, wears flashy clothes and prefers expensive drugs. When he starts feeling the sting from Clay, he calls his boss, Wallace Westwyld (Jeremy Irons) for backup.

Jason Statham and Jeremy Irons 
Photo Credit: Daniel Smith
© 2024 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures

Irons sums up the film in the production notes this way, “It’s about corruption, the corruption of power, of how power corrupts. And, to a certain extent, the naïveté of thinking that can be dealt with easily, but it is endemic in our societies. I think there will be a lot of people out there who have been through this sort of scam and who want retribution … It’s very hard to get justice for people whose finances or whose security or whose reputation has
been damaged by these technological scams. As we see it from a distance, a lot of us would like to be in Jason Statham’s shoes.”

The Beekeeper also features Emmy Raver-Lampman and Bobby Naderi. It opens on Friday, January 11.

And about that franchise?

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“If we were fortunate enough to make a sequel, we have a whole world that we can dive into.” Statham told Variety last month at the Red Sea Film Festival.

Buy tickets here.

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