Jason Flemyng is happy not being an A-list movie star: 'I’m glad I’ve never been a leading man'

Jayne Cherrington-Cook
·4-min read
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 24: Jason Flemyng attends the "Military Wives" UK Premiere at Cineworld Leicester Square on February 24, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Jason Flemyng attends the "Military Wives" UK Premiere at Cineworld Leicester Square on February 24, 2020. (Karwai Tang/WireImage)

Jason Flemyng has acted in hundreds of movies and TV shows alongside Hollywood heavyweights such as Brad Pitt, Jason Statham and Sean Connery, however, the Putney-born star has revealed he’s glad he’s never reached the same dizzy heights of fame as his co-stars.

Speaking on White Wine Question Time, Flemyng told Kate Thornton that not being an A-lister has meant he’s had a much more varied career.

“I'm a grafter… but you know, I'm not Jude Law,” he laughed. “You get knocked back and then you get a gig and you get a gig – and a lot of those gigs are not the gigs that go to the big boys.”

He continued: “What it means is you get to go and do a film about a lesbian sheep farmer in Czechoslovakia or you get to go to Jordan, just when they killed Osama Bin Laden… All those great things.”

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The actor, who shot to fame after appearing in Guy Ritchie’s 1998 gangster flick Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, said he doesn’t even care that’s he not often first on the list for roles, citing one movie role he got offered in Russia where he was 30th on the list.

“I'd rather be 12th choice and be working with David Fincher and Brad Pitt,” he laughed. Flemyng starred opposite Pitt in Fincher’s 2008 film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

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He continued: “I have been first choice in loads of jobs, but it's like that Groucho Marx quote about saying if you want me to be a member of your club, I don't want to be a member of it. If you come to Jason Flemyng as your first choice, I know your script's s***.”

Jason has appeared in many Hollywood films alongside acting legends like Sean Connery in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Image: Getty Images)
Jason has appeared in many Hollywood films alongside acting legends like Sean Connery in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Image: Getty Images)

The actor, who has worked with prisoners for over 30 years, says that being an actor has given him the confidence to be himself – and then help others.

“I don't think that I'm like an 'actory' actor, but I know that doing well at being an actor and having a career, having 150 flicks behind me gives, me the confidence,” he said.

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“I mean a lot of them are unwatchable, you know, Spice World and Seed Of Chucky – that's just two to get on with – but having all those movies behind me makes me feel like someone who has done okay.

“And that confidence allows me to behave the way I behave and allows me to hold my head up and my shoulders back and to help people around me - it's a nice feeling.”

Born from the work he’s had done with prisoners, Flemyng now hosts his own podcast – More Than My Past – which chats to people who have overcome addictions or their criminal pasts. He believes his second chances – or many rejections – have only made him stronger.

Jason, who made his name in Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, believes rejection has made him stronger as a person (Image: Getty Images)
Jason, who made his name in Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, believes rejection has made him stronger as a person (Image: Getty Images)

“I think when you're talking about second chances, it’s difficult because our work doesn't work like that,” commented the 53-year-old.

“Some people get an opportunity and then take it, but second chances for us are not even second chance. They're like fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth chances because so much of what we do is about rejection and about being strong enough to live through that.”

Hear Jason Flemyng talk more about his work with prisoners and why he’s a glass half full kind of person on the latest episode of White Wine Question Time. Listen now on iTunes and Spotify.