LONDON (Reuters) - British actor Jason Statham, known for playing the hard man in a list of Hollywood blockbusters, said he hoped his latest film "Hummingbird" would show a more emotional side to his acting even though the thriller is packed with violence.
Statham, 45, walked the red carpet with his supermodel girlfriend Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in London's Leicester Square on Monday for the world premiere of "Hummingbird" in which he plays an ex-soldier living on the streets in London.
As Joey Jones, he becomes the macho enforcer for the Chinese underworld while seeking vengeance for the murder of a friend in the film being released under the title "Redemption" in the United States.
Seizing the opportunity to move into an apartment vacated for three months, he transforms into an avenging angel while forming a relationship with a nun played by Polish actress Agata Buzek.
Statham, best known for "The Expendables" and Guy Ritchie's crime films such as "Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels", said he enjoyed taking on roles that challenged him, such as more emotional parts.
"It's not that I don't enjoy what I'm already doing, but it's always good to push yourself in different areas and this sort of comes that way," he told Reuters Television on the red carpet.
Statham has admitted before that he would do a romantic comedy if the right film came along.
Statham said he enjoyed returning to London to be part of a film set in the heart of the capital.
Much of the movie was filmed in London's West End theatre district and around Covent Garden, Chinatown and Soho, involving the crew spending four weeks shooting at night.
"Hummingbird" is screenwriter Steven Knight's directorial debut and is the final part of a trilogy that began with "Dirty Pretty Things" and "Eastern Promises", both written by Knight but directed by Stephen Frears and David Cronenberg.
Knight said the film was an attempt to show audiences that there are people in all circumstances trying to do good where they can, with Statham's character ensuring he helps people living on the street when his luck turns.
"I think he's Robin Hood ... and he's trying to do the right thing and he's trying to get justice," Knight said.
"In a world where sometimes if you're weak then you can't get justice, he's someone who uses his strength to get that."
The title "Hummingbird" refers to the surveillance drones used by armed forces and is a metaphor for observation and judgment throughout the film.
The film was originally scheduled for release in May and has had its UK release date pushed back twice, now coinciding with its June 28 release in the United States.
(Reporting by Reuters Television, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith and Paul Casciato)