It looks as if the brainchild of director Luc Besson and the Sesame Workshop will have to proceed without the talents of action star Jason Statham, who this past Friday officially bowed out of a planned preschool animated series based on the Transporter movie franchise.
The series, Tiny Transporter Adventures, is about an energetic 5 year-old boy, Frankie, who rides his Big Wheel on a series of exciting adventures around the neighborhood, a new friend in tow each episode. Along the way, together they learn lessons of friendship, caring and responsibility. A spokesperson for the actor said, “Jason, unfortunately, won’t be involved in the series at this time. While he has the utmost respect for Luc’s creative vision as well as the Sesame Workshop’s fantastic legacy and body of work, Jason feels right now that there’s really no place left to go with Frank Martin’s character, especially as a 5 year-old kid in a cartoon.”
Neither Besson nor anyone at the Sesame Workshop would comment on Statham’s announcement. The series has reportedly been under development for over a year, leaving the industry to wonder if the producers were considering another actor to voice the lead role of Frankie. Leaving the door slightly open for a possible future in animation, Statham’s spokesperson went on to say, “Jason has loved working with Luc on a number of projects over the years and would welcome working with him again on just about anything. He just feels the preschool 2-5 year-old demographic might not be the best target audience for an animated series based on a former Special Forces secret operative who is an expert with explosives, weapons, hand to hand fighting and evasive driving. Even if he is a reluctant hero with a kind heart.”