The many faces of 'Parker'
Even though the film "Parker" doesn't come out until Friday, there is a good chance that it won't have been the first time you've encountered the title character.
Created by author Donald E. Westlake (under the pseudonym Richard Stark), the thief Parker was the protagonist of 24 novels (and appeared as a supporting character in a few others). As with many popular thriller novels, Hollywood has come knocking on a few occasions and brought Parker to the big screen, though this most recent film is the first time the character has retained his named.
Here are some of the portrayals of Parker on the big screen.
Mel Gibson as Porter in 'Payback' (1999)
Based on 'The Hunter'
Writer-director Brian Helgeland tapped the same book as "Point Blank" for this story about Parker stand-in Porter (Gibson), a thief trying to get back his $70,000 cut from a robbery. Also starring Maria Bello, John Glover, Kris Kristofferson and Lucy Liu. There is also a director's cut of this film that is significantly different.
Anna Karina as Paula Nelson in 'Made in U.S.A.'(1966)
Based on 'The Jugger'
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard, this film had rights issues (i.e. the filmmakers never got them and Westlake sued and won, keeping the film off the big screen) that kept it from being released in the United States until 2009. Karina, Godard's frequent collaborator, plays the first female version of Parker in this loose adaptation about a woman investigating the death of her lover.
Lee Marvin as Walker in 'Point Blank'(1967)
Based on 'The Hunter'
John Boorman ("Deliverance") directed this film about a thief named Walker (Marvin) who is going after his former partner who double-crossed him for $93,000. Also starring Angie Dickinson, John Vernon and Carroll O'Connor.
Jim Brown as McClain in 'The Split'(1968)
Based on 'The Seventh'
Former football star Brown takes the lead Parker role, here named McClain, in this film about a group of thieves (you'll see a trend here) trying to determine which one of them made off with the money they stole. Also starring Diahann Carroll, Ernest Borgnine, Gene Hackman and Donald Sutherland.
Robert Duvall as Eric Macklin in 'The Outfit' (1973)
Based on 'The Outfit'
After getting out of prison, the Parker character Eric Macklin (Duvall) goes after the criminal organization that killed his brother. Also starring Karen Black and Joe Don Baker.
Jason Statham as Parker in 'Parker'(2013)
Based on 'Flashfire'
Parker (Statham) is a thief who is looking for revenge against his former cohorts who double-crossed him after they pull a job. Also starring Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis, Bobby Cannavale, Patti LuPone and Nick Nolte.