Jason Statham has filmmaker David Fincher to thank for his role as a homeless former soldier in new movie Hummingbird - because the Fight Club director recommended him for the job.

Screenwriter-turned-moviemaker Steven Knight turned to a host of film veterans for advice as he embarked on the project, which will hit U.S. cinemas as Redemption later this year (13), and Fincher not only gave him tips but also suggested a leading man to play on-the-run, damaged Special Forces veteran Joey Jones.

Speaking to reporters at Monday's London premiere, the director revealed, "When I decided to direct my screenplay, I spoke to a lot of directors I'd worked with for advice and David Fincher told me the only person he would cast in this role would be Jason Statham.

"I thought, 'He knows what he's talking about.' I've always admired Jason's work and I thought he had a great physical presence. But the ultimate clincher was David Fincher."

And Snatch star Statham, who attended the premiere with his model/actress girlfriend Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, admits his role in Hummingbird means more to him than most.

He explains, "Actors get educated on many subjects, but this one particularly (hit home) because it's rooted in reality... It was really interesting and a privilege to go into the homeless world and to meet real soldiers."