Six Degrees of Jason Statham

A couple of weeks ago, I went to see The Meg with my boyfriend. Normally, I’d wait until a film of this sort was out on Film 4 and then watch it with a few beers and a large pizza but we decided to go to the cinema mainly due to one reason: one of my names is Meg, and “Jason Statham fights Meg” is something I want to see. Every time the film referred to the giant bloody shark as “Meg”, we split our sides. “Man versus Meg isn’t a fight. It’s a slaughter,” is a quote I’d put on a dating profile.

We weren’t disappointed. The Meg’s a good bad film. I knows what it’s doing, it delivers what it sets out to do, and in terms of plot, it’s better put together than other films of its ilk. It’s just self-aware enough that it makes jokes about the set up, but doesn’t get annoying.

Image of diver inside a see-through shark tank, inside a giant shark's mouth, from the film The Meg

Artist’s impression of me with a Kinder Egg.

Anyway, after this cinematic delight we went to the pub and somehow found ourselves playing a version of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. You know the famous idea, that every actor can be linked to the prolific Mr Bacon through their film roles. It’s based on the concept of Six Degrees of Separation, that everyone on earth is six or fewer personal acquaintances apart from each other. (There’s even fewer degrees in a city as small as York. Every bugger knows every bugger else somehow.)

If you’re looking for a game to break up car journeys, or get the little grey cells working, I can recommend this. I love giving my pop culture knowledge a work out, so we spent pretty much the whole evening moving from pub to pub, challenging each other to connect two disparate actors. (And it was sometimes hard to pick two actors who we thought might not have anything in common.) The rule was that connections had to be made through films or TV shows actors were in at the same time – you can’t connect someone in the original Star Wars to someone in the Prequels purely by them being in the same series. Got to be the same film. Only if pushed could we use the internet to see an actor’s filmography, but that was the extent of outside help.

We called in one of my lad’s pals who’s a total film buff when we hit a tricky pair. We’ll call him The Oracle here, because frankly, he’s an expert. The Oracle – sorry, Great Oracle, as he’d prefer to be called – had even tighter rules to play within as we forgot to tell him that TV show linking was allowed. Terry Crewes to Kiefer Sutherland, Tilda Swinton to Piers Brosnan and Jon Hamm to Laurence Fishburne all proved but a mild diversion for his great processing power.

Gif from the film Wayne's World of Wayne and Garth enthusiastically bowing. Captioned "We're not worthy".

I’ll be honest, at no point did we actually link Jason Statham to anyone, but it’s a great name for the game. Some pairs that we thought should be easy were surprisingly difficult – we had to use the actual Oracle of Bacon website to link Carrie Fisher to The Bacon, because it turns out that our knowledge of 80s movies is not as broad as we thought it was. A good trick though, is to find a link to to the Marvel Universe, Harry Potter series, Game of Thrones or Doctor Who. You can just about link them to any actor.

Turns out I am quite competitive when it comes to this sort of thing. No-one really “won” the evening, but I did get a bit excited.

For example, the bf challenged me to connect Peter Sallis to Rainn Wilson. I got stumped in the middle: Peter Sallis voiced Wallace in Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit, alongside Helena Bonham Carter who voiced Lady Tottingham. She was Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter films, which we’ve established are a great nexus for actor connections… I thought for a long mo. I was stumped. Then…

“BOOM! Jason Isaacs!” I shouted, then froze, suddenly aware of how full the pub was. To anyone whose quiet drink I disturbed, I can only apologise. (He was Lucius Malfoy in Potter, and Captain Lorca in Star Trek: Discovery, which Rainn Wilson was also in as Harry Mudd.)

Close up of Jason Isaacs as Captain Lorca in Star Trek: Discovery

He doesn’t seem too impressed (pic from Digital Spy).

I love to feel the synapses firing, it’s great pop culture mental exercise. Have you got any good links, or people who you think are impossible to link? Let me know below or on twitter @scranshums.

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