Unearthed video of Hollywood actor who used to be a professional diver goes viral

We're used to seeing Jason Statham on the big screen fighting the bad guys - but it turns out he could have had a whole different career.

The English actor, 54, first appeared in cult classic film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, soon establishing himself as an action star.

But what you may not know about Statham is that he used to be a well-known competitive diver before he entered the acting world.

Jason Staham was a professional diver before he turned to acting. Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty

In fact, he was so good that he made it on to the English national diving team and even represented the country in the 1990 Commonwealth Games, which were held in New Zealand.

In light of Statham's 54th birthday and the current Olympic Games taking place in Tokyo, video of him diving at the Commonwealth Games has resurfaced once again, and it's going viral online as fans marvel at his skill.

And Statham said his competitive diving experience came in handy when shooting sci-fi monster shark film The Meg in Auckland, as the shoot was primarily underwater.

"A lot of the stuff I've learned in my earlier years makes me feel confident in the water or under the water," he told reporters during a set visit in 2016.

"How we fight the shark ... you have to be confident under the water."

The film's ocean scenes were shot in the Hauraki Gulf, with underwater scenes filmed at a specially-built water tank in Kumeu.

Last month the luxury Auckland house owned by former Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell and wife Sharon Hunter, rented by Statham himself during filming, sold for $17.68 million.

The property in Westmere's Rawene Ave is one of New Zealand's most striking houses - a concrete, cedar and steel structure perched on the edge of the water - and was home to Statham while he filmed the blockbuster killer shark pic.

The house was sold by rich lister Hunter and Powell, who had first brought it to market in 2016 with a price tag of "around $20m".

This article was first published on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.