Jason Statham has praised Jessica Alba as "a real sweetheart".

Jason Statham

Jason Statham

The pair worked on 'Mechanic: Resurrection' together and action star Jason, 49, admitted she was a welcome change from his usual, mostly male, co-stars.

He told PEOPLE: "All of the people that I get to work with smell of sweat and have got broken noses and cauliflower ears. So when she wafts in, it's quite a delight.

"She's a real sweetheart and she's a really serious actress that takes her part very seriously - and she likes to have a lot of fun."

Jason also praised Jessica for refusing to play a damsel in distress, revealing she made some changes to her character Gina to make her a great deal "stronger".

He said: "She's responsible for a lot of the key, sort of, strong changes to the character. She didn't want to play the damsel in distress. She wanted to have something with integrity - and hats off to her for doing that."

And the feeling is mutual as Jessica, 35, recently revealed she jumped at the chance to star opposite the British actor because she and her husband Cash Warren are such huge fans of him.

She said: "My husband and I are both fans of Jason Statham. I love action movies and think he's one of the best - if not the best - action stars right now.

"I mean; what Jason can do with his body is insane. He's better than some stunt people that I've worked with. I thought it would just be fun, frankly, and such a different thing to my day-to-day."

Jessica likes to take on a diverse range of roles but was only interested in being in an action movie if she had a "strong" role.

She said: "I don't know if I ever had a fear of being typecast. I've done comedy, drama, action, comic-book movies so I've made it a point to keep the work that I've done pretty diverse.

"I thought it was important that if I was going to be in an action movie at this point in my life, I should play a strong character, not just a victim or a damsel in distress, but someone who was tough, smart and capable."