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GERARD BUTLER Surfing Through the Perfect Storm
By Andrew Harmon
It’s a warm Monday morning in the Roosevelt Hotel’s grand lobby, where European tourists lounge in leather couches with their, “official” star maps, where indie instrumental music plays low-volume on the speakers, and where Gerard Butler, Hollywood’s most omnipresent leading man over the past summer, is on his hands and knees.
It’s not what you think. Butler is admiring the lobby’s terra cotta tile floor, shined to a preternatural gloss. “Oh man, this is what I have in my place!” he says, referring to his Chelsea apartment (he also has a house in Los Feliz). Butler is exuberant in the discovery in an almost adolescent way. The tourists gawk at the 39-year-old Scotsman, who, like many European tourists flocking to Los Angeles in the sweltering fall heat, is dressed in a sporty mix of respectable leisure: Abercrombie & Fitch running shorts with a pique polo shirt in charcoal. If they recognize him, they’re not copping to it, taking digital pictures of the ornate ceiling instead.
Which seems just fine for paparazzi-favorite Butler, who settles into a club chair and sips a latte. He’s only recently returned to Los Angeles for some much-needed R&R. It’s been a perfect storm of film projects this year, from shooting romance flicks with Katherine Heigl and Jennifer Aniston to co-producing his first film, Law Abiding Citizen, where he takes a dramatic turn by starring as a calculating sociopath. If you can recall Butler’s physique while playing King Leonidas in 300 a few years back, you’d expect he’s not spending his time off glued to an Xbox. Earlier, he rode up Griffith Park on his mountain bike. He’s into racquetball, hits the weights regularly, and did he tell you about his surfing lesson last week?
“I don’t surf, but I was taking a lesson,” Butler says, again with the adolescent excitement, which is refreshing more than cloying. “And I got up the first three times and took the wave in.” “I don’t believe you,” I blurt out. Nobody gets up the first time. Immediately I wonder whether this celebrity interview is about to go south.
“On my life!” he replies with a hearty laugh (thank god). “Though I’m sure it was beginner’s luck.” The diversity of Butler’s recent projects, is, like his workout habits, no accident. The co-star of The Ugly Truth and P.S. I Love You seems steadfast in avoiding the romantic comedy trap, where actors begin as virile, potent onscreen idols, only to become veritable eunuchs after following the guy-gets-girl, loses-girl, then-reunites-with-girl-in-slow-motion-final-scene-with-Kelly-Clarkson-hit-song formula one too many times. “It’s been tough with all of these movies coming out in such quick succession, but people do get to see me in different roles – here’s a romantic comedy, there’s a fantasy action film, and here’s a dark thriller,”Butler says. “And it’s when I’m challenged that I do my best work.”
In Law Abiding Citizen (in theatres October 16), Butler plays Clyde Shelton, an otherwise-innocuous Philadelphian whose wife and daughter are murdered in the course of a home robbery. The suspects are apprehended and convicted, though one receives a light sentence at the hands of Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx), a young assistant district attorney. Clyde goes berserk and exacts revenge, as you probably already assumed – and then goes even further (no spoiler alert here), evolving into a morally ambiguous character. Do we sympathize? Roundly denounce? Withhold judgment?
Screening audiences are consistently torn, Butler says. “It was incredible. I was surprised by how the audience gets on Clyde’s side. I think that we all have this sense of injustice and frustration, whether on a personal level, a community level or a national level. Where we feel like our balls have been cut off and there’s nothing we can do. One reason why 300 was so successful is that you saw your heroes kick ass – but not always in the nicest way.”
Two years ago, when Butler began work on Law Abiding Citizen, which he also co-produced, he was originally cast in the role of prosecutor, not criminal. But as he was fighting to round out his character, Butler found himself more attracted to the villain of the script – a terrifying challenge, he says (and one not immediately embraced by his management).
“Comparisons are made the second you take on the role of a psychotic aggressor. To Anthony Hopkins [Silence of the Lambs], to Kevin Spacey [Se7en]. I didn’t know if I would fall flat on my face,” Butler says.
But he had top-notch colleagues to work with in the film. In addition to the Academy Award-winning Foxx,Viola Davis-who received an Oscar nod this year for best supporting actress in Doubt and is one of the few thespians working today who can go toe-to-toe with Meryl Streep in a heated scene – plays the Philadelphia mayor. The real mayor, Michael Nutter, also has a cameo role. “That was one of the most exciting parts of making this movie, the day we knew we had Viola,” Butler says. “She’s a sweet, sweet woman, but her character can be terrifying. Then at the end of the day she’ll go back to sweet. ‘Thanks for the cup of tea’, she’d say.”
Shall we expect a Psycho-esque franchise from Butler? Judging by his next two projects, no. He lends his Scottish accent to Dreamworks’ upcoming animated film How to Train Your Dragon, due out in March. Butler also co-stars with Jennifer Aniston in The Bounty, which the two filmed earlier this year – or tried to film, when rogue paparazzi weren’t getting into the way (rumors abounded that the two were an item). “It was frenetic, for sure,” he says. “A lot of [paparazzi] are really lovely and considerate, but some of them seem to make a point of harassing you on-set. They’re just waiting for that one moment when your smile becomes a grimace.” He laughs, then adds, “Or when you’ve got a finger up your nose.”
Happy 40th Birthday! Sexy Hunk Gerard Butler Through the Years
Happy 40th birthday Gerard Butler! The hunky, Scottish star has melted hearts with his wicked charm and rugged good looks in ‘Reign of Fire,’ ‘300′ and ‘P.S. I Love You.’ Recently, he has given fans an eyeful of his piercing eyes and his hot bod with his battle-of-the sexes comedy ‘The Ugly Truth’ and the heart-pounding thriller ‘Law Abiding Citizen.’
Take a look at the sexy birthday boy as he sizzles through the years!
See the photo gallery of Gerry at ETOnline!
Gerry recently received the GQ Man of the Year award; the event took place in Germany. He gave a very nice acceptance speech.
Gerry has also been overseas promoting Law Abiding Citizen and when in Norway gave a very nice, in-depth interview. You can see it here.
Scots star Gerard Butler ready for homecoming premiere – and hitting 40
by John Dingwall
November 6, 2009
Gerard Butler admits his toughest role yet will be keeping his accent. Hollywood’s most bankable Scot has never forgotten the abuse doled out to Sheena Easton when the 9 To 5 singer played the Big Day concert in Glasgow in 1990.
Sheena was pelted with bottles and cans as she performed at Glasgow Green due to her phoney American tones.
Gerard knows his A-list roles in Hollywood have put him in danger of developing a mid-Atlantic drawl that could spark ridicule when he returns to Scotland for the premiere of his new film, Law Abiding Citizen.
He admitted: “I have to tell you, there’s nobody better or worse than the Scots. They are so patriotic and passionate.
“But we are very quick to say, ‘Ah, you think you are the big man’. And to see anybody being influenced in any way by another culture is a fate worse than death, especially to speak in an American accent.
“I was doing an interview about a year and a half ago in London and I said the word soccer instead of football and for the rest of the interview I could hardly breathe.
“My face was so red. Literally. I am getting it again now.Whenever I think of it I start to panic because the word soccer is so American and because when Sheena Easton left Glasgow she talked with a really strong accent. Then she spent a couple of years in the US and was suddenly talking like an American and saying how much she loved the States.
“In Scotland we were like, ‘B***h, how dare she? Burn her at the stake.’” Clearly proud of his Scottish roots and determined to stay true to them, Gerard hopes he’ll be cut some slack at the movie premiere if he does slip up, if only because his profession demands a certain flexibility of accent.
He said: “Now I have become that guy but at least she was a singer. I have to do these accents.
“In this movie I am playing an American so I am speaking the whole time in an American accent. I have to change how I use the muscles and tip of the tongue and the emphasis I put on sounds.
“I did four movies in a row in an American accent so it can’t not have an effect on how you speak normally, but I hear myself and I cringe. And I go back to Scotland and see them looking at me going,’Oh you b*****d.’ “Yet in America I am still not American.
They still think you have a funny accent and in Scotland you have a funny accent. So I am kind of drowning in the middle of the Atlantic. It’s terrible.”
Having starred in box office-successes as diverse as battle epic 300, romantic comedy P.S. I LoveYou and gangster flick RocknRolla, Gerard now has the kind of clout that enabled him to fix it to have the UK premiere of Law Abiding Citizen, which also stars Jamie Foxx, in Glasgow. The star-studded bash will be held at Cineworld in Renfrew Street on Sunday, November 15.
However Gerry, who graduated in law before finding fame on the big screen, admits his homeland brings him back down to earth.
He said: “The place where I see less reaction than anywhere in the world is Scotland and I think it’s because so much of my success has happened elsewhere.
“I grew up in Glasgow. I spent a lot of time out and about on the social scene, or studying law in the middle of the city, but when I go home I try to spend as much time with my family who now live in the Highlands.
“So I will arrive in Glasgow, get in my car and go straight to the Highlands where often I just don’t see many people. So it’s been harder to gauge the reaction to my success in Scotland because I am not so much around a lot of people any more.
“But for this reason we are having the premiere of Law Abiding Citizen in Glasgow, which is rare. They don’t have premieres in Glasgow, especially not Hollywood movies.
“It allows me to go there and say ‘thank you’ because every part of me that goes in movies is all from my Scottishness, it’s from where I grew up, it’s from the people around me, it’s from my family, it’s from the humour that exists there. That is what made me who I am and brought me here.”
The day before the premiere, the Paisley-born actor will celebrate his 40th birthday with his niece who turns 11, one of four celebrations to mark the milestone.
He said: “I am going to celebrate. I have to do a TV show in London the night before, but it’s a big deal. It’s Jonathan Ross and will be a big thing for me because I have never done it before so it felt nice to do that on the eve of my 40th.
“On my birthday itself I am going to have a party in London which is great because I don’t get to spend a lot of time there any more.
“The next day I am going up to Glasgow where I am having a shared birthday party with my 11-year-old niece, which I am a little bothered about because I deserve all the attention but she is getting some of it.
“No, it’s lovely, so I am going to have a family party with her, then when I make it back to NewYork I will do something there.
“I might even have something in LA as well but I am not going to have any big parties, just little fun ones.”
The plot for Butler’s new movie centres on his character, Clyde Shelton, who goes all out for revenge after his wife and daughter are murdered during a burglary at their home.
Meanwhile, Gerard admits turning 40 has made him consider whether the time might be right to get married and start a family in real life.
He said: “Right now, yes, I question a bunch of things in my life and I am in a lot of ways more comfortable than ever. I know what still excites me, what can excite me and what is just never going to happen.
“But then also there are things I have different opinions on. Sometimes I think, ‘God, I wish I was married now, had kids’. Other times I think, ‘Thank Christ I am not married and don’t have kids yet. I can do that later.’
“But I can totally imagine it. It’s just not right now. I am great where I am at but it would be nice. It doesn’t have to be marriage. It could be to be in a relationship and I would definitely like kids some day.”
Gerard, who scooped an award at the GQ Men Of The Year ceremony on Tuesday night, has been linked with a string of beauties including Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Aniston and claims he has no perfect woman in mind.
“I don’t know because often I feel that I meet a girl that is unexpected,” he said.
“There is no rhyme or reason. I always thought I don’t want a girl who is too crazy, too much for me, and then I meet a girl who is crazy and I go,
‘Wow, she is amazing.’ “But I can’t ever give a definite kind of woman because there are different things in different women I might like.
“I might like a girl who is gentle and innocent, but then again I might like a woman who is more statuesque and strong and powerful, it’s the polar opposites. It just depends on the moment, on the person, on magic.”
Gerard Butler admits marriage and kids could be on the horizon as he hits the big 4-0
300 star Gerard Butler turns 40 this Saturday, the day before his latest movie,, Abiding Citizen co-starring Jamie Foxx receives its UK premiere in his home town of Glasgow.
And the Paisley-born actor admitted hitting 40 has made him reflect on what he wants out of life and whether this might be the right time to settle down and start a family.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily Record, Butler, whose credits include rom com Ps I Love You and gangster flick Rockn Rolla said‘’ Right now, yes, I question a bunch of things in my life and I am in a lot of ways more comfortable than ever. I know what sill excites me and what is just never going to happen.
‘’But then also there are things I have different opinions on. Sometimes I think: ‘God, I wish I was married now, and had kids.’ Other times I think :’Thank Christ I am not married and don’t have kid yet, I can do that later.’
‘’But I can totally imagine it. It’s just not right now. I am great where I am but it would be nice. It doesn’t have to be marriage. It could be to be in a relationship and I would definitely like kids some day.’’
Gerrry also revealed he plans to celebrate the milestone in style – with birthday bashes in Scotland, London and the US all in the pipeline.
‘’I have to do the Jonathan Ross show in London the night before, but it’s a big deal. I have never done it before so it felt nice to do that on the eve of my 40th birthday,” he said.
‘’On my birthday itself I am going to have a party in London which is great because I don’t get to spend a lot of time there anymore.
‘’The next day I am going up to Glasgow where I am having a shared birthday party with my 11-year old niece, which I am a little bothered about because I deserve all the attention but she is getting some of it.’’
‘’No , it’s lovely, so I am going to have a family party with her, then when I make it back to New York I will do something there.
‘’I might even have something in LA as well but I am not going to have any big parties, just little fun ones.’’
Last updated: 06 November 2009, 10:42