Ancient Battle of Thermopylae is topic of dynamic film (Video)

Category: Transcripts | Posted by: admin
Article Date: March 8, 2007 | Publication: CANADA AM | Author: SEAMUS O'REGAN
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O'REGAN: Gerard Butler's new film, "300", is an artistic and action-packed look at the Battle of Thermopylae. It is one of history's most enduring tales of heroism that saw 300 Spartans fight hundreds of thousands of Persian invaders. Yesterday, I got a chance to sit down and chat with Gerard Butler.

[Taped segment begins]

O'REGAN: That's quite a movie you made.

BUTLER: I think so. I think so. I've never been involved in anything like this. And, you know, often you think there's a buzz about your own film because the people that speak to you are normally the producers. But this has gone way to another level, to the extent that you really feel the buzz all around.

O'REGAN: You've seen the final product?

BUTLER: Oh yeah.

O'REGAN: Which must be really strange for you, because when you were filming it it must have been green screens all over the place and talking to things that aren't really there.


O'REGAN: And then you see the final --. There are very few times nowadays when you see something and it is completely and utterly different from anything else that you've ever seen.

BUTLER: Yeah. The way you talk about it is the experience I had as well. I had a chance to spend time in the art department. There's a lot of artistic renderings that were already pretty much how it was going to look. But they were just stills. So, you had to go with that -- and a lot of use of the graphic novel because they're so similar. But after that --

O'REGAN: Every shot is like a poster. You know? Everything is like a painting. Every single frame.

BUTLER: I think the hardest thing that they probably had to do for this film was cut the trailer, because I think often when you watch trailers and it turns out that's the only good shots they have in the film. Every shot in this movie is a trailer shot. And that's great to be involved with.

I mean, it's delicious to look at, just to behold. If there was no story there I would still want to go and see it because it's just amazing. If it was just for the action I still want to go and see it.

But on top of that, it has an incredibly powerful story which, as itself, is a true story, just a mind-blowing feat of, you know, what 300 men did against millions.

O'REGAN: The Spartans were in such -- exactly, they were a warrior culture that the world, from what we know, has never seen a warrior like the Spartan warrior. You didn't have like a sixpack. You had like a 12-pack. Tell me that was CG. The shape you guys were in was incredible.

BUTLER: I knew for this film that I wanted to go to a place I'd never been before. I felt personally I had to go to a place I'd never been before. It was always on my mind.

I'm standing off against a million men. I'm leading 300 of the most bad-ass guys you'll ever see on camera. I have to be them and more.

And the thing is, the more I got into it the more I realized the value of that, that it just became my thing. That became my Spartan code, you know.

These guys, you've never seen the likes of them. Not even today. They trained in a different way because [unintelligible] ... you know, blood, sweat --"Oh, sorry, mate, I just stabbed you in the kidney. Anyway, let's carry on." That's what these guys did all the time. I mean, talk about toughness. It's unimaginable how tough they were.

O'REGAN: What would you say your favourite scene of the film was? I think I'm going to guess.

BUTLER: Yes, selfishly, I love -- just from a pure entertainment, adrenaline point of view -- my "freelance". You know, after the end of the first battle when I just cut through everybody. It's just insane.

O'REGAN: [laughs] It's insane, I agree.

BUTLER: And what's funny is that we did that the first day. And it was so big and epic. It was incredible. It was the first time everybody had really worked together. The whole crew. Now, crews normally get bored -- "Yeah, whatever." I mean, they were up. Roaring. Applauding.

O'REGAN: These guys [studio crew] are pretty good. They're into you.

BUTLER: Is that right?

O'REGAN: Yeah.

BUTLER: I'm hoping for applause after this interview. [laughter]

But it was for the whole thing because it was like 60 stunt guys. I mean, the testosterone, I mean, you could taste it, you could feel it.

And the next day we found out there had been a problem with the camera and we had to do the whole deal again.


BUTLER: And we had to wait until after Christmas. And I knew, I'm going home to Scotland, you know, Christmas pudding, trifle, apple crumble and ice cream, and for days after when you eat all the, you know, the chocolates. So, I had to cut all that. That killed me.

[Taped segment ends]

O'REGAN: A violent film. It's a beautiful film. And there's one pivotal scene where a young girl dies in Gerard's arms. And that is little Alex Beaton. And she's a Canadian actress. There she is with Gerard. She dies in her arms. And she is the daughter of CTV Newsnet's Kate Wheeler.

So, congratulations, Alex. I understand he gave you some great advice on set. We wish you nothing but the best.

"300" opens across Canada tomorrow. Check your local listings.

Click HERE for the video interview.