An Interview with Gerard Butler - Part Two
Category: GB.Net Interviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: February 25, 2002 | Publication: GerardButler.Net | Author: KIM ZIERVOGEL
Once again Gerard Butler is apologizing profusely. He is relatively late in calling me. He's an hour and 40 minutes late to be exact.
He says, "You were probably sitting there thinking 'that bastard, he isn't going to call again.'" Pretty much, yeah. But I figured I couldn't complain he had already given me about the allotted time actors usually give for an interview.
Gerard is stretching and yawning into the phone, loud enough that I have to pull the receiver away from my ear. He finishes my thought with, "That was so rude. I am so sorry." He explains that he was up late the night before. He had attended a gala fundraiser for a new London charity called Breast Cancer U.K., at least that's what he thinks it's called.
He's talking about the most amazing woman he met last night, the organizer of the event. Gerard is explaining how they ended up chatting and somehow her breasts came up in the conversation. Too bad he can't see me rolling my eyes. Uh-huh, go on Gerard. He says he was completely taken aback when she told him they were both going to be removed the following week due to breast cancer.
"She is the loveliest woman with one of the most positive attitudes on life I've ever met," he said.
He had such a great time at the fundraiser that it was one of those nights where he just didn't want to leave. But leave he did and now as the sun is setting over London, Gerard is waking up from a much needed nap.
But before we can get down to more questions he points out that this isn't like a regular interview, that it is more like a conversation. I concur.
Sleep deprivation has not, his sense of humor, taken. It's not long before he is mocking my question asking. I ask him to "tell me about Timeline?" He jokes that he is waiting for my next question. "Your life? Tell me about it." He says, in his best Barbara Walters imitation. Or the next one after that, he continues: "So, Gerry Butler...what do you think?" This illicits laughter from both sides of the phone. He says he hates such broad questions.
Not to be outdone, I remind him of the last conversation and how I simply asked how he was and how he went on and on about what he was doing. We decide that we are mutually to blame for the line of questioning. I refine my Timeline question and ask him if he has read the book.
"I have read the book," straightforward answer. But then he continues on. "The book is fascinating, because one: Michael Crichton is an amazing writer. And it is such an in-depth book covering both the science of that subject - time travel which a lot of scientists believe is possible. And then also that time period, it goes into such detail about what these people would have loved and a myriad of things you would not have thought about. It's great for those details that are founded on almost a factual basis, but I don't like to get caught up too much in books because quite often the film version is very different. When I first read the script I thought I'm not Andre Marek and it just shows you how wrong you can be. Cause that was one of the things they said when they gave me the job was 'you are the most perfect Andre Marek, we don't even think of Andre Marek now, we think of you.' And I find that very bizarre because originally upon imagining I just thought he's not me, he's somebody else. He's a very serious kind of dull guy. But in the end that wasn't what they were looking for. They were looking for someone with a bit of spark."
He is preparing for his role in the Richard Donner film, slated to start shooting in Montreal, Canada, this spring.
Gerard says that sometimes he almost drives himself insane thinking about his character. "I remember my first movie, Mrs. Brown, I thought the movie up quite a bit before it started. I spent so much bloody time dwelling. Sometimes I do the same thing with Marek."
He explains what landed him the role.
"I played him quite like me but with a few differences, and they said 'That's him!'" he practically shouts.
"Here's the thing, you don't want to tinker with that too much. I've had a lot of thoughts about this guy and where he comes from and his philosophy on life. I think a lot of this will just come out when we get onto the set."
Gerard spent two years of his life in Montreal as a baby and he has no recollection of it. He visited the French-speaking city for two days while filming D2K in Toronto. Although he studied the language for five years at school, he didn't retain a word.
"Being a typical Scot, I don't really have the confidence to try. I managed to spend nine weeks in Spain once and managed to learn five words."
With the sound of banging pots and running water in the background, I ease him into the whole James Bond rumor mill. He is less than enthused to talk about it. Last spring the British press named Gerard as the next actor to step into the 007 persona. The international media went nuts. Everyone from CNN to www.darkhorizons.com reported this. Gerard may have fueled the fire when he jokingly proclaimed on an early morning talk show, that the only way he'd be the next Bond is if (Scottish politician??) Anne Widdecomb could be his Bond girl. As recently as January the rumors have persisted with whisperings of meetings with Eon Productions. Gerard's back is up and he says he has never had any open discussions about his playing the next Bond.
He does say though that he has met with the president of production for MGM and they talked about various upcoming projects.
"Being an actor, being Scottish, being successful, makes you perfect Bond fodder, I think."
Gerard is distracted by a firework display that is going on somewhere outside his flat. He theorizes it must be for Princess Margaret who passed away during the night. He is sipping on a strawberry protein shake. He claims it's about the only thing he can make without screwing it up. Water, powder, shake, and drink. His beverage of choice though is a Starbucks coffee. Gerard says he can be found in a Starbucks up to ten times a day. He says the boy who works at the one down the street from his place keeps giving him his coffee for free.
"I told him he had to stop or else he was going to lose his job." But Gerard seems pleased with this perk and maybe even a little embarrassed by it.
Why we're being serious and talking up stories that won't go away, I squeeze in the one about his leaving the law a week before he became a full-fledged lawyer to take up acting. The story is a little different today.
"I was a week from finishing when I was called into the boss's office and was fired," he states flatly. But he wasn't really concerned. He had already made an unconscious decision to leave law. He hadn't applied to work anywhere and didn't really care that he was about to be unemployed. And admittedly he wasn't even good at his then-chosen profession that he had just dedicated the last seven years of his life to.
"I was as much given up by them as I gave them up."
Gerard says the fact that they had given up on him gave him a good kick in the ass and left him with a blank sheet. Literally, the next day he left for London and begun to do what he really wanted to do, act.
"When you are the head boy of your school and you went to your school counselor and said you wanted to be an actor it would have been frowned upon." So he bucked up, swallowed his dream and followed his family's advice to use his good grades and get something behind himself before going into a fanciful career. He has no regrets in making the career choices he has made.
"Things wouldn't have happened for me the way they did," he reflects. "Or I may be dead."
The whole time he was training as a lawyer he was a wild child. It was during this time that he was part of a rock band called Speed. The mere mention of it brings Gerard around and once again he is in playful mood.
"God! I'd love to play in a rock band again!" He laughs excitedly as he races over to his stereo pops out his Omar CD, but not before making me listen to some of the decidedly jazzy music, and searches for Speed's demo tape. He explains that he buys anywhere up to 15 CDs at a time and has an extensive collection of music.
Gerard finds the demo tape and pops it in. He plays a few bars to a song called "Going Down Slow." It's edgy, guitar-driven beats echo through the flat and across the phone lines. The vocals are solid and could be a fairly strong single even now. The song was written about Gerry by one of his best mates, the lead guitarist.
"It's about experiencing the more dubious pleasures in life as you crash and burn," you can hear the grin spreading across his face.
With Gerard on lead vocals, he was backed by two friends from university, three other lawyers and one was "just a freak," he laughs.
"We did some fantastic gigs, gigs like they were straight out of The Doors movie. They were just blinding packed and sweating. Dancing on tables and chairs and swinging and falling," his words come fast. "It was just wonderful and I love the band."
He pauses, sighs and adds, "But you never knew what you were going to get with me, if I was going to turn up and do a cracker or if I was going to turn up and get into a fight and forget all the words."
He said singing and performing live was a buzz but a different kind of a buzz that one gets performing in theatre.
Gerard calls theatre a more fulfilling style of acting and says it is a great base to build any technique off of. Although he started his career in theatre, he doesn't have any plans to tread the boards any time soon.
"Right now I'm on a roll in films and I think it would be stupid to walk away from that."
I tell Gerard that I am out of questions and that our time has come to an end. Once again he apologizes for not calling sooner. I say he can make it up to us by calling the web designer of GB.Net, Tamara. He laughs and asks for her number. With her number in hand, we say our good-byes. Her call comes faster than mine did. But how can one stay angry at a man who could melt an ice berg?