Butler's plan is no plan

Category: Interviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: December 17, 2007 | Publication: Winnipeg Sun | Author: KEVIN WILLIAMSON
Publication/Article Link:Winnipeg Sun

LOS ANGELES -- Gerard Butler isn't dining in hell tonight.

But just in case, he's not making plans.

"I'm the guy who, when everything's going great, I'll find every problem that there is -- or possible problems," says the star of the gore-and-graphics-splattered blockbuster 300.

"It comes from a negative place ... but I am good at foreseeing where things might go wrong in the future."

Chiefly, the 38-year-old Glasgow-born actor doesn't want to be pigeonholed as merely the action genre's latest go-to guy -- after all, folllowing such duds as Timeline and Beowulf and Grendel (not to be confused with the recent animated epic), he initially resisted even signing on as sparring Spartan King Leonidas.

"I had decided I wasn't going to do any more historical action dramas and then 300 came along and I couldn't resist it."

The result? A scorching career -- and an avalanche of scripts stuffed with medieval warriors, fierce fighters and graphic novel he-man.

Given this, his newest role -- as Hilary Swank's late husband in the weeper P.S.: I Love You -- might seem a calculated move to separate himself from memories of the Battle of Thermopylae. In fact, Butler had signed on to P.S.: I Love You, which opens Friday, prior to 300.

"I'd still be in P.S.: I Love You. I always want to mix it up. People can too easily draw conclusions in this business -- I'm doing an action film now and 300 was an action film, but I've done four films between and none were action. The challenge of having all these options is having to say no. But a lot of the stuff I'm saying no to I actually like ...

'I DO LOVE WORKING'

"Now I'm busier than I've ever been. I just came across a bunch of stuff I just loved. It's momentum and it's fun. I do love working. I just have to learn to bring it down and relax a little bit. You're reading scripts you love and then they want you to do it -- that's the dream."

And one that only happened despite Butler's best laid plans.

"I trained as a lawyer," he says. "I studied law for five years and worked at a firm for two years and that didn't go so well there. It was seven years of my life and I was a week away from qualifying and I was fired because I was a bit all over the place.

"And the next day I packed my bags and went to London and did what I always wanted to do, which was acting, and organize my life a little bit, which I did, and then the acting took off."

Work in commercials eventually landed him a manager in the U.S. and, against his better judgment, he travelled to Los Angeles. "I almost didn't go and literally I'd been there two weeks and I was offered Attila the Hun, the mini-series that started me off. That led into Dracula 2000 and between those things, my life changed ... It was huge."

Still, Butler says he doesn't regret the seven years spent pursuing a legal career.

"I don't see any of it as lost time. I honestly think if I'd left school and went straight into acting I wouldn't have been successful. I know there's a reason for everything -- I really believe that."

What he learned in law school, he continues, "has really helped me in terms of organizing my career ... There were also other parts of my life that were chaotic and painful -- I needed to go through all that to be able to give what I give now."