Nim's Heroes: Gerard Butler As Jack and Alex (Blog)

Category: Nim's Island News | Posted by: DaisyMay
Article Date: May 7, 2008 | Publication: Made In Atlantis: Movies | Author: Deskjet
Publication/Article Link:Made in Atlantis

In a story that is in part about the power of the imagination to shape who you want to be, Gerard Butler gets to play roles on both sides of the reality-fantasy divide:
starring as both Nim’s brilliant, inventive scientist father who finds himself far from home and the dashing, lionhearted fictional adventurer Alex Rover, whom Nim hopescan help save them.

Although the filmmakers had originally thought of casting two separate actors in the roles, Butler, who recently came to the fore as a steely warrior in 300 and then did a romantic turn with Hilary Swank in P.S. I Love You, convinced them to take a more daring approach. “Gerry really inspired us to cast him in both roles,” explains Mark Levin, “because with him as both Jack and Alex it seemed so right and appropriate. He has the range and the charisma to be able to do justice to both characters, to show how they’re really two sides of the same coin, and that really enhances the story-book quality of the movie.

We also loved that there’s a strong tradition of this in classic stories; for example, in Peter Pan, one actor often plays both Wendy’s father and Captain Hook.” Butler reacted with great enthusiasm to the script. “I found it hard to resist,” he admits. “I thought it was so very charming and fun and adventurous. And I was very excited by the challenge of playing two characters at once.”

Each of his characters has his own unique journey. “Jack is a marine biologist with a young daughter and a broken heart,” Butler explains. “He’s a quirky character who’s mostly passionate about plankton, but he goes through something very difficult and emotional trying to get back to his daughter. And then there’s Alex, who’s the
classical definition of an action hero, an Indiana Jones type. He’s bigger-than-life and full of energy and passion.

But he’s also a man who essentially only lives in others’ imaginations, so there’s a lot of humor to him, and the trick is also that he is really the alter ego of Jodie Foster’s character, Alexandra. He’s the one who has to push her to the more courageous side of life.”

The filmmakers’ excitement increased when they began to see the natural chemistry between Butler and Jodie Foster working its magic. “The scenes when Alex gets Alexandra out of her apartment are just a tour de force. They are both so funny and alive and have this great opposite energy that sets off sparks,” observes Paula Mazur.

Butler found that he held great affection for both characters, but says that, in the end, his favorite of the pair was actually the more down-to-earth Jack rather than the invincible Alex Rover. “I really enjoyed Jack because he has such a beautiful, tender relationship with his daughter. Alex was tremendous fun to play, but Jack I felt more in my heart,” he comments.

In playing Jack, Butler especially enjoyed working so closely with Abigail Breslin. “That was the best,” he muses. “She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s humble and, of course, so very talented. The only problem for me was that she had a ‘swear jar,’ and with my being a Scotsman – well, it cost me about half my salary! No matter where I was, she always heard me.” Later, in a gesture Nim herself would no doubt admire, the “swear jar” proceeds were donated by Abigail to the ASPCA.