Bob Thompson: RocknRolla's Gerard Butler's got Game too (Blog)

Category: Misc./General Career News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: July 11, 2008 | Publication: National Post | Author: Bob Thompson
Publication/Article Link:National Post - The Ampersand

Fans of Gerard Butler -- and I know you’re out there -- appreciate the fact that the affable Glaswegian can go either way.

Butler can do sweet and charming as illustrated by P. S. I Love You and Nim’s Island. And he can also kick butt with the best of them as his Spartan king underscored in his break-out movie 300.

Looks like the 38-year-old returns to the action front for his next few films. In Guy Ritchie’s gangster picture RocknRolla -- set to premiere at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival -- he plays One-Two, a gritty street-savvy crook involved in a real-estate scam.

In the futuristic thriller Game, out this fall, he’s cast as Kable, the top-ranked warrior running for his life in a video blood sport called Slayers.

OK. So after his huge hit 300, producers must be opening up the treasure chest to sign up the actor. Maybe and maybe not.

“You know what, the money is better, but not in every job,” Butler says. “The first couple I did after 300 I was still taking less money than I did on Phantom of the Opera because I wanted to do them.”

For instance? “Guy Ritchie,” says the actor. “I wasn’t going to have them pay me a lot of money on RocknRolla. The thing is I’m still going by what’s interesting and if you want to stay doing interesting jobs you can’t always get a payday.”

In the end, he’s thrilled with RocknRolla, and predicts the crime thriller will return Ritchie to his lofty Snatch status.

Game was more of the same must-do kind of movie, although much more demanding on Butler. “I probably had to run through 200 explosions in that one,” he says of the shoot in New Mexico earlier this year.

One particular sequence still resonates with him. “I’m wearing like a skimpy combat shirt, but it’s rolled up to here,” recalls Butler. “And the fact is that there’s a whole building exploding behind me and just before we go, they say ‘Everybody, make sure all your skin is covered. And stay at least a hundred feet from the explosion.’

Shaking his head, Butler adds with a smirk, “I’m twenty feet maybe.”

He survived that and many more special effects like it. And all things considered, he can’t wait for audiences to see Game results. “It’s different than anything I’ve ever seen,” he says.

Meanwhile, Butler grins and bears the fame and the recognition that makes him more public than ever intended to be.

“I do get recognized and the problem is that when I am recognized the reaction is often very strong just because of the kind of movie that 300 was or even sometimes Phantom,” he says.

Phantom? Really?

“Phantom’s a movie that you either loved or hated,” reports Butler. “But if you loved it, you really do, and I’ve seen some very, very strong and passionate reactions.”

-- Bob Thompson