GAME - Gerard Butler Swaps Swords and Sandals for Submachine Guns

Category: Gamer News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: August 3, 2008 | Publication: Empire Magazine | Author: editors
Publication/Article Link:Empire Magazine


Gerard Butler is pumping iron, large amounts of iron - your typical 5st 6lbs weakling - watches with a growing amount of awe and envy as the Scottish actor picks up an enormous barbell and, apparently effortlessly, does about ten reps. Then he throws the barbell in the air and catches it, shifting it into a different position before doing another ten reps.

It's impressive, to say the least. But what's unusual is that Butler isn't in a gym. No, instead he's on a blocked-off Albuquerque street, preparing to shoot a scene for Fame, a futuristic actioner in which be plays Kable, a man fighting to escape a deadly televised game controlled by unseen players. The weights give him an adrenaline rush just before the cameras roll, but they're also testament to Butler's commitment to a role that's turned out to be very physical.

"I wouldn't say it's been that touch, but it's enough to make me seriously consider retiring!" quips the 38 year old, talking exclusively to Empire in between set-ups. "It's the intensity of it. I did a ten-man fight sequence recently, and we did the whole thing over a hundred times. Kable's a warrior, but he's not fancy and he's using pure force and brutality to kill ten guys. And in the middle of that fight I'm getting smashed, I'm falling all over the place. I'm pounding guys! And I had to do it time and time again. That's where, in some ways, I blossom, because when my back's up against the wall, that's when I really turn it on. It's that 300 mentality."

Ah, 300. Butler, or course, kicked inordinate amounts of ass in Zack Snyder's 207 smash. But Game could well be the film that established Butler as the real deal: an action hero to catalogue alongside the Bales, Damons and, yes, Stathams.

Statham, of course, starred in the first film written and directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the deliciously delirious Crank, which Butler came close to starring in. Of course, he thinks he got the better end of the bargain. "If I'd done Crank, maybe I wouldn't have ended up doing this movie," says Butler. 'To me, this is layered. It's showing how society allows real violence into our lives. And Mark and Brian are so naturally talented. They're the guys that understand testosterone and masculinity, and they're just going for it."

They certainly are. As they swagger about the set, be it sharing a joke with the stuntmen or clambering into the camera cars to get up close to the carnage, there's little doubt that their movies - filled with lurid sex, flashy camerawork, twisted humor and characters called, for instance, Rick Rape (played by Heroes' Milo Ventimiglia" - reflect their alpha-male mindsets. But Game also displays fresh maturity. "It's a little more Kubrick than Neveldine/Taylor at times," says Neveldine. "It's about ideas. But it's also bigger action set-pieces."

None bigger than today's sequence, as Kable, driving a rickety truck, is chased down the street by two speeding snowploughs, hellbent on permanently ending his game. As Kable reverses away, he fires a machine gun at one plough, causing it to turn over.

So, when Butler said that Neveldine and Taylor understood testosterone, he wasn't kidding. There's so much of the stuff around today that' it's the first set Empire's visited that should have a spittoon.

But Butler, though a keen embracer of machismo, is wonderfully self-effacing with it. "Kable is like a classic silent hero," he says. "There's a beauty to that, and it also means I don't have to learn so many lines. I've been crossing them out! They said that about Steve McQueen and they'll say that about Gerry Butler." He unleashes an infectious giggle. "He only had three and he took two away!"

GAME IS OUT IN 2009.