A LAW UNTO HIMSELF

Category: Interviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: March 16, 2002 | Publication: The Sun | Author: Jon Peake
Publication/Article Link:

The Jury's Gerard Butler gave up representing criminals in court to represent characters on screen. Jon Peake reports

The Jury Sun & Mon ITV

Actor Gerard Butler, who plays recovering alcoholic Johnnie Donne in The Jury, might have seen a lot more of the inside of a courtroom if he'd followed his original choice of career path.

"I studied law for five years and trained as a lawyer for two years before I decided to become an actor," says the 32-year-old Glaswegian. "But I hated what I was doing. I liked studying it but not putting it into practice. It wasn't me. I'm much better at acting."

In the final two nail-biting episodes of the drama, the pressure is on the jury to reach a verdict. Outside the courtroom, Johnnie falls off the wagon after being beaten up. It's only later he discovers the fellow juror he's fallen for, Rose (Helen McCrory), is married-and his attacker was her husband Len (Mark Strong).

"Johnnie's fallen in love very quickly," explains Gerard. "But he realises she's been leading him on and he's devastated. She's not been deliberately trying to hurt him, but she should realise how much damage she's doing.

"Len thinks they're having an affair but they're not. Johnnie would love to, but his sponsor Eddie (Tim Healy) tells him it's classic behaviour for a recovering alcoholic, so they agree not to take it further.

"For once in his life, Johnnie's been trying to do the right thing, and he's paying the price for that."

Gerard, who starred alongside Judi Dench and Billy Connolly as John Brown's brother Archie in the award-winning Mrs Brown, is now based in LA.

He went out there following the success of Mrs Brown and, after a shaky start, things took off.

"I took a risk," he says. "But I'd only been there two weeks when I got a part in a TV epic called Attila. Then I stepped straight into Dracula 2001. Going to LA was the best move I ever made."

Gerard can soon be seen in the forthcoming Reign Of Fire with Matthew McConaughey and Christian Bale.

Despite moving to LA, he couldn't resist returning to British TV for The Jury.

"I wasn't really up for doing any more television, but I was filming in Dublin and my agent sent me the script," he says.

"I read it really quickly and loved it and saw playing a recovering alcoholic as a chance to do some gritty, real drama."

Gerard, who's currently single, is often mooted as the next James Bond.

"It was announced on CNN that I was the new Bond and suddenly it was all over the place," he laughs.

"I was getting calls from all over the world. It was crazy. I'm happy with the way things are going for me. I want to try too many things, so no Bond for now."

Copyright 2002 NEWS GROUP NEWSPAPERS LTD