Gerard Butler heats up the summer

Category: Interviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: August 28, 2009 | Publication: USA Today Weekend | Author: Brian Truitt
Publication/Article Link:USA Today Weekend

Nobody can question whether Gerard Butler is a true action hero on the big screen. In real life, though, he may have some work to do. Just ask Jennifer Aniston.

"Her life was in my hands," Butler says with nervous laughter.

While filming a chase scene with Aniston this summer in Atlantic City for a movie, "The Bounty," due out next year, his car hit her pedicab a little too hard. No one was hurt, but Aniston "did question me a couple times on just how adept I am at driving," he says. "She's still alive, so I guess I did all right."

In a way, it's not too surprising that they ran into each other. Lately, the Scottish actor with the big biceps and roguish good looks has been difficult to avoid. Next week, Butler stars in "Gamer," his second movie of the summer. The action film comes right on the heels of "The Ugly Truth," a romantic comedy in which he starred opposite Katherine Heigl.

Although guys know Butler for high-octane, kick-butt roles (remember the blockbuster testosterone-fest 300?), his stock continues to rise among women, who may recall him from 2004's "The Phantom of the Opera" (can you say Sexiest Man Alive 2010?).

"I wouldn't say I walk down the street and people start screaming," says Butler, 39. "Listen, I would love to play all coy and say, 'Oh, no, I don't get into that.' I would rather know I was being appreciated first and foremost as an actor, but if people, as part of that, think 'Gerard's sexy,' then great!"

Born in Glasgow and raised in Paisley, Scotland, Butler graduated from law school, but his heart wasn't in it, and his work showed it. He turned to acting upon being let go from a law firm days after he was hired. He currently splits his time between homes in New York, L.A. and London.

In a deep brogue, Butler talks openly about his hard-partying past. He says he stopped drinking about 10 years ago and then was inspired to quit smoking two years ago, when starring in "P.S. I Love You" with Hilary Swank. In the movie, his character dies of cancer. It was a wake-up call that, along with going dry, "saved my life."

"That's right. I have pretty much nothing left in my life as I sit with a bottle of still water in my hand," Butler quips. "I'm asking, 'Where did it all go?' "