Gerard Butler: Keeping busy with 'Dragon' and more

Category: Interviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: March 24, 2010 | Publication: The Arizona Republic | Author: Bill Goodykoontz
Publication/Article Link:Arizona Republic

Gerard Butler has a movie opening this week. What else is new?

Butler has been a busy man since the success of "300," starring in romantic comedies, action films and more. This time he provides the voice of Stoick, a Viking, in "How to Train Your Dragon," an animated film opening Friday, March 26.

Butler talked recently about the movie, his busy career and competing against yourself, and he was charming throughout. Imagine his half of this conversation in a Scottish brogue, and you'll get the idea.

Question: Every actor who does voice work talks about how nice it is not to have to bother with makeup. Was that your experience as well?

Answer: It's makeup that you do every day. It's putting it on, it's taking it off, it's costume changes. It's often, especially when you do action movies, a lot of applying blood and scars and bruises, and then there's also bumping around and jumping, and picking up those genuine bumps and scars and bruises. You don't have to do that. You don't have to do endless costume fittings.

But also it's just a blast. It's something different to be able to do. The other cool thing is, you're kind of doing it in the dark a lot of the time, or most of the time. It's exciting to be able to wait and see the movie and pretty much partake as an audience member. You're doing your little bit. You don't' see anything. . . . When I saw the (finished) movie, I was pretty much seeing everything for the first time.

Q: And how was that?

A: It blew me away. It was one of those incredibly exciting moments in your career. I'm sad to say it came from an animated film. You stand up and you go, "I am so happy I was a part of that, because this just kicks ass." It's magical.

Q: Why are you sad it was in an animated film?

A: As an actor, you think, "OK, I want to make a great movie where you get to see my physical performance, my emotional performance. You hear me, you see me." Whereas this, it's pretty much the voice.

Q: You transition from action films to romantic comedies to black comedies and more. Why? And how?

A: One reason is because I enjoy (them) as an audience member. I'm watching all of these genres, whether it's a black comedy, a romantic comedy, action comedy, an action movie, an action adventure or a fantasy film, a thriller or a drama. Whenever I watch them - and I've been like this since I was a child - I've always thought, "If I enjoy it, I want to be in it." I go, "I want to do that. I want to be that guy." Now I'm lucky enough to have that chance. For me it's an opportunity to keep things fresh, to keep challenging myself. And also it's a possibility for me at longevity. If the action-movie people suddenly aren't so interested in you in an action movie anymore, it's not like your career is done. You're still in the dramas and the thrillers and the comedies.

Q: And at some point, you get too old for action.

A: I know. Although (Sylvester) Stallone and (Bruce) Willis, they've managed to keep it up pretty well. Maybe if I do get battered too much, I'll become governor of a state. Who knows what'll happen next?

Q: A lot of actors would like to do different genres, but you are actually able to pull it off.

A: Maybe I'm lucky enough to have a certain talent to be able to do all of them. But to be honest, other actors, I think, maybe too often they've taken the easy option, and before you know it, they've lost their chance. For instance, the important time for me was after "300," when I was offered a ridiculous amount of action movies, of sword-and-sandal movies. I could have taken the money and run, but I went off and did "P.S. I Love You" and "Nim's Island" and "RocknRolla." You couldn't find three more different movies. And I knew I was going to lose a certain amount of impetus in the action movies, but I was going to hopefully use my success in "300" to liven up and get started in other genres.

Q: You have "Dragon" opening this week. Last week it was "The Bounty Hunter." Is it weird to be in competition with yourself?

A: It is a bit of a strange predicament. But I do think the movies are so wildly different from each other that, hopefully, one will not hurt the other. It fits in with my schizophrenic personality, I think.