Actor jokes about his specialty of no-name characters
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Article Date: March 28, 2005 | Publication: CANADA AM | Author: Beverly Thomson
GUEST: Gerard Butler, Actor, "Dear Frankie"
THOMSON: Gerard Butler may be best known from the film
version of "The Phantom of the Opera", but now he's unmasked
himself for a different, more heartwarming role. He stars as a
stranger in the new film, "Dear Frankie". And Gerard Butler joins
us now from Los Angeles.
Good morning to you.
BUTLER: Good morning. How are you?
THOMSON: Well, I'm well, thank you. "Dear Frankie" is such a
heartwarming story. It's a wonderful film. What drew you to the
script in the first place?
BUTLER: Probably that exact reason. I read the script and it just
touched me. I found it so beautiful and charming and poignant. I
just thought this was something I had to do. I also love Emily
Mortimer as an actress. I think she's wonderful. I had just seen
her in "Lovely & Amazing". In fact, she won the Best Actress at the
Independent Spirit Awards for that. And I thought that I just knew
I'd love the opportunity to work with her.
THOMSON: Yeah, a wonderful story.
What about the fact that you are playing a character that doesn't
even have a name? You're referred to as "The Stranger". You're just
coming off "The Phantom", so you didn't really have a name in that
either. Are you getting used to playing characters without names?
BUTLER: Characters with strange names. Things like Dracula,
Beowulf, Attila, I'm about to play Robert Burns, The Stranger,
Phantom. Yeah, there's a lot of them. I need to do a guy called
Gary or something. It's about time.
THOMSON: [laughs] Maybe Gary, a bad guy. Would you like to do a
BUTLER: Yeah, well, I guess Attila was a bit of a bad dude. And
Dracula wasn't exactly the nicest guy on the planet.
BUTLER: But it's always nice to play a bad -- but not just out-
and-out bad, but explain the motivation, why do they do what they
do, you know, to make it more kind of colourful and interesting.
But no, playing bad is fun. Being bad is fun as well, I'd just
thought I'd point that out.
THOMSON: Oh really? Let's talk about that! [laughter]
What about shooting some of the film in Scotland? I mean, you were
born and raised there. How nice was it for you to be able to shoot
BUTLER: I can't tell you. It was amazing. I felt like I
rediscovered my home city of Glasgow. The sun shone every day for
six weeks. I don't remember that ever happening in my whole
lifetime. And it just took on a whole other hue and another
feeling. And I felt like I was in some kind of foreign city. And
Greenock, where we actually filmed, which is just out towards the
estuary of the River Leven, towards Loch Lomond, I used to go to as
a child, but my memory is of it being kind of overcast. And there's
a lot of history behind that city, when the shipbuilding all kind
of fell apart. So it's quite sad. But it looked so beautiful when
I went back. It was amazing. And you really see, the cinematography
in this movie is just gorgeous. It kind of takes you to another
THOMSON: Yeah, it is beautiful.
Tell me about, I mean, you've obviously enjoyed a phenomenal
amount of success with the films you're doing, "Dear Frankie"
obviously among them. But your career before acting was in law.
THOMSON: What type of law? And when did you decide to leave that
and start acting?
BUTLER: Well, what I was doing just generally wasn't very good
law. No, I studied law at Glasgow University. In fact, I was
president of the Law Society, believe it or not. And then I trained
with a really good law firm in Scotland. But when I was training it
was the civil side of law, so when I was training I was working. So
I spent six months in -- I can't even bring myself to say it --
tax, trusts and executries, residential property, corporate law,
BUTLER: It's gone to me head, just thinking about it. It wasn't
for me. I knew it, and they certainly knew it. [laughs]
Gerard Butler, always a pleasure to speak with you. Thank you for
BUTLER: Thank you. Take care.