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THE BUTLER DID IT

Category: Interviews
Article Date: September 1, 2003 | Publication: Glamour UK | Author: Glamour UK
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Maybe it's the fact that Julia Roberts and Julianne Moore hand-picked him as the actor they most want to work with. Maybe it's the grass-green eyes, the gravelly voice or his outrageous flirtatiousness. Whatever it is, it seems everyone wants a piece of Gerry Butler's Scottish ass. "I auditioned with Julia Roberts two weeks before I got the role in Tomb Raider 2, " he explains. She says, ‘Bill?’ I say, ‘No it’s Gerry.’ And she said, ‘Do you wanna be Bill?’ because that was the name of the character I’d auditioned for in Mona Lisa Smile.”

Actually, Gerry wanted to be Terry, Angelina Jolie's roguish boyfriend and partner in crime in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. "I loved Angelina when I met her. She's so cool. In the audition I kept thinking, 'I'm going to screw this up.' But my character was too good to miss - he's a complete rogue. The kind of guy who's screwed everybody over, including Lara. He's even trained with terrorists. He's not evil, he's just a bad boy." Did he and Angelina hang out together off set. " We got on great, but we never really hung out. She wanted to spend lots of time with her baby Maddox. He's so beartiful and such a little character and she'd give him these mad haircuts like a Mohican."

These are broody words from Gerry, who's rumored, like his character, to be a bit of a bad boy himself. Is it true? "What have you heard?" he laughs. "To be honest, I am very much a bad boy, but with a good heart." So you're of the Colin Farrell school of celebrity? "No. I think Colin makes outrageous comments and uses that image and it's become a bit contrived. Personally, I've learnt to keep my mouth shut." Indeed, an innocent joke he made about Angelina being lucky to work with him, " had the press banging on my mum's door - I hate it. It's an easier life if you don't say stupid things."

Gerry was born in Glasgow and raised by his mum in Paisley. He studied law at Glasgow University but ditched a legal career to pursue acting. "I was never into law. Even now, I never read contracts. I just sign them." He was discovered by Stephen Berkoff in a London café and was thrust onto the stage in the title role of Shakespeare's Coriolanus. Since then he's had a small role in Tomorrow Never Dies ( he's been tipped as a future James Bond), bigger roles in Mrs. Brown and Timeline, and is currently filming Game of their Lives about a US soccer team. Plus he's just been signed as Phantom for the screen version of Phantom of the Opera.

He's been a bit of an action hero off-screen too. He was sitting by the River Tay on a day off four years ago, when he heard a young boy shouting for help from the river. "His mates came over to me and said, 'Please help, our friend's drowning.' I asked, 'Are you taking the piss?' I had absolutely no idea what I was doing but I jumped in. It must have been the worst life-saving exercise of all time. I just grabbed him and swam back. He was unconscious and a guy on the river bank gave him mouth to mouth." Soon after, Gerry was awarded a certificate of bravery from the Royal Humane Society and still seems completely overawed by the experience.

Gerry's full of the unexpected. One minute he takes himself very seriously. The next, he's cracking jokes at his own expense. I met him once before and I was sure he was completely drunk, but he's been teetotal for several years. Why? Were you drinking too much? "Exactly." He doesn't elaborate other than to say, "It's funny being the sober one in a room full of drunk people because you realize how much shit everyone talks. But people were very patient with me when I was going through a bad time."

He's been living the clean life in LA for the past three years but also owns a home in Hampstead, London. He's suddenly single, having spit from his girlfriend of eight months two days before we meet, though he says he'd "love to fall head over heels in love with someone again". Was she famous? "No, Not at all. Actors date other actors because it's convenient. You're on set, they're on set, you bond, and then you leave and it's not real."

So who fares better, British or American women? " that's a tough question.!" He laughs, lighting his fourth cigarette. " This is a generalisation but, on the whole, I'd say American women are probably better looking. They look after themselves, thought in LA they go too far and that's not sexy. But I'm going to move on now because I'm going to annoy people if I carry on talking about this…. I've never dated an actress - well, not that I can think of, but then I do have a terrible memory" - maybe Colin Farrell should watch out.

 


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