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Gerard Butler, Leonidas, speaks on Sparta

Category: 300 News
Article Date: March 8, 2007 | Publication: Recess film | Author: Bryan Sayler

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Recess' Bryan Sayler recently had the chance to seek an audience with the king himself, 300's Gerald Butler, who plays the leading role of Leonidas.

Leonidas is a pretty imposing character, what did you do in preparation for the role?

First and foremost has to be the physical preparation, because the physicality leads so much into the character, lending it a real sense of power. So, for that, I was training six hours a day for seven months, and pumping on set on top of that. The other way was just that I tried to figure out how to act as powerful as possible without seeming stiff-sort of towing the line between epic and this place where you still have real soul.

How would you compare this film to some other films that you've worked on?

For one, it was all filmed in one big, bloody warehouse in front of a green screen. So that was kind of weird. But also, it required physically more than I've ever given to a film, in the sense of blood, sweat and tears. But it was also more controlled as well. There was something about this film that felt like we were creating something that was both epic and dark, something that was totally new to cinema.

What appealed to you about the Leonidas character?

For one, the script had this sense of class and elegance, but at the same time was so violent and brutal. And then you come across this character with so much nobility and valor, who immediately has this command and sense of leadership over all these men. Then he just always knows he's right, and that he will do whatever he can to inflict this violence on his enemies. It's like they just know: "We kick ass!"

How did the actors in the film come together to improve one another's performances?

The one thing I'd say is that the cast is just phenomenal. Really, everyone worked as a team, and that really helped capture the whole Spartan ethic. And everyone came together so well. I mean, Vincent Regan, who wasn't in the best of shape, to watch that guy come in with this sense of determination to get into everything. And with the blue screen, you really need one another to come together and try to convey this idea, because otherwise you look around you and realize that you're standing on a piece of fiberglass with a blue background. But for me it was different, because I had to look at all these things that weren't there, these armies and archers. So you also really have to trust the director and the producers.

Did you get to keep any of the swords or shields or anything?

I think I have a spear laying around somewhere. But last night, I realized that I didn't have a helmet, so Zach Snyder promise he'd get me one. I've got to get a helmet.


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