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Gerald Butler explores the art of brutality in this highly anticipated '300'

Category: 300 News
Article Date: March 8, 2007 | Publication: College Times | Author: Aaron Tavena

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No movie has been more anticipated this year than this Friday's release, "300." Gerard Butler has played some leading roles, but never one with this much buzz. Not only is he pumped for the film, he's actually pumped - after working our more than six hours a day to prep for the role of King Leonidas. Butler recently spoke with CT's Aaron Tavena about kicking ass, kicking ass and, well, kicking ass.

College Times: What did you have to do to prepare for the role of King Leonidas? Gerard Butler: I was training six hours a day for seven months and pumping on set in between shots. So that's one way. The other, having played similar characters before, I've had a chance to play around with how to make yourself look and feel as powerful as possible without becoming stiff. So it was really about drawing that fine line: understanding that it's epic, big and larger than life, but at the same time you have to give this story a heart and a soul. In this role, I'm very, very focused on the graphic novel because the tone and feel (of the movie) and strength and power of these guys is almost monstrous. Here, especially, we're dealing with heroes who are so bold and so formidable and really, in some ways, they're exceptionally brutal. For me, it was really kind of good to focus on that.

How did filming "300" compare to some of the other films you've worked on before? Well, it was all filmed in one big, bloody warehouse, so that was kind of weird. All blue screen, so that was kind of strange as well. It required, physically, more than I'd ever had to give to a role. More time, more effort. It felt like more blood, sweat and tears than anything ever before, but yet in a more controlled way. There was something about this film that always felt that as if we were working, I was creating a role that was in some way typically epic, but darker and edgier than had ever been seen before.

What attracted to you to this picture and this character? I loved the script. I've watched films where I wanted the heroes to take advantage of the opportunity - they know they're right and they know the other person's wrong. It's like "Do anything you can to win and inflict pain on that person." Maybe that's a very unspiritual way to think, but that's what we get to do in the film. We kick ass and kick ass and kick ass, even when you expect something different to happen. That's a cool to thing to be - a warrior who is just ultimately tough and ruthless. It's atypical of a hero. Heroes normally have to tread a moral path with integrity and play fair.

How did you find it working in an all blue screen environment? Well, I've worked with green and blue screens before but it was a very different experience because then when it's only for a shot it seems long and laborious. But in this, the (whole) film is blue screen. Everything was just wrapped in blue. It allowed for us to just get down to the nitty gritty and film the drama and the action and actually have more time to focus on that. But, of course, at times, it's strange, because you don't have natural environments, there has to be a leap of faith and a certain amount of imagination used. But all in all it wasn't too bad. It's a more exciting experience when you finally see the film because you're like "Okay, shit, so that's what was going on."


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