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Gerry! Gerry! Gerry!

Category: 300 News
Article Date: March 12, 2007 | Publication: | Author: Lisa Johnson

Posted by: maryp

This weekend’s $70 million box office gross for 300 is a new March record, exceeding even Warner Bros. most optimistic expectations. However, the studio knew they had something special when, way back when, the film started tracking off the charts not just with men of all ages, but also with women under the age of 25.

There are so many muscles rippling and flexing and popping out all over the bodies of star Gerard Butler and his Spartan cohorts that I had to ask the Scottish actor about it when I recently sat down with him. Certainly, CGI played a part in polishing off the muscilicious looks – just like airbrushing helps women on the covers of magazines. But most of it was earned through blood, sweat and Spartan tears.

“I went through a ridiculous amount of training for this,” Butler tells FilmStew (that’s him above with Rosario Dawson at the recent 300 L.A. premiere afterparty). “It was six hours a day. I took my own trainer on the site when I was here, as well as when we were in Montreal, then we had the film trainer and I pumped on set all the time.”

“That was also a huge part of the mental preparation,” he continues. “When you’re training like that, you are a Spartan… You feel like it, anyway.”

I used to hang with a celebrity fitness trainer and knew that for definition like that, there also had to be some bizarre eating rituals involved. “I was also told that they kept you and everyone else on a really strict diet,” I asked. “What was that like?”

“We had a nutritionist, and Mark, the film trainer, was, uh, the devil,” Butler confirms, with nary the hint of a smile. “You would be training all morning, and then they’d say, ‘Okay, here’s three cashew nuts, and a little cube of avocado.’ And meanwhile, you’re trying to eat the hand of the person who gave it to you.”

“It was tough, but the funny thing is, you get into a pattern,” he adds. “You get used to it, and when you see what happens to you, you say, ‘Okay, I can do that – it was worth it.’”

When I spoke with Butler, he looked substantially less intimidating in his gray suit, white shirt and loose black tie than he does in his cod piece and red cape. Still, I wondered if he’d kept up with the training.

“No!” he answers emphatically. “Not at all. Now I’m addicted to the wrong things again. I don’t know if I’d ever go that far again, but what I’d really like to do is to strike a balance. I’d like to be halfway there on a regular basis, rather than swinging between these two stages.”

“I don’t know if I could ever put across how much training I put into this,” he reveals. “I mean, I love to train hard, but this got to a very obsessive level, and it kind of became its own thing. Even on set, even when filming, when we were putting in 16-hour days, I’d be like, ‘Let’s go, just a few minutes, let me pump. It was constant, and the testosterone and the adrenalin would be going. That lasted for a number of months, so I went straight into the mental asylum afterwards, and I just got out” (twitch, twitch). “But I’m okay now.”

As I got the wrap sign from the producer running the interview room, I couldn’t help tell him that not only was it all from a female perspective well worth the effort, but that doubtless an important chunk of the opening weekend’s salivating throngs was going to be of an entirely different provenance.

“From the perspective of every gay guy I’ve spoken with, it was also worth the effort,” I laughed as I headed out of the room. “Get ready for a huge gay following.”

“Oh, uh, well… Thank you?” Butler sputters. Apparently, even a Shakespearean actor is left speechless by the prospect of preparing for gay idolatry.


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