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Laid-back hero one to watch

Category: Profiles
Article Date: March 23, 2007 | Publication: Birmingham Evening Mail | Author: Graham Young
Source: Copyright 2007 Midland Independent Newspapers

Posted by: admin

THE name's Butler, Gerard Butler - but do call him Gerry.

It's what his friends call him and apparently, especially since moving to America, he isn't very fond of the way the Yanks pronounce his full name. Gerry suits the tall Glaswegian who is renowned for being laid-back and gregarious - that rare Hollywood breed who actually appears to revel in his work and fame.

Of course, Butler isn't A-list famous just yet. Despite leading roles in films like Phantom Of The Opera and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life, he is still that guy who you kind of recognise but can't immediately place.

But new movie 300 has become the biggest March opening in US box office history after taking EUR70 million in its first weekend.

Butler plays King Leonidas, the legendary ruler of the Spartans who took 300 of his men and fought to the death against the incoming Persian army - despite, the myth says, being outnumbered by more than 1,000 to one. The movie's greatest feat is to authentically recreate the lush landscapes and blood-soaked battlefields on a sound stage in Canada via the miracle of CGI.

"Every day somebody else would be carted off to the hospital," Gerry recalls.

"I pulled my groin at one point and damaged my shoulder from overdoing it.

"I was training in LA and then in Montreal on the set. It was intense and I loved it, especially the bonding and the camaraderie.

"But, at the same time, I haven't been to the gym once since we stopped and I have no wish to do so either for quite a while. I did a lot of bodybuilding and then we had the more aerobic side of things with the swords and the shields and the spears.

"We were doing the routines over and over again to get that stamina and that form - to really look like you knew what you were doing."

Until now, Gerry has been quietly mixing small, critically lauded indies like Dear Frankie with big budget Hollywood fare - as well as being touted as a possible Bond replacement.

But the success of 300 can only accelerate his rise.


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