Profile - Gerard James Butler
Name Gerard James Butler
Born 13 November 1969, Glasgow, Scotland
Background Raised by his divorced mother in her hometown of Paisley, and Canada, Butler studied law at Glasgow University but allegedly gave up on that career after losing his job at a firm just a week before he was ready to practice professionally. He was later discovered as an actor in a London coffee shop by Steven Berkoff, who cast him in a production of Coriolanus. Butler made his film debut in Mrs Brown, in which he played fellow Glaswegian Billy Connolly’s younger brother. He subsequently alternated between bit parts in blockbusters - Tomorrow Never Dies, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life, and bigger roles in quality British dramas One More Kiss, Dear Frankie. But it was the American TV movie Attila (in which he played the Hun) that was Butler’s big break. Following that, he starred in the film version of The Phantom of the Opera, to the chagrin of fans of Michael Crawford, though Andrew Lloyd Webber was reportedly happy with the actor’s rock’n’roll vocals (Butler used to front Glasgow rock band Speed).
What’s he up to now? Butler’s playing King Leonidas, the starring role in the CG-heavy, super violent blockbuster adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel 300, which dramatises the battle in 480 BC between a handful of Spartan warriors and the might of the invading Persian Empire.
What he says about 300 ‘It’s almost like somebody who was there and witnessed the battle went to sleep and dreamed the whole thing again, because a lot of it is very representational. A lot of it exists in the imagination, so it allows us to take it so much further. It’s an incredible story, but it’s not a documentary. It’s full of passion and politics and brutality, all existing in this hyper-real world.’
Interesting fact Butler’s just finished filming Butterfly On A Wheel, a kidnap drama in which he stars alongside former James Bond Pierce Brosnan. Butler, who had a small role opposite Brosnan in Tomorrow Never Dies, was a strong contender for the role of 007 before Daniel Craig was cast in Casino Royale.
300 is on general release from Fri 23 Mar. See preview.