Gerard Butler makes film for nieces
FIVE QUESTIONS | Butler takes break from R-rated comedies, action movies for animated 'Dragon'
March 21, 2010
BY CINDY PEARLMAN
Gerard Butler needs a little movie star training. He's the first one to dispel even the best rumors about himself, such as he's dating Jennifer Aniston. ("We're great friends.") He is honest about his characters like the guy in "The Bounty Hunter." ("He's a mess.") And he's equally candid about why he sandwiched in an animated film called "How to Train Your Dragon" into the mix.
"I normally make movies that are R-rated comedies," says the 40-year-old Scottish sex symbol. "Or I'll make a brutal action picture. Meanwhile, I have four nieces and they're always saying, 'Uncle Gerry, can we see your movie?' I'm saying, 'Uh no, I did do that movie, but you can't see it.' So it was nice to do an animated film because I'm taking all the kids to see Uncle Gerry."
In "How to Train Your Dragon," which opens Friday, Butler voices Stoick, a father who must deal with a son who wants to be a Viking dragon hunter but ends up the owner of a young dragon.
1 Was it tough to find the right accent to play the Viking chief in "Dragon"? Was it close to your real Scottish accent?
No, it wasn't me and my accent. It comes from a village about four miles away from where I grew up. Actually, I've just been a huge pain in the ass to these guys [making "Dragon"], because I basically listened to one version of my animated voice and wanted to change my accent and work on the heaviness of the voice. So I went in and re-did some stuff to really feel the voice in that body. It was important that I express him in the right way and I worked on how he related to his son in the movie and the rest of the villagers. Now, I love how it sounds.
2 The dragon in the film is cute and not scary. What scared you as a kid?
This sounds a little strange but when I was a kid, there was a TV commercial that used to come on, and I guess it was for either drunk driving or driving without a seatbelt. It would just show you people driving and an alien in a space suit would appear inside the car and the car would disappear. I was so scared to get in the car because I thought that there was every possibility that an alien was going to appear in front of us in a space suit and zap us and we would never be found again. That is still my biggest fear today.
3 What is your least likable Viking-like quality in real life?
I'm stubborn. It's hard for me to move on. Even on this movie, we'd move on to the next line and I knew they could hear me still practicing the old one. I want to get it right and I'm not finished until I'm finished. I guess that's my stubbornness.
4 As a father in the movie, you have a strained relationship with your son. Did you get along well with your parents?
I actually trained as a lawyer and I come from a family of lawyers, so it was only natural that I would go into the family business. I was very unhappy doing that work. I was fired and told my mom later that day, "I'm moving to London and I'm going to be an actor." I knew she was heartbroken and disappointed and I really dreaded telling her the news. Or at least I thought it was going to be a bad reaction until she sent me a letter and wrote, "As long as you're happy, I will always be proud of you." That was a defining moment in my life. Of course, I'm still treated like a kid, but that's normal."
5 What was the appeal of "The Bounty Hunter," other than getting to take one of the "Friends" and lock her in a trunk?
It's really a funny concept about exes and the love/hate relationship. I have to find her in the film and capture her, but that's not easy because she knows how I tick. I can't really focus on what I need to do. Part of me wants to get back at my ex-wife and haul her off to jail, but another part of me wants to help her out because she's a journalist investigating corruption. So it's just one of those big romps.