The Gerard Butler story - WE REVEAL STEAMY STORY BEHIND CINEMA'S HOTTEST HUNK
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|Subject: The Gerard Butler story - WE REVEAL STEAMY STORY BEHIND CINEMA'S HOTTEST HUNK Sun Aug 08, 2010 6:25 pm|| |
This seems to be pieced from interviews that we've already read before. But it's seems to be put together fairly well and is fairly accurate. This is Part 1 of 2 parts. (I'm not sure what the URL title indicates....new book? It is the News of the World....so I'm not sure.).
The Gerard Butler story
WE REVEAL STEAMY STORY BEHIND CINEMA'S HOTTEST HUNK
By Scott Hussey, 08/08/2010
MOVIE hunk Gerard Butler is one of Hollywood's most bankable stars - bringing box office success whether he's flexing his muscles in action flicks or making women go weak in rom-com romps.
IN the first of a two-part special, we chart his incredible life, from his humble Paisley beginnings to the wild drunken antics and failed law career that saw him eventually turn to acting... and become one of the world's top stars.
HUNGOVER, unshaven and exhausted from weeks of hard partying, Gerard Butler stood before his legal firm's stuffy senior partners to be asked: "Can you think of a reason why you should NOT be dismissed?"
Even though he had studied law for four years and was just ONE WEEK away from making his mother the proudest woman in Paisley by qualifying as a lawyer, Gerard had no answer.
All he could ponder was a catalogue of incidents from a lost year which had seen him HURL himself at a police car in a drunken stupor; end up SHACKLED with eight other cons in LA; and ROCK an Edinburgh fringe crowd into the small hours as lead singer in a band.
The trainee solicitor had no defence - and was promptly and unceremon- iously fired.
"I became quite infamous in Scottish legal circles. It's very difficult to be fired as a trainee lawyer," he recalls.
"That was the worst day of my life. Now it's the best," he adds.
It was a turning point - the moment Gerard decided to follow his true vocation and head for London to become an actor.
Gerard, now 40, went on to see his name roll on the credits for a string of small and big-screen productions, including Mrs Brown, Lara Croft Tomb Raider and The Phantom of the Opera.
Then, four years ago, he played buff King Leonidas in 300 and Hollywood started to come calling.
He has since starred with a string of big-name leading ladies, including Hilary Swank in P.S. I Love You, Jodie Foster in Nim's Island, Katherine Heigl in The Ugly Truth, and Jennifer Aniston in The Bounty Hunter.
And he has had hard-hitting roles with Jamie Foxx in crime thriller Law Abiding Citizen, Gamer and in Guy Ritchie's action flick RocknRolla. Now there are four more films in the pipeline, including Burns, in which Gerard plays Scotland's most revered poet.
Fair to say he won't need to research the bard's bad boy lifestyle too hard. In the year leading up to the termination of his legal career Gerard embarked on a debauched spree of boozing, womanising and wild living.
Aged 22, he took a year off from his legal studies and headed to LA - where he was arrested repeatedly for drunken behaviour.
He says: "This is when things started to go a little crazy.
"Something very compulsive and dark and lusty and pleasurable but damaging took over.
"It was suddenly knowing I could go out and have a life of travelling, craziness, adventure, partying, women, and all the other things that go with that - including a sense of abandonment.
"Being away from home and not having the same kind of discipline and structure in front of me meant I could do whatever the f*** I wanted, and I did.
"For a while, I was living in an apartment in Venice Beach with three Irish guys who drank every day. It was perfect - we just got smashed. I started getting odd jobs. My buddies turned up one day and said they'd gotten a job working in a carnival that was going around the state fairs in California. In this year out of school, I did many things.
"I drove from LA to Miami, from LA to Chicago, from Miami to Chicago. And I kept getting arrested for stupid stuff, basically just being too drunk.
"I was out of control, and justifying it with this idea that I'm young, this is life - this is me just being boisterous."
He goes on: "I remember getting arrested once and they actually put me in shackles.
"I was walking around chained to eight other guys - and technically, I was still president of the Law Society in Glasgow.
"I ended up in LA County Jail. I was in a cell with my 501s and my tight leather jacket and my long hair thinking I was Jim Morrison."
He had been arrested for trying to jump on to a police car.
"They had already told me to move on because I was running about and being crazy.
"Then the next minute, I saw these lights coming towards me. I used to be crazy when I was drunk and I ran full-speed at the car. It was driving towards me and I was about to jump on to it, and the light started flashing."
He believes the incident perfectly illustrates why he is so hot as an actor. "The reason so many Scottish actors have done so well is that we have a lot of passion and sensitivity - and insanity, as well.
"We have a lot more going on, to be honest, than what your average American experiences in his life, and therefore we have more to say in cinematic terms."
Gerard was moulded by his upbringing in Paisley.
His bookmaker father Edward fled to Canada to avoid punters he owed money to. Wife Margaret, then pregnant with Gerard, was left behind. When Gerard was six months old, Margaret took him, brother Brian, 44, and sister Lynn, 43, to Canada to join their father.
After two years, her marriage had broken down so she gathered the children and returned to Paisley.
She and the three children moved in with her mother May, who lived in a two- bedroom ground floor flat. Margaret put herself through secretarial school to make a living.
"I was born into a world of anxiety," Gerard says. He survived his childhood by losing himself in sport and in film fantasies. "I was a very, very feeling boy," he recalls. "My memories are mostly of feeling the intensity of things, especially in sports - football, badminton or volleyball - and thinking I was going to explode.
"I spent a lot of my childhood playing out movie scenarios in my head. I'd walk along the road, pretending like I was in the army, talking on the radio, doing manoeuvres. I dreamt a lot of performing in movies and living in fantasies."
As Gerard got older, the seeming impossibility of becoming an actor started to torment him.
"The idea of me fantasising about becoming an actor quickly led to depression," he says.
"No, it was never going to happen to me. I was a 16-year-old kid on the other side of the world from where they made movies."
But acting had captured Gerard's heart. Aged 12, he appeared as an urchin in a stage version of Oliver! at Glasgow's Kings Theatre. Three years later he declared to his mum that he wanted to be an actor. At 16 he joined a Scottish Youth Theatre summer programme.
But his acting ambitions were cut short by a promising career in law - to the relief of his family.
Gerard had performed well enough at school to earn a place on a law course at Glasgow University.
The legal profession held an allure of prestige, but from the start he knew his heart was not really in it.
"I wasn't going to be an actor. I was going to be a lawyer. I came from a family just above working class, just below middle class, a great family of wonderful values. The idea of me having a chance for a law degree was enticing. Enticing to me but also to my family. Wow, one of our own is studying law at university!"
He initially performed well, despite a minimum of effort.
"I've always kind of had the luck of the devil, even in law school," he says. "I kind of blagged my way into the position of president of the Law Society.
"I'm not the most academic of guys. Considering the amount of work that I put in, it's amazing that I got through law school. And with an honours degree."
But an undercurrent of unfulfilment started to manifest itself in heavy drinking.
Then, when Gerard was 22, his father died from cancer.
They had reconciled when Gerard was 16 and had grown close. Edward's death, aged just 54, affected Gerard deeply.
"I had gone from a 16-year-old who couldn't wait to grasp life to a 22-year-old who didn't care if he died in his sleep," he says.
When he returned to Scotland from his year-long blow-out in the US, what little enthusiasm Gerard had held for becoming a lawyer had completely evaporated.
But against the odds, the 23-year-old bagged a highly-competitive placement as a trainee solicitor at a leading law firm.
"There were 200 applications for that firm, and they were only taking four people," he says.
The day of the interview, he was recovering from post-exam celebrations and was late.
"I was really out of it when I did the interview. I used a few 'aids' to get up, and by the time I arrived, you couldn't shut me up. I ended up having a great interview and getting the job.
"But when I put on a suit and a tie, I became desperately unhappy."
To let off steam he joined a band - Speed of Life - with a legal pal Alan Stuart.
"Gerry was quite wild in those days and you never knew what he was going to do next," says Alan.
"The band had a residency during the Edinburgh Festival in the Fringe Club. They used to pack the place out and rocked it till it shook.
"They had to hire security as things could get a bit 'lively'."
Gerard recalls: "I should have seen it coming. I knew I wasn't going to make it through the Festival because it's crazy - comedy festivals, music festivals, dancing festivals, and more than anything, drinking festivals." He was right.
The Festival cost him his career in law - but it also put him on the road to Hollywood fame...
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|Subject: Re: The Gerard Butler story - WE REVEAL STEAMY STORY BEHIND CINEMA'S HOTTEST HUNK Sun Aug 15, 2010 6:30 pm|| |
THE GERARD BUTLER STORY WEEK 2: HOW SCOTS STAR LANDED HIS FIRST BIG BREAK
WILD MAN Gerard Butler watched a stage production of Irvine Welsh classic Trainspotting and knew what he had to do... CHOOSE LIFE!
And that meant ditching his legal career and following his dream of making it as an actor.
"The guy playing the lead role was phenomenal. It was such an incredible atmosphere. And I was dying inside," recalls Gerard, who saw the play at the Edinburgh Festival.
"This is the life I wanted to live. I told myself, 'I can do this. I know I can do this. But it's past now. It's gone. I'm 25. I missed that opportunity'."
But days later he'd been sacked from his law firm - where he was within a week of qualifying as a solicitor - and was embarking on an acting career.
At the age of 27, Paisley boy Gerard left Scotland and went to London, where he sought the help of his only contact, a minor casting director.
What she said was not encouraging. Gerard knew nobody in the film business. He had had no acting training. Without any other options, he ended up doing odd jobs, handing out leaflets for boilers, demonstrating wind-up toys and selling PCs in shopping malls.
But he soon got his lucky break. Actor Steven Berkoff, famed for his villainous roles in Rambo and Octopussy, was casting for a stage production of William Shakespeare's Roman tragedy Coriolanus.
Berkoff, 72, agreed to let Gerard read a part. He was so impressed by Gerard he actually gave him the main role.
Gerard, who is now set to star with Ralph Fiennes in a Hollywood film version of Coriolanus, explains: "I was doing telemarketing, walking around shopping malls trying to get people interested in computers when I didn't even know what I was selling. Then this casting director said I could help her in giving out pages to the actors for a play done by Steven Berkoff.
"Anyway, I ran into Berkoff in the coffee shop downstairs and said, 'I'd love to read for this'. He said, 'Sure, why not?' I gave it everything.
"Afterwards, the casting director came up to me almost in tears. She said, 'You're the best he saw in two days!' Walking home was probably the happiest moment of my life, when there's an energy in you that can't be put down."
Berkoff says: "It was his first break - it was the first time he'd stepped on the stage. I had a casting woman and I was looking for actors for Coriolanus because I was replacing a few actors who couldn't do it.
"My casting woman Sue said, 'I've brought along this chap just to read'. When he read, he did it with such enthusiasm and earnestness that he was far better than the principal actors who we were auditioning and yet he wasn't even an actor then.
"He just had a desire for it and an intelligence, a quickness of wit and of course that wonderful Scottish brogue. He was so defined as a warrior for a Roman play.
"So then I said he could be in it. Sue said, 'Are you sure? He's never even done anything. He's just a beginner'.
"So I said, 'Yes, I'm quite sure'. Then he came in and that's how it all started. He took to it like a duck to water.
"He was still going through some torments when he was working with me, but I could see him improving."
Gerard went on to appear in a string of hits, with roles in Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, Attila and The Phantom of the Opera. He has also had major leading man roles opposite Katherine Heigl in The Ugly Truth and Jennifer Aniston in The Bounty Hunter.
Berkoff says he was "gobsmacked" by Gerard's success, but urged him to be more selective in the films he chooses. He says: "I usually work with actors who've got very strong focus and are courageous so a lot of them do really well. Gerry wouldn't be the first one. Even so, I'm gobsmacked by his success. I think he's progressed very well but he's got to be a bit more selective now.
"He's got to chose roles that have greater depth. I don't like him doing those romantic comedies.
"The only time I really saw him have tremendous charisma and depth was in 300. He came over absolutely phenomenally. It was an absolutely fantastic performance. That's what he should be doing - not these quick one-liners and cutesy roles.
"Sometimes though it's not what you choose but what you get offered. If he can choose, and he chooses the right films, I think he can go a long way.
"He is very, very self-disciplined and focused. He has a tremendous energy and a real power."
Berkoff adds: "I don't speak to him at all now because he's a Hollywood boy, isn't he? I last met him about three or four years ago.
"But he has expressed his gratitude to me and I'm thankful for that. He's a good working class Scottish lad and has an integrity about him."
During rehearsals for Coriolanus, Gerard heard about the auditions for the stage adaptation of Trainspotting, which he had seen in Edinburgh.
A year after seeing the play he was back in Edinburgh - but this time he was starring in the play after landing the part of Renton, played by Ewan McGregor in the film.
Moving to London had given Gerard the opportunities he craved.
He says: "I had no connections, no experience, no training, and no prospects. Everybody was laughing at me. Everybody was thinking I'd just messed up my whole career.
"I know that changing careers was what I needed to do. But what the hell was I thinking?
"You have to understand that I was completely out of control.
"If I hadn't been so lost and insane, I'd still be a lawyer.
"Misery is a sign that something is wrong, that your life is in need of some big changes.
"I knew moving to London was a huge risk. But I said to myself, 'I'm aiming for the stars.
"I'll worry about the details later'."
Then came his film break in Mrs Brown. He landed the part of Archie Brown, the brother of John Brown - played by Billy Connolly.
During a break from filming, Gerard went with his mother Margaret to enjoy a picnic on the banks of the River Tay.
He heard shouts from a young boy who was in danger of drowning. Gerard dived in and saved him and earned himself a bravery award from the Royal Humane Society. Over the next three years he worked on a series of projects on the small and big screen, including a minor part as a naval officer on Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.
Playing the leader of the Hun in hit US television series Attila, a prelude to his macho role in 300, brought him attention in the US and laid the foundation for things to come.
Another role that got him noticed was the lead in a film adaptation of stage musical Phantom Of The Opera.
Hollywood heavyweights Antonio Banderas and John Travolta had also been tipped for the lead.
Gerard says of his portrayal of the angst-ridden Phantom: "I didn't see my father for 14 years, and he turned up one day and I didn't even know he was alive. So, there were a lot of powerful things to draw on. You know, through my own self-abuse I went to some pretty dark places, so that when I read this script, I could believe they were synonymous with the feelings of the Phantom."
But it was his role in 300 that catapulted him to fame - and with it came an intense focus on Gerard's love life.
He is quick to quash rumours that he dated co-stars such as Friends star Jennifer Aniston.
Those rumours have usually coincided with publicity for film launches.
He believes he has sacrificed the romantic side of his life for his film career: "It would be great to settle down but at the same time I sometimes think if anything had happened differently and I was in a long-term relationship I wouldn't be where I am now.
"If I'd had to make the sacrifices that a relationship would have required, I'd probably have been a lot happier in some respects, but I wouldn't have been as successful. I wouldn't have advanced as far in my career.
"I'd love to have children, but I won't be the only 40-year-old that doesn't have kids.
"I'll be happy when it happens. I'm realistic about that. A lot of happiness comes out of the excitement of watching your career progress and jump forwards and there's also a lot of happiness you can get out of being in love and being in a relationship.
"The comfort and foundation you take from that is not something you get when you're being crazy busy and successful and travelling all over the place because at the end of the day you're not in a relationship." There would be no shortage of takers. Gerard has tens of thousands of devoted fans, who call themselves the Tarts.
Mother-of-two Tamara Halstead, from Virginia in the US, set up fan site GerardButler.net in 2001. It has since had more than 10 million visitors.
Hardcore members flock to Scotland for conventions. At one a few years ago, Gerard's family, including his mum, two of his aunts and stepfather Alex Coll, 68, were guests of honour.
Mum Margaret, 67, a former coffee shop owner, told the crowd: "I can't tell you how highly he thinks of you and the love, encouragement and support you give him."
Gerard insists stardom has not changed him.
"You are still the same person who has to deal with getting out of bed every morning," he says. "It's weird. I think there's a part of you that always imagines if you encounter success, every fibre of your being will change. And you don't. You're still, 'Oh, so-and-so didn't call me,' and 'F***, I have to take care of that bill'."
One thing he does regret about his fame is losing his Scottish accent.
He admits: "I've spent a year-and- a-half now playing roles as an American and I'm not comfortable enough doing those accents only when we film, so I have to keep it up all the time. I hate myself for doing that."
His fondness for his Scottish roots remains strong.
He beams: "I love everything about the Scottish people: their warmth, humour, potential for violence.
"Nobody from Glasgow goes into acting. You were seen as weird if you wanted to be an actor. But I don't mind. It's what I always wanted to do."
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|Subject: Re: The Gerard Butler story - WE REVEAL STEAMY STORY BEHIND CINEMA'S HOTTEST HUNK Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:32 am|| |
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|Subject: Re: The Gerard Butler story - WE REVEAL STEAMY STORY BEHIND CINEMA'S HOTTEST HUNK Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:39 am|| |
I find Berkoff's comments interesting. Does anyone else?
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|Subject: Re: The Gerard Butler story - WE REVEAL STEAMY STORY BEHIND CINEMA'S HOTTEST HUNK Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:56 pm|| |
It's what we've been saying all along, Nay. He needs to choose his roles more carefully. It doesn't seem that he has reached that part entirely yet...Ashton Kutcher, indeed.
|Subject: Re: The Gerard Butler story - WE REVEAL STEAMY STORY BEHIND CINEMA'S HOTTEST HUNK Today at 8:17 am|| |
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