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 I get on well with Gerard Butler because we're both working class, says rising star Jay Baruschel

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PostSubject: I get on well with Gerard Butler because we're both working class, says rising star Jay Baruschel    Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:18 am

I get on well with Gerard Butler because we're both working class, says rising star Jay Baruschel

Aug 16 2010 By Siobhan Synnot

HE'S the rising movie star who has been dubbed the next Tom Hanks - but there are times when Jay Baruschel wishes he was the next Gerard Butler.

It's been a busy year for the 28-year-old actor who appears in three big movies this summer, including the magical, newly releaed Disney blockbuster The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

"This is the year of Jay," said the Canadian. "But I'm very aware that I could blow it so easily. It's kind of like serving blowfish at a sushi restaurant - with one wrong cut, I could kill everything."

He says that some of his best advice on keeping his head comes from Butler.

The two worked together on the animated children's film How To Train Your Dragon, playing father and son. It's a paternal role the 40-year-old Scot seems to have taken to heart.

"We text each other all the time," said Jay, who reckons they share a bond because both come from humble origins, Gerry in Paisley and Jay in Montreal.

"We both come from working class backgrounds, and both of us have parents who split up when we were young. And both of our dads were, shall we say, interesting people.

"I really admire Gerry. We have a lot in common and we catch up wherever we can."

But Jay reckons that he and the Scottish hunk make something of an odd couple.

"Someone saw Gerry and I having dinner in New York recently," he said.

"Straight after, they asked me, 'What on earth were you two doing together?' I think Gerry's too gorgeous to be seen hanging around with nerds like me."

Modest Jay, who has a growing fanbase, is on a flying visit to Edinburgh but says he knows the city well after visiting pals here when he was in his late teens.

"I love the sense of humour, and British humour too," he said. "I also love your breakfasts - I have them for dinner. Why not?"

Although he has come to the attention of audiences this year, Jay has been acting since the age of 12.

He has been in plenty of Hollywood pictures before - including Clint Eastwood's Oscar-winning Million Dollar Baby, Tropic Thunder and Knocked Up - but always in supporting parts.

The success of How To Train Your Dragon and teen romcom She's Out Of My League have given him a global launchpad - and The Sorcerer's Apprentice is his biggest film yet, with Nicolas Cage playing the sorcerer.

And speaking of being out of his league, that's more or less how he felt about working with Cage. But he eventually overcame his fanboy nerves and bonded with the eccentric star over comedy and shared musical tastes.

Jay said: "When you work 70-hour weeks together, you start to make each other laugh and get comfortable being together. Before you know it, Nicolas Cage is serenading you with the Incredible Hulk theme song."

"Our conversations were always nerdy - stuff like World War II or the pyramids in Egypt

"I'm a huge nerd, for sure. I don't go out to bars or clubs. I spend all of my free time doing one of three things - listening to music, watching movies or reading."

"I'm every bit as odd as Nic - so I think we were made for each other."

Jay also did his own stunts on set, including throwing fireballs. But although he had done action sequences in action comedy Tropic Thunder, he found The Sorcerer's Apprentice much more demanding.

"I gave myself tinnitus on the set of Tropic Thunder because I refused to wear earplugs when the guns were going off," he said.

"And on this one, I was throwing myself around a lot. I told them I didn't need padding. Big mistake. I was walking around like the Hunchback of Notre Dame for days afterwards."

As for the chance to flex his supernatural action-hero muscles by casting spells all over New York, he added: "I'd be lying if I said I haven't been practising shooting energy out of my hands my entire life."

The film is based on a segment from the Disney classic Fantasia - and Jay claims he was especially worried about doing Mickey Mouse justice in a segment where he recreates the much-loved marching magic mops action from the 1940s film.

"You'd be hard-pressed to find any character that means more to everyone than Mickey Mouse does, so I was really scared, I didn't want to ruin it," he confessed.

"I approached it with a kind of religious reverence - goal one was to pay homage to Mickey and goal two was to look for moments to do my thing."

This fast-paced family adventure is one of Disney's most important releases of the year. But the skinny, nasal-voiced actor says his real cinematic passions lean toward much darker fare, and that his ultimate career goal is to helm horror films.

With all that Tinseltown heat, you might expect Jay to be hanging out in Hollywood - but the proud Canadian - who has a maple leaf tattoo over his heart - is trying to stay in his Montreal home town, wherever possible.

Last time he was there, he says he hung out at the Just For Laughs film festival with Scot Craig Ferguson, who has a successful comedy and talk show career in the US. Again, it is Ferguson's working class Scots background that Jay associates with.

He said: "I understand a lot of Craig's jokes because we grew up on a Montreal street where we were the only family not from the UK. My mom used to call it Coronation Street.

"I hadn't seen Craig's shows he made in Britain but, like Gerry, we have a lot in common. We both love football and both have Celtic tattoos in the same place, our forearms."

There's something about easygoing Jay that means he makes friends easily. Even though his politics are left-wing, he even managed to charm the famously Republican Clint Eastwood when he played a scrawny, spaced-out, wannabe boxer Danger Barch in Clint's Million Dollar Baby.

Jay admits he was nervous when he started work, especially since Clint prefers to direct, rather than chit-chat.

"He doesn't tell you anything about emotion or what you're supposed to be feeling," recalled Jay. "He just tells you where to stand and when to come in.

"He'll only talk to you if it's bad and, on the first day, I had to get used to that. After every scene, I'd say, 'Is that good? Should I do it differently?' Then Morgan Freeman leaned over to me and said, 'If he says nothing, it means he likes it.'

"He's old school. He tells you only what he needs to tell you."

Jay eventually got over his shyness and took the former Mayor of Carmel on for heated political discussions.

"In the end, we agreed to disagree," said Jay. "Let's just say that one of them ended with me saying, 'I guess I'm a pinko.'"

The Sorcerer's Apprentice is out now.
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