‘Preacher’ actors tell truth
By CINDY ADAMS
New movie. “Machine Gun Preacher.” Stars Hollywood’s incredibly handsome fresh generation. Michelle Monaghan. So stunning elegant that she probably makes chicken soup with Perrier. And leading gorgeous man Gerard Butler? Daily reported romancing every actress but Rosie O’Donnell.
Passionately explaining his role, Butler, in jeans, T-shirt, leather jacket, said: “It’s a true story. I play a former drug dealer who now saves kidnapped civil war orphans from horrors in war-torn Sudan.
“I’m Scottish with this slight lilt, so why I’m picked for this role, who knows, but I’m happy. I understand my character. We share characteristics. The story’s dear to me. Heartbreaking. As strong as a brick in the face. Grabs and pulls you. My only worry was properly handling it.”
About the dangers involved? “I’m from Glasgow, a tough city. I’ve been in Africa before. Kenya. We filmed in South Africa, not the Sudan, which isn’t safe. Two of our people died there while filming. We had carjackings, accidents. I did my own stunts and worried more about getting it right, enduring the complex role’s emotional depths, not the physicality.
“I felt my chances of dying were slim, but one day I pulled a tendon. Another time I’m bleeding because my head was cut. Pellets twice just missed my eye.”
Our conversation spot at MoMA’s screening, commandeered by publicist Peggy Siegal’s assistant Melanie Blum, was a private corner away from everyone. It opened onto an empty elevator into which I nearly fell. Forget Gerard Butler’s hardships.
Michelle Monaghan: “My scenes, playing this man’s wife, filmed in Detroit. They have tax rebates for filming there. This lady was the most complex person I ever played. Nothing simple about her character. She lived a rough life and then found God. And then encouraged her husband, a man going off to war in treacherous places, to also find God. It’s lots of sleepless nights and sacrifices a woman makes.
“My own life aside from all this is simple. I’m from Iowa. A very small town of 700 people. An Australian husband. A 3-year-old daughter. And now I’m so thrilled to be in New York where I once lived. I don’t usually play glammed-up roles. I often play girl-next-door types.”
This nonglammed-up next-door type was swathed in Jason Wu. Not big-time fabric in terms of the arms since he designs for sleeveless Michelle Obama. And, “I like to treat myself to a little something every time I make a movie. As a sort of remembrance. This time I’m buying myself a bracelet.”
I remember hearing myself say, “Oh, great!” as I backed a second time into the open elevator.
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