Gerard Butler’s Point Break remake stunts too scary for stuntmen
GERARD Butler says the action sequences in his upcoming Point Break remake are so gnarly, even professional stuntmen won’t cut it.
“They are going to use the best of the best,” revealed the 44-year-old Butler who started work on the $150 million action fantasy Gods of Egypt in Sydney last week.
Garrett McNamara, who holds the Guinness World Record for the largest wave ever surfed after riding a 78-foot tall break off the coast of Portugal in November, is on the payroll.
So is BASE-jumper Jeb Corliss, who famously leapt off the Eiffel Tower.
Butler, who nearly drowned while shooting Changing Maverick in California in 2011, is something of a thrillseeker himself.
His idea of a holiday is camping on a glacier in Iceland or trekking in the Himalayas.
“But I also like my lack of adventure, too. I actually love meditation. I chanted with the Buddhist monks in Thailand. That was kinda awesome.”
While the strapping Scotsman intends to work on his free climbing and surfing skills before he embarks upon what is sure to be a physically gruelling six-month Point Break film shoot, even he knows when to call it quits.
“I don’t know yet whether I will be jumping out of aeroplanes. I want to. I would love to,” says Butler, clearly ready for that kind of thrill.
“But BASE jumping, I don’t think they will let me do. And squirrelling (landing from a wingsuit flight without deploying a parachute for the uninitiated) — that’s probably a bit much.
“I am not even pretending that I will come close to any of those things, but you still have to be au fait with hanging off a mountain and hanging around big waves.”
Butler has been cast as Bodhi, the character played by the late Patrick Swayze in the original 1991 film, directed by Kathryn Bigelow.
Former Home and Away actor Luke Bracey, 24, is Johnny Utah, the role made famous by Keanu Reeves.
The Point Break reboot, which will film on location in Tahiti, Venezuela, Mexico, Italy, Switzerland, France and Germany, recasts the two protagonists as environmental terrorists.
“These guys are poly-extreme sports athletes on a quest to get through eight suicidal challenges,’’ says Butler.
“Their whole journey comes from a reverence for nature rather than stealing money to fund their adventures.’’
2014 is shaping up to be a bumper of a year for Butler, in Sydney to train for the role of the villain in Alex Proyas’ Gods of Egypt, which starts shooting at Fox Studios next month.
“It’s the largest budget movie I have ever worked on. It’s huge in every dimension. It’s huge in its scope. And it’s story. And visually. (I, Robot’s) Alex Proyas is the man. Everything about the movie feels bang on.”
NSW landed the epic blockbuster, which also stars Geoffrey Rush and Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, after a fierce bidding war with Victoria.
Proyas has previously shot movies in both cities — Dark City and Garage Days in Sydney and Knowing in Melbourne.
The director’s big-budget adaptation of John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lose, with Bradley Cooper as Lucifer, was also planned for Sydney — until it was shut down in pre-production over budgetary concerns.
Best known as Spartan King Leonidas in 300, Zack Snyder’s graphic re-enactment of the ancient battle of Thermopylae, Butler’s star dimmed somewhat during a brief and unremarkable foray into romantic comedy — in The Ugly Truth with Katherine Heigl and The Bounty Hunter with Jennifer Aniston.
And ancient characters clearly suit him.
Butler describes Set, the God of fire and chaos, as a roguish bad boy.
“Leonidas was also a dark character, but it was ultimately for a higher good. With Set, it’s kinda the opposite. He’s strong and commanding and an amazing leader but ultimately it’s for the higher bad.
“It’s a delicious role to get your teeth into. I’ve actually only played the villain once or twice before — in Law Abiding Citizen, it was debatable whether or not he was the villain.
“I really like taking on those roles and trying to make them stimulating and provocative and funny and scary all at the same time. To keep an audience entranced — you want them to love you but at the same time they have to hate you as well.”
Relatively speaking, the next of Butler’s performances to make it onto the big screen could almost be considered tame.
While Viking chief Stoick the Vast is a similarly mythical and fearsome creation, the responsibility for his action sequences was shouldered by DreamWorks highly-skilled animators.
“Once you have done your (voice) work, you just let it go,’’ Butler says of upcoming family fantasy How To Train Your Dragon 2, which opens in Australia in June.
“Then suddenly they present you with a movie and a world and an adventure and it’s just mind blowing.
“In that respect, I become like the audience and I go oh-hoh! This is awesome! What a ride!”