Gerard Butler is a Boss Scot
By Jessica Punter 16 September 14
Forget the famous rough edges: Gerard Butler is still smooth enough for a fine fragrance. GQ talks football, fitness and fish and chips with the face of Boss Bottled.
GQ: Growing up in Paisley, what was your first experience of designer fragrance?
Gerard Butler:I think it was Paco Rabanne. It was so powerful it was perfect for me! Between that and my HP Sauce I was happy. I used to have these two other aftershaves that when I think back they must have been horrific but I loved them at the time. As for fashion, I remember when Boss opened a store up here and I was so excited, I was like 'Hugo Boss have opened a store in Glasgow!' You know it was really cool.
Do you think men are more willing to talk about their grooming routines these days?
Um no! [laughs]. I'm not really going to tell you the truth: 'it's an hour in makeup.' No. But I guess men are more willing to talk about grooming now. You know you hear of guys trimming and shaving their legs and I'm like; 'what are you guys doing?' That's never been me, nor ever will be. I'm always rough shaven. I always like to stay pretty much as raw as I can, but I use face cream and fragrance and I put stuff in my hair. I just don't get too caught up in it.
Do you ever get sucked into Hollywood health fads?
Oh, I've done juice cleanses. They're a great way to lose weight and to clean a lot of crap out of your system. But I still wouldn't know kale if it hit me in the face - I'm too Scottish for that! It's never going to happen. I remember when I was reading the script for Dear Frankie where this character worked in a fish and chip shop and they were always saying 'salt and vinegar' and my mouth would be watering every time I read it. Without fail, when I get back home the first thing I do is go and get fish and chips.
Why wait until you're in Scotland - surely fish and chips are a request on your rider?
No, because you know what? Unfortunately most of the time I watch what I eat and I'm pretty good like that because I like having something that motivates me because I can't say I'm the most motivated person without those goals. If I'm doing a movie, I've got to have a good body, I have to be toned in a particular way, I have to ascribe to a certain kind of diet and a training regime and then I'm happy.
How do you like to stay fit when you're not filming?
Well, I always go to the gym with a trainer because it makes me get up and go, otherwise it's very hard to keep those commitments. I like to break it up with some paraboarding, surfing or hiking. I do train a lot and I feel good after. I don't really like the gym if I'm honest, there's only so much you can do in a gym, there's only so much enjoyment you can get, but I understand that it's good for me and that it sets up the rest of my day. For my last movie I got back into creating a physique again and I was down the gym a lot, it was right at the edge of Bondi Beach under Icebergs restaurant, if anybody knows it. The waves are crashing and they spray up over the side sometimes and you're training, you're pumping weights and you're thinking 'it's so beautiful, this is the kind of gym I want to be in!' It was a great place to train because the view is just stunning but it was also the filthiest gym I've ever been in, I don't think it's ever been cleaned.
Is there pressure from Hollywood for actors to look a certain way?
As an actor, you want to look good anyway but sometimes you need a drastic change for a role: I was amazed by Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club, but I wonder if it was worth it… Well, he got an Oscar. But I think to go to where he went it would really have to be an appealing role. I guess it goes with the territory, you've got to do what you got to do; it's part of transforming for the role.
Have you got any bad grooming habits? We once read that you used to bite your toenails?
I used to do it, when I was younger, and it wasn't to necessarily bite my toenails, it was just to see if I could get down there, you know? Wait. That sounded weird… I can't reach my toenails - I haven't been able to in twenty years. By the way that came from one of the worst interviews I ever did in my life. The guy would literally be like 'tell me about your acting' and then as I was talking he'd say 'so do you pee in the shower?' It just threw me off and he just killed me, he ambushed me. When you do a lot of interviews and you're exhausted it is so easy to make mistakes, it's easy to be caught off guard. But when I read the article I was like, okay if I can get over my vanity and my ego it's actually quite entertaining.
We heard you went to the World Cup semi final in Brazil - how was the atmosphere?
It was amazing. I'd never been to a World Cup before and I went to the Brazil Germany game. I'd actually gone with my German buddy who's great friends with the team and I supported Germany for the tournament, but I was kind of supporting Brazil too because I made a movie about the World Cup there about ten years ago [The Game of Their Lives, 2005]. It was heart breaking to watch because even though we can talk about how passionate Brazilians are about football, you don't even know until you're there what that did to them. It was awful to witness. You know England is considered a very good football team, but they're not considered the 'home of football' as Brazil is. It's football that defines that nation if nothing else, and to see them being ripped apart 7-1 couldn't have been more bizarre. It was amazing for Germany and heartbreaking for Brazil. So my first ever World Cup game was perhaps the most memorable game of all time.
BOSS Bottled launched in 1998. If you could go back in time to that year when you were just starting out as an actor what advice would you give your younger self?
Oh my god. Probably 'relax and take it easy'. I feel like I've given a lot to my career but sometimes it gets a little much in terms of how much you work and the stress and anxiety level. But, the fact is that I've had the time of my life. It's always in your head about what you have coming up; how you're going to perform a role and the press and all the promotion - and it always ends up fine - so just enjoy the ride.
What do you think is the real secret to your success?
You know, I used to be a lawyer and I was a terrible one, because I really shouldn't have been there. It wasn't what I believed in. But now I'm doing something that is very satisfying to my soul. I've been so dedicated in my career, you know, I've worked really hard and tried to strategically plan many things but I feel like I've just barged my way through in a way. It took a lot of self-belief: a belief in a kind of magic and knowing that if you do the work and you stay focused that good things will come. I've loved it: acting is very suited to me because it's very creative, very passionate. So, I always believe in following your heart, which is part of the message in the Boss campaign: it's marching to the beat of your own drum, being willing to break the mold. It worked for me.
What would you say to someone considering a radical career change?
I think it's better to have tried, even if you fail. Because I imagined myself as a lawyer at retirement, having made some money and been relatively successful, but not having lived the life I wanted to live.
Would you ever return to musicals after your turn in Phantom of the Opera?
Yeah, I never say never to anything! Before300came along I'd doneAttilaand I'd played Beowulf and done this Viking movie, and I said'no more swords and sandals, none of those epics for me' and I really meant it. AndTroyhad just come out and I didn't enjoy it at all and I thought'okay the genre is done'. But then I read the script for300and saw visually what they were going to do with it and I thought 'I have to be a part of this!' I would have done anything to be a part of that movie. But there are a few different roles or styles of roles I'd still like to do. I've always liked continuing to challenge myself; to do action and then comedy and then do a thriller and then play the villain in a thriller, and each time I'm thinking'can I pull this off?'I find those challenges exciting and I'm always looking for something fresh.
From Phantom we know you have a good voice - do you sing in the shower?
Yes, nothing particularly original; "Wonderwall", Paul Young's "Wherever I Lay My Hat", "Mustang Sally", I love "Light My Fire", "Try A Little Tenderness" - that's a good one too. I'm a karaoke king!
BOSS Bottled Eau de Toilette, £52 for 100ml. Boss.com
Originally published in the October issue of GQ