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The Ugly Truth - Gerard Butler interview

Gerard Butler in The Ugly Truth

Interview by Rob Carnevale

GERARD Butler talks to us about the challenge of keeping the right side of sexist in The Ugly Truth, working with Katherine Heigl and why e wouldn’t particularly relish the idea of getting back into shape for a proposed sequel or prequel to 300

Q. What was the appeal of The Ugly Truth for you?
Gerard Butler: I want to make movies that people enjoy and that I enjoy. I read it and I went: “Ok, do you know what, I’d have a ball going to see this movie.” I’m not interested in most of the romantic comedies I get but this didn’t feel like a romantic comedy. It’s a lot more hard-edged, raunchy, shocking and sexy. My character is the one that gives so much of that just by my views and how ridiculous but kind of thought provoking they are as well. So, I thought I want to go and do that.

Q. How easy is it to get the measure of a guy like Mike Chadway so that he’s not too sexist?
Gerard Butler: Well, you’ve got to be careful because if you played that in anything but the way that you’ve got to, with a certain amount of charm, then you’re going to lose your audience because he’s just going to come across as an absolute jerk. And that would be the initial description of him. But what is cool about the movie is then you start to develop a more human side and a more self-deprecating side, and a side that does want to help people, and a side that has a certain amount of vulnerability to it as well. So, you can try and do both – but that’s what makes it more interesting because it has so many different levels.

Q. How much of what Mike has to say do you agree with?
Gerard Butler: Probably more than I’m allowed to say [laughs]. But he’s not me and he pushes it to some very ridiculous extents. He’s completely irreverent. I don’t even know if he believes everything he says. But I would be foolish to say anything other than that there is definitely some truth in the way guys view women. It’s not always necessarily a bad thing. It’s not so bad to appreciate something beautiful and sometimes to want the easy life. It pushes the point that it is nice to feel humorous, and that it is nice not to be picked on and criticised. At the end of the day, the movie is saying that opposites can attract and it’s nice for a guy to be able to say to a woman: “You are so different to me but I’m going to love and appreciate that about you; even if it makes me crazy at times I’m going to respect that’s who you are.”

Q. It’s fairly reflective of the battle of the sexes because you do get the impression that they’re evening up. Women are giving as good as they get now…
Gerard Butler: By the way they are! And the funny thing is the way guys are represented here… the way we are now with the advent of more career women, there’s women that are like that as well. Not every woman is out there going: “OK, I’m looking for the man of my dreams right now.” Sometimes they just want to have a bit of fun because they have too many other things on their mind.

Q. When did you know you had such good chemistry with Katherine? Was there a eureka moment?
Gerard Butler: I think I felt it right from the start, from the first day. The first day was nerve-wracking as well because I took on the American accent. Really, my character does not shut up. He talks a lot. And to be so opinionated and to be performing and like that in your regular life was quite nerve-wracking, especially on that first day. But from the rushes everyone said we were great together so that was a whole weight off my shoulders. I felt it but you never know what other people are going to think.

Q. Ryan Reynolds recently said that chemistry is one of the few things Hollywood can invent with CGI
Gerard Butler: That’s definitely true. It’s interesting because there are people who get on great in a movie and have terrible chemistry [on-screen]. And you hear about some famous cases of stars who hated each other [on set] but have magical chemistry on-screen. But I love Kate… as people we get on fantastically well. But fortunately we also had good chemistry. I think it is partly created. You have to sometimes put in a bit of effort and there’s times you have to be more unselfish and lay yourself out to allow it. But I think Ryan Reynolds is right in that you can’t fully create that – you either have it or you don’t.

Q. Career-wise you must be very happy with the way things are going. You seem to be involved in a tremendous amount of new projects…
Gerard Butler: Yeah, things are going really well. I have something like five movies now between the ones that are coming out and the one that I’m working on. And they’re all completely different, which is what excites me more than anything. I have a huge DreamWorks animated film, I have an action movie, a thriller, this comedy and then another comedy that I’m doing with Jennifer Aniston [The Bounty]. It’s funny, as I say it I go: “Wow, that’s a lot of work! I need to get a life!”

Q. There’s also talk of sequels as well for 300 and RocknRolla, which must be a rich place to be?
Gerard Butler: They’ve both been talked about but I don’t know if either of them will ever come to fruition because there’s a lot of things that can happen. I had a great time doing both of those movies and it would be an interesting prospect to revisit them. The problem with 300 is that I don’t know if I could ever get back into shape [laughs]. I really put my body under a huge amount of abuse to get there. It became an obsession. It was every second of every day that I was making myself this insane all-powerful Spartan who feared nothing. That was until the movie finished… and then I spent six months on a therapy table with every kind of treatment possible! But we’ll see.

Read our review of The Ugly Truth

Read our interview with Katherine Heigl