Gerard Butler Talks about Action Flicks from 300 to Plane, and What Movies Have Taught Him

Gerard Butler Talks about Action Flicks from 300 to Plane, and What Movies Have Taught Him

Gerard Butler Talks about Action Flicks from 300 to Plane, and What Movies Have Taught Him

While Scottish actor Gerard Butler, 53, has shone in romantic comedies, his fans love him in action movies, like his latest, Plane, where he plays Brodie Torrance a commercial airline pilot who’s caught in a hellfire of a situation after he's forced to land during a storm. To be fair, Butler is a bit of an adrenaline junkie, so he loved doing this movie.

Indeed, his major Hollywood breakthrough happened when he starred as Sparta’s King Leonidas in the blockbuster actioner “300” in 2006. Known for his self-effacing charm, he admits he’s not as buffed anymore as he was playing the Spartan warrior and leader; although, he quips that he did take his Spartan cape from the movie set and treasures it. And, that movie also has given him some post-300 laughs, as he recalls: “I was in an airport washroom, and we’re all standing there doing our business. Out of nowhere, we hear someone shout, ‘This is Sparta!’ Which is the cry that King Leonidas shouts. Anyway, we’re glancing at each other, and I’m going, ‘Hey, I didn’t say that.’ I know, right!”

He talks to us about grabbing big G-forces in a fighter jet, like Tom Cruise in Top Gun; about nearly buying it prepping for a surfer movie; about almost becoming a lawyer; and, about the preciousness of life.

When Did You Know You Wanted to Pursue Acting?

I didn’t go to acting school but even at age 12 or so, I had the acting bug, even though it didn’t seem real, or even attainable. Back then, no films were being made in Scotland. But that bug never left me even when I became president of my Law school society, and was on a path to becoming a professional lawyer.

But How Did Attempting to be a Lawyer Propel You Full Time into Acting?

I trained for law at this big Scottish firm but in my heart, I felt I just wasn’t cut out for spending a career in law. As a result, I kept slacking off, taking Fridays and Mondays off, and missing over 30 days of work. I guess I pushed them to finally fire me.  Overall, that law firm did me a huge favour. But, it was one of the worst days of my life when I had to tell my mum that I was leaving a successful law career even before I officially got started. Even though she felt let down, mum was still very supportive. I scurried off to London to become an actor, but she sent me a note anyway, saying “If this is your dream, then chase it and as long as you’re happy, I’m happy.”


What Scary Thing happened as You Were Prepping for the Surfer Action Movie, Chasing Mavericks?

We were training out in Northern California, and we were out there paddling, I’m with some of the best surfers in the world, and these waves came out of nowhere, and they’re shouting for me to paddle real fast. This 30-foot-high wave hit, and I was under and tumbling over and over, knowing I needed to get upwards. But the next wave hit and it all started all over again. You can be under only for 10-15 seconds but it feels like forever. But this particular time they say I was under for almost a minute. It was really scary.

Can You Tell us About your Latest Action Thriller, the Movie Plane?

In Plane, my character Brodie Torrance is a commercial airline pilot who’s caught in a hairy situation after he's forced to land during a storm. Then Brodie and a dangerous fugitive he’s escorting have to join forces to survive, jumping out of the frying pan into the firestorm of a war-zone. To prepare for this movie, I had to sit on the “flightdeck” for a couple of days to do research flying the Boeing 737 flight simulator for this movie.


What is it Really Like Flying in a Fighter Jet?

I went up in the backseat of a USAF F-16. We pulled some serious Gs—up to 9.4 Gs—and did all the tricks they fly, like barrel rolls, during their demonstrations. You’re sort of just holding on, and it’s a little scary at times, totally intense and amazing. But when you’re up above the clouds, it’s almost spiritual-like. It was the most awesome action experience I’ve ever had. By the way, while those barrel rolls only last a couple of seconds, it felt like hours, and you feel like throwing up!

What Have You Learned about Life from Doing Movies?

There was this UK movie, One More Kiss, that I did early in my career that dealt with the preciousness of life. I took the story to heart, that we only have this one life and it’s really a very short time, that we really need to make the most of it, and I’ve always tried to do that.


Share this article

Leave your comments

Post comment as a guest

terms and condition.
  • Mary Thompson

    Gerard Butler is such a versatile actor, and I love how he can play both romantic and action roles with equal skill!

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Mary Thompson

    Very true, and he's got great comedic timing, Mary. Cheers

  • Aaron Smith

    I've been a fan of Gerard since 300, and I always look forward to seeing him in new movies. Can't wait to check out Plane!

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Aaron Smith

    "This is Sparta!" Great movie. I've also met the Brazilian actor who played Xerxes, very nice fellow! Cheers, Aaron.

  • Emily Jones

    Wow, I can't even imagine what it must be like to fly in a fighter jet like that. Gerard is definitely braver than I am.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Emily Jones

    Most of us would probably pee out pants, eh? Cheers, Emily.

  • Michael Brown

    I appreciate how Gerard talks about the preciousness of life and making the most of it. It's a great reminder to all of us.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Michael Brown

    Yes, Mike, I got that out of him. I'm always interested in people's motivations. Cheers.

  • Sarah Rodriguez

    That story about the 30-foot wave during the Chasing Mavericks shoot is absolutely terrifying. I'm glad Gerard made it through okay!

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Sarah Rodriguez

    I know surfers, including a lovely Italian journo Chiara, who says the power and beauty of Nature is awesome. Cheers Sarah

  • David Kim

    It's amazing how Gerard can make a character like Brodie Torrance in Plane seem so believable. He's such a talented actor.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: David Kim

    Dave, what did you like about the movie?

  • Richard Christopher

    Gerard is so funny and down-to-earth in interviews. I love how he can make even a scary story like the Chasing Mavericks incident sound amusing.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Richard Christopher

    Great observation. And, he could've been a lawyer. Cheers, Richard.

  • Daniel J

    I can't believe Gerard was almost a lawyer! It's so interesting to hear about his journey to becoming an actor.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Daniel J

    As Shakespeare once wrote, "the first thing we do, we kill all the lawyers..." Wonder if Gerard has actually played a lawyer?

  • Samantha Brown

    Gerard has aged like a fine wine, in my opinion. He still looks great and I'm excited to see what he does next.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Samantha Brown

    Sam, have you liked his romantic comedies? Cheers, Ashley

  • Alex Patel

    I've always been a fan of Gerard's action movies, but I also appreciate how he can bring depth to more dramatic roles. He's definitely a talented actor.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Alex Patel

    What's your fave Gerard movie, Alex?

  • Donald James

    Excellent interview. I've been a fan of Gerard Butler since 300 and he just keeps getting better with age! Hyped to watch Plane. It's gonna be fun.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Donald James

    Thanks for reading, Donald. He's not mailing in his performances, is he?

  • Thomas Ronaldson

    It's inspiring to hear how Gerard took a chance on his dreams and pursued acting despite the risks. He's definitely made a name for himself in Hollywood.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Thomas Ronaldson

    Truth is, Tom, I live in LA, and know tons of peeps who gone after their dreams but so few actually achieve them. Gerard has worked hard and got lucky,

Share this article

Ashley Jude Collie

Entertainment Expert

Ashley is an award-winning journalist/author/blogger who has written for Playboy, Toronto Star, Movie Entertainment, Sports Illustrated, Maclean's and others. He's interviewed various "leaders" in their fields, including: Oscar winners (Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Lawrence, Alicia Vikander, Jane Fonda, Mira Sorvino, Geena Davis, Anthony Hopkins); Grammy winners (Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Ice Cube, Pete Townshend); MVPs in sports (Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Wayne Gretzky, Kobe Bryant); and, business leaders (Amazon's Jeff Bezos). He has an upcoming novel, REJEX, coming out on Pulp Hero Press. And he has written several episodic TV shows, appeared on CNN, and blogged for Mademan, Medium, GritDaily and HuffPost.

Cookies user prefences
We use cookies to ensure you to get the best experience on our website. If you decline the use of cookies, this website may not function as expected.
Accept all
Decline all
Read more
Tools used to analyze the data to measure the effectiveness of a website and to understand how it works.
Google Analytics