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Gerard Butler Interview

2009-10-23 11:50

For you as an actor choosing a part, what did you find in the script for The Ugly Truth that resonated with you?
Butler: It was almost instant. From the second Mike explodes on the screen doing his show, literally every second word had me laughing. I knew I wanted to do this. As the movie goes on and you get a more layered insight into this character, you realise that he is outrageous and hilarious. He is edgy but a good guy that has a good soul at the end of the day. I have never really played a guy like this before.

As an actor, how easy is it to step into this man’s shoes? Do you share any characteristics with him?
I do, definitively. Mike is a big personality that says some risky things and that is part of me. That is a Scottish thing. A Scotsmen in America is always saying things that make people stop and get people to take a second look (laughs). We can be a bit un-PC. So I always try and find parts of the character that are inside me and then the parts I have to make up.

So what parts are you?
He has a big energy and some charm about him. He also has some proactive philosophies about relationships and sex.

Were any of those new to you?
To be honest, when guys hear all of this they will admit that they have had those thoughts. They don’t live by those principles. Many are outrageous and they are pushing the boundaries of new levels of outrageousness. I have to be careful when I answer these questions because this could all come back and kill me (laughs). People will say, “How dare that bastard say that?” (laughs)

Maybe he feels this way because his heart was once broken. Can you empathise?
That is what is interesting about him. At the end of the day, he carries a lot of baggage. When you understand that, you can appreciate more where he is coming from and gives you some empathy towards him. I think there is some of me in there. Look, every man has a bit of sexist and chauvinist in him if he is being honest. That is what this movie is about. We think that way some of the time but not all the time.

Men are visual creatures first. So what is the first thing you notice about a woman?
We cannot deny that men are visual creatures. Look, half the time you don’t get the chance to actually talk to a woman because you only pass her on the street or see her in the car so you don’t get to know her personality. You will check out her eyes and go from there.  That would be one thing. I do love the fact that they will laugh at everything we say (laughs). Most of the time I am making jokes and not being funny and so it is nice to be helped out by a woman. Men are turned on by sexy women though.

What is sexy to you?
I will see a woman in a really short skirt and wonder why she is doing that. It looks so stupid. Other times I will think what a nice pair of legs. It all depends on how a woman carries herself. At the end of the day, sexiness only lasts about 3 seconds. A woman to me can be sexy in so many different ways. Sometimes she is sexy just by the way she carries herself. Sometimes she is sexy by her opinions or the way her mind works. Sometimes she can surprise me by being so tender or just loving me. There are other times when it is none of those. I also appreciate it when a woman knows when to just shut up. After saying that, I think I better shut up as well (laughs).

So what is absolutely essential for a woman to have to get your attention?
She has to have a good sense of humor. I love spontaneity in a woman when she can just surprise you. I am real sucker for sweetness and a good heart. When they show me that, it just melts me and I want to hug them.

Do you think men or women are more honest?
I don’t know. I think women are. Men are more simple and primal and so there is honesty. But men can be such lying shits in many areas that women just don’t get. If a woman knew what was going through a man’s mind half the time, they might all be gay (laughs).

Are men more vulnerable, especially amongst other men?
See, now people are going to think I am a Dr. Ruth and become an expert. What do I know? I think men might be more vulnerable because they have less avenues to get it out and talk about their weaknesses. It is hard for a man to talk about his weaknesses in front of a woman unless there is a lot of trust there and he doesn’t want to seem like less than the perfect man. It is hard to do that in front of another man because then he doesn’t seem like that macho type. It is hard to go to your buddies and say I am fucked up or scared. I am not saying that it doesn’t happen but it doesn’t happen as much. Women have more of an outlet there amongst their friends. Of course, then they let it out to the guys as well (laughs).

As The Ugly Truth asks, is there such a thing as the perfect guy?
It depends what you think the perfect guy is. I remember the saying, ‘there is nothing like a bad ass man to make a girl’s heart beat faster.’ Some women might consider that the perfect guy. Others might want the pained artist. I think the description that Abby gives in the movie might actually turn out to be a really dull guy if you think about it. But I am sure for some women he is out there. Lucky him.

So would you rather know everything about a woman or let there still be some mystery?
That is a good question. We are still trying to figure each other out. At the end of the day, we just have to agree to disagree. I will never figure her out completely and she will never totally understand me. Women frustrate the hell out of me but God I do love them. If we were all the same, it would be boring and maybe there wouldn’t be that friction. As they say, the best part of breaking up is the making up.

The film addresses an interesting concept about modern day TV news. We used to think the medium was for news and information. Abby is trying to produce a show that gives local flavour but in reality, the people really want sex and titillation. They want controversy.
I agree. Even tough we make light of it, it is sad. It is understandable why people are attracted to what goes on inside the heads of others and can get some interesting viewpoints of that. People do the same with cooking shows and wild life shows. All those reality self help shows are everywhere. We play on that but I think it is sad for that to happen to increase ratings. I have seen it all over England. Why are we sitting and watching for hours someone sleeping? That is very sad.

There is a sexual chemistry that goes on between our two protagonists. You and Katherine get to have a great Latin dance. Were you surprised how seductive that moment in the film turns out to be?
I was very surprised how explosive it turned out to be. I took a few lessons before the film. Katie already knew how to dance in a Latin way. I worked with Julianne Hough from "Dancing with the Stars" and a few other professionals. I took some salsa lessons. I thought I would have a problem remembering the moves but once we started, it just happened. I agree. The movie needed that scene because it evolves their story so much. They go from that antagonism into this moment when it all explodes. Where did that come from?

Does dancing feel sexy to you?
I don’t know if I felt sexy but it was sexy when we were doing that dance. Sometimes I have to train for things and I get really nervous. When I did P.S. I Love You, I had to learn to play guitar and sing in front of people. When we got on set, I could only do one or the other. If I played guitar, I couldn’t sing and if I didn’t play, then I could sing. Or I could do those but I couldn’t move. I could never do all three at the same time. SO I was afraid when I showed up on set that I wouldn’t be able to salsa. But it all just happened and it was one of those rare moments when people commented on how great that scene was. It was the perfect moment in the movie for that to happen. It needed it to cement the sexiness between the two of them.

Did you know Katie before this?
No, we just met right before we did the film. We had a lot of fun together. She is an amazing woman and we had a blast doing it. She is so smart and ballsy and razor sharp sexy. Every woman I have ever worked with is really brilliant. Katie never makes a mistake. Within two rehearsals, she is just there and then goes further. I am a little more scattered than that.

She was also your boss, your producer.
That she was, but you would never know. She was an actress in this movie and I never felt the weight of her as a producer. I just produced a movie and probably came across too much as a producer. She could have been a bit of a nightmare but she wasn’t at all. I honestly expected her to be this goody two-shoes on set but she is actually a bit crazy.

The two of you had some very colorful sexual dialogue. Do you ever have any inhibitions when you have to talk like that in front of a woman?
I speak like that. It is actually one of the reasons why I got this role. I was just working with the other producers on a film and I was always brooding. One night we go out for a meal and I am telling my cock jokes and my sexist jokes and these guys are looking at each other and smiling. They might have thought I was this too serious kind of guy. Anyway, I wonder what the meeting is about and they tell me that they have a script they want me to read. When I read it, I knew it made perfect sense and what they were thinking when I was telling those jokes.

So now do you have this reputation as a jokester?
I don’t know. It is not the way I think. It is not my view on sex or relationships. Women do find some of this humor funny because it is who men are. At the end of the day, that is what this film is about. This is the way men think about women and this is the way women think about men. I think my humor is a Scottish thing. We love rude jokes. We love jokes that really push the envelope.

Is it true that you were an extra in the film The Bodyguard? Can you ever see yourself in the final film?
It is true. But you will never find me. I was in this crowd scene and the row behind me had all of these cardboard cut-outs to make the crowd look bigger. I knew right then that I would never be on camera.

The hunky star of The Ugly Truth talks gender wars, his co-star Katherine Heigl, and what he finds sexy in a woman…

Michael Jackson - This Is It

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