Source: Parade Author: Jeanne Wolf
He took on the Persian hordes as the leader of the tiny Spartan army in 300, and conquered the box office. Now Gerard Butler gets another chance to be heroic.
He’s the swashbuckling fictional Alex Rover, created out of the imagination of a novelist played by Jodie Foster in Nim’s Island. But that’s not all. Butler is also the mild-mannered Jack, bio-scientist father of Nim, who is marooned on a deserted island where they both live.
Butler has a ton of fun in both roles, and he’s just as delightful in person.
Word is you insisted on playing two parts.
“Just to set the record straight, it wasn’t planned that way. I did think I needed a little more screen time but it was my agent who lobbied for it. Suddenly, everybody went, ‘That makes perfect sense to play the dad and to play the action hero.’ And I guess they knew they were going to save a lot of money on another actor. I was like, ‘So double money?’ They said, “No, that’s not the way it works.’
There’s more than a little of Indy Jones in Alex Rover. Did you call Harrison Ford for advice?
“Not actually, but it was a complete rip off of him. Alex is kind of a hero but he’s kind of not. He’s scared of heights. When he’s fighting the Indians he still gets thrown in the volcano. It doesn’t always go his way.”
Did you bond with Abigail Breslin, who plays your daughter, Nim?
“She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s humble and, of course, so very talented. The only problem for me was that she had a ‘swear jar,’ and with my being a Scotsman well, it cost me about half my salary! No matter where I was, she always heard me drop a curse.”
You’ve worn some fantastical costumes from your barely there leather skirt in 300, to that menacing mask in The Phantom of the Opera. What do you pull out of the closet on Halloween?
“Come Halloween I am always the worst dressed because I have no imagination. I’ll turn up with maybe a pair of sunglasses and say I’m Elvis. People go, ‘You’re crap.’ But I felt empowered when I played Dracula in a film in Toronto. I actually kept my outfit on as well as these undead contact lenses. I was walking down the street and people were going, ‘That’s cool, you’re a vampire.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I am actually.’”