You can hear Gerard Butler’s grave, Scottish accent echoed by raucous laughter before he even enters the room. It would appear that the actor is always in the middle of telling a joke or story, complete with voices, animated facial expressions, and cliff-hanging pauses for good measure. It’s fair to say that the actor is a captivating character.
Butler (who was in fact on a career path to becoming a lawyer until he did an about face to pursue his childhood dreams of making it as an actor) is considered to be a thoroughly modern man’s man and certainly one of the thrill-seeking variety. He performs his own stunts, which means buffing up for movie roles like King Leonidas in 300. The delight he has in regaling tales about his near death experiences during filming aptly illustrates his sense of adventure. For his latest role as the ambassador for Hugo Boss Boss Bottled fragrance and the newly launched Boss Bottled Intense, Butler headlines as “the man of today.” On his recent whistle stop trip to Dubai to commemorate the launch of Boss Bottle Intense at Paris Gallery in The Dubai Mall, we talked to Butler to find out what truly makes him fit the profile.
What are some of the physical challenges that you have overcome on set?
There have been so many. My last film was a space movie so I had to spend a lot of time weightless. There was one day where I was held upside down wearing a 65lb space suit for 12 hours. That was an intense five weeks. I actually wanted to rip off the suit after the first five minutes. Another time, for a surf movie, I had to battle some seriously dangerous waves and I nearly drowned as a result. I had to spend a night in hospital having my heart put back in the right place. When I was underwater, I remember thinking, “This is it; I’m done.” Frankly, I’ve got to learn to get less involved in my stunts, but it’s all part of the fun.
What motivates you?
The fear of being terrible at things is a big motivator. When you’re working hard and creating then great things happen. I did [work hard] to get to be an actor—the job I dreamed of having as a child.
What character traits define the modern man?
What helps me is that I’m very driven, very ambitious, and quite courageous. I think to be in my line of work you have to be. Now that I’m getting older, I realize it’s important to understand the beauty of success, but not at all costs. It’s important to ask yourself, “What do I contribute to life?” and to remember to be compassionate and caring in your daily life. I read an article recently, which asked, “Are men the new women?” Isn’t that just hilarious?
If the acting world didn’t exist, what would you be doing?
Maybe it’s because I come from Scotland or maybe because I’m constantly surrounded by people—I like to get away from it all. Now I live on a ranch in Malibu, in the middle of nowhere, so I think if I wasn’t an actor, maybe I would be a forestry commissioner. I like the thought of having a job that forces you to be in nature.
What do you like to do when you’ve finished wrapping a film?
I get on my motorbike, or pack a tent in the car, and go. I’ve ridden through Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. I once did a trip from Louisiana to New York with a friend and it took us hours to go five feet because we were always getting into trouble.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love telling stories. I love the challenges of how you turn a script into a movie and watching films at the cinema and seeing people’s reactions to the moments you have created. Whether it’s to make them laugh or make them turn away in revoltion, I love that.