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Quint interviews 300's King Leonidis himself, Gerard Butler!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with another of my shorty Comic-Con interviews. I've been overwhelmed recently with pet health problems, so I've let these interviews slip back, unfortunately. I'll do my best to keep up with them, but I have some pretty tough days ahead of me on the personal side of things, so don't be surprised if you don't get the rest until this weekend.

This interview is with Gerard Butler, who stars as King Leonidis in Zack Snyder's adaptation of Frank Miller's 300, a graphic graphic novel. The footage they showed at Comic-Con (read about it here!!!) was absolutely jaw-dropping. After seeing the 4 or so minutes they brought to the Con, 300 is now one of my most anticipated movies in any stage of development. If you want another shorty 300 interview, you can read my chat with Zack Snyder here, where we talk more about 300 and a little bit about WATCHMEN, his next directorial outing.

Here's Mr. Butler! Enjoy!!!





QUINT: The reaction to the footage was crazy. I haven't seen a reaction here at Comic-Con like that since they showed a scene from SPIDER-MAN 2 almost a year early.

GERARD BUTLER: Wow. It felt great to me, but then I've never been to Comic-Con before. It's great to hear you say that because... I don't know...

QUINT: They don't do that for everybody.

GERARD BUTLER: I'd never seen it on the big screen, so I was slide over to the side of the stage, sayin' "Play it again! Play it again!" You know, I could watch it all day!

QUINT: They kind of touched upon it on the panel, but I'm pretty curious... You play such a badass character in 300. Did you pull on any specific characters from film or history for the role?

GERARD BUTLER: I read a couple of really interesting books about going through history... I'm trying to think who it was again... Like, three of the great generals going all the way back from Greek times to the Second World War. Patton was one and Sherman back in the Civil War... and then somebody way back, right around the time of the Spartans... In fact, it was the General who led the surviving slaves to beat the Spartans... And it was all about the ideas that have to be instilled in troops and nations in order to get them to fight as effectively as they can against a superior force.

It was really, really interesting to climb into that, but to be honest I didn't base it on any one particular guy. I based it on my idea of... I had done these things before, these kinds of characters, and it was how could I make it new and fresh, but still stay faithful to the graphic novel. Because, really, you get so much from that character in the graphic novel, but also give him a bit more life and humanity than he has... and humor. You really get a feeling of this guy's cockiness and his humor.

QUINT: Even if you're slavish to the original material, the graphic novel still doesn't have the eyes of an actor... It has certain body language, but it seems like something you can still make your own while staying true to the original material.

GERARD BUTLER: Oh, absolutely.

QUINT: Did you know of Frank Miller's book before you did the film?

GERARD BUTLER: I had never read it, but I knew of it. I came across it fresh and I read it at the same as I read the script. I was hooked.

QUINT: What was your first impression when you finished the graphic novel?

GERARD BUTLER: I'll tell you what my first impression was, actually, when I opened it up... You see these guys marching and then you see the King fight his own captain because he basically beats up one of his own soldiers because he fell on the ground, and then tells the soldier who fell to pick up his captain and carry him. I thought, "Shit! Wait a minute! These aren't the kind of heroes I'm used to."

That was the first thing that grabbed me, just how tough and brutal and, in some ways, emotionless these guys were. So, therefor, to play with that and push that to the brink, but at the same time allowing them at the end of the day to remain human so that you can at least connect with him, but he had to be so incredibly uncompromising to do what he did, essentially risk his whole nation and culture and lead his men to almost certain death. It takes a certain kind of person to do that.

QUINT: Did they give you anything to assist you with all the greenscreen work you had to do? I know on SIN CITY they had the original comic panels for reference. Did they have something like that?

GERARD BUTLER: You know, often what they would show us would be stills, either from the (set) photographer or from the film itself, with the backgrounds that they intended to put on in very early stages of development. Just to give us an idea of where we were. Also, we could look at computer generated images to kind of show the layout of the place, etc, and where we were geographically. But other than that, a lot had to be left up to your imagination. At times it was easier than you thought, at times it was more difficult.

If it was more difficult and you were confused, then you just made sure that you sat down with the art director or Zack (Snyder) and said, "Okay, where the hell am I? What's going on? Where am I lookin'? How many are there?" (laughs) You know, to get that idea. Sometimes you could really feel it, but, for instance, to create the idea of being charged upon by an army of a million (people)... I mean, that's intense. That's intense. You have to, in some ways, let your imagination fly and then just fly with it, you know? Give it all you got.

QUINT: What's next for you?

GERARD BUTLER: I'm doing a movie called PRIEST. Andrew Douglas, who directed AMITYVILLE HORROR... Really, really nice guy and I think he's so talented as well. I'm tryin' to think of the best way to describe this, but it's kind of like a Vampire Western... Like MAD MAX meets THE SEARCHERS.

That's that for Mr. Butler. Can't wait to see the movie. Hope to get you the rest of those Con interviews... still got 6 to go... as soon as I can. 'Til then, this is Quint bidding you all a fond farewell and adieu!

-Quint
quint@aintitcool.com





Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 15, 2006, 2:36 a.m. CST

    Where is the trailer?

    by Det. John Kimble

    The suspense is killing me. I keep rereading '300' to stay calm.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 3 a.m. CST

    I thought the Spartans were gay?

    by CellarDoor

    Didn't they pair up as lovers so that, once on the battlefield, they would fight for their partners as though they were family? I guess this was left out of MIller's original comic.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 3:09 a.m. CST

    Good luck

    by Purgatori

    seeing the trailer. They put that together for Comicon only. But FUCK...what an orgasam on film. That thing was amazing.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 3:13 a.m. CST

    300 could be very big

    by Vi

    This could be Butler's "Mad Max" - the movie that truly introduces him to a wider audience and bigger paycheck. Oh and the Spartans were not gay. In fact in many ancient Greek cities it was possible to lose your civil rights if you were caught in a homosexual act. In fact they had a derogatory term for the men that "received" the "sword" (if you know what I mean) that roughly translates to, "Wide Anus." Scholars with an agenda and poor understanding of ancient Greek societies have (sometimes willfully) mistranslated "pederasty" as "homosexuality" in regards to the Sacred Band from Thebes. Commonly (and wrongly) described as 150 pairs of *homosexual lovers*, the Theban Sacred Band was actually 150 pairs of Warriors and their Apprentices - Pederasty. Sure, as in any army, there were homosexual acts, especially while on long campaigns. There were definately homosexuals in Ancient Greece as there are today, but to say the Greeks "accepted" homosexuality is completely WRONG. In no ancient text will you find a single instance of homosexuality being accepted by society as a whole. These pederastic relationships were to remain celebate to the extreme. BTW - I am liberal and all for Homosexual rights, but I just get fed up with the whole notion perpetrated in the 19th and 20th centuries that ancient Greeks , "did it the Greek way."

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 3:16 a.m. CST

    I was very afraid that this movie was doomed...

    by Rearden

    ...b/c little could live up to the graphic novel, or to the epic significance of the battle of Theromopylae. But all the "jaw dropping" talk is getting me pretty excited. I hope ... I pray that it lives up.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 3:36 a.m. CST

    I WILL SEE VALHALLA OR THAT THINGS HEAD ON A POLE!

    by Knugen

    Yeah baby!

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 3:44 a.m. CST

    Looks good, looking forward to Priest more though!

    by abiggerboat

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 3:54 a.m. CST

    Oh and Quint, where's the dirty joke? You're slipping!!

    by abiggerboat

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 5:01 a.m. CST

    Regina, do you like anything?

    by abiggerboat

    Are you, in fact, pessimism personified?!

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 5:14 a.m. CST

    Dr. Manhattan

    by Blueberry

    Think of it. Gerard Butler as Dr. Manhattan in Snyder's Watchmen. Alex Tse script is good, not perfect but good. Though I still would like Darren Aronofsky back on the project.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 5:21 a.m. CST

    Christ, Regina

    by Lost Prophet

    what a little ray of sunshine you are. Fucking hell- people call me pessimistic but compared to you... BTW Colin Farell can act- check out either Tigerland or Phone Booth. Recent performances notwithstanding the boy can act. Or that Irish one he was in last year that I can't remember the name of and can't be bothered to look up.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 5:57 a.m. CST

    cheers johnny

    by Lost Prophet

    that was bothering me. I haven't seen the New world because I hated the Thin Red Line so much and didn't fancy getting bored again. Is it good?

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 6:42 a.m. CST

    It think Butler means...

    by Cat_Corporation

    The great Greek general who defeated the Spartans was Epameinondas. No wonder he couldn't remember the guy's name - it's a bit of a tongue twister. His biog would make an interesting movie in itself, but I think Stone's Alexander has killed off any possibility of that sort of thing.......(Yes, Farrell was poor in that but I concur, in general, a decent, charismatic actor)

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 8:11 a.m. CST

    300 Is Going To Be A HUGE Hit In the Gay Community

    by ZombieSolutions

    Buncha sweaty nearly naked guys w/ bulging biceps and codpieces beating on each other for 2 hours in the hot Greek sun? Hello! Gay tension much?

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 8:26 a.m. CST

    Regina...you're just so wrong.

    by Drworm2002

    Joel Schumacher ruined Phantom. Butler's sing was great. I think teh ebst way to make PotO would be to make it a hard core rock opera. That would fucking rock. with an Ozzy sound to it...ya.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 8:29 a.m. CST

    Regina...you're just so wrong.

    by Drworm2002

    Joel Schumacher ruined Phantom. Butler's sing was great. I think teh ebst way to make PotO would be to make it a hard core rock opera. That would fucking rock. with an Ozzy sound to it...ya.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 8:40 a.m. CST

    Regina

    by Lost Prophet

    one bad performance does not a clown make. Even Anthony Hopkins has some stinking performances in his resume. Stop it child, you do not know enough to be making blanket assertions like that,

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 8:54 a.m. CST

    Where can you watch the trailer?

    by fortheloveofgod

    is there a website or anything?

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 9:07 a.m. CST

    Butler

    by Drworm2002

    is a good actor...Im not saying he is a Gary Oldmen, but he's good.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 9:13 a.m. CST

    No, Andrew Lloyd Weber ruined Phantom of the Opera

    by Frijole

    with horrible songs (save for the title song, which I have an odd affinity for... though it could have just as easily been a Meatloaf song with a few lyrical changes) and a completely maudlin version of the Phantom story... Joel Schumacher just happened to catch it on film. And Regina... as for your belief that the original Amityville Horror is a "classic"... I certainly hope you mean a "classic" example of poor pacing, overacting (the likes of which I've rarely come across) and terrible effects. The only things the movie had going for it were 1) a bitchin' marketing campaign based around the lies of a Mr. George Lutz (and friends) and 2) a great score (originally written for The Exorcist). The movie is crap. Just crap. Douglas may not have hit a home run with the re-make... but he was a hired gun on a studio project with little true control over the project (if nothing else- he got good performances out of Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George), and the original was HARDLY untouchable.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 9:13 a.m. CST

    Wow! Beat up on Regina day!

    by tile_mcgillus

    This is awesome, someone said something negative in a talkback and is getting ridiculed. Normally, if you like a movie you get pwned by the haters. I had no idea the Colin Farrell fan club scoured this site so thoroughly. As for Joel Schumaker: Falling Down, Tigerland, Client, A Time to Kill, The Lost Boys...oh and a little diddy called 8mm. So he doesnt suck just made some godawful Batman movies. Anyway, back to what this talkback is supposed to be about 300 and how fucking awesome it looks! Snyder, we need a trailer!

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 9:16 a.m. CST

    Gerard Butler is Tony Stark

    by SID 8.0

    Look at him you'll see it too. Can't wait to see The 300 also.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 9:24 a.m. CST

    Bulter

    by Frijole

    ...looks kinda like Chris Sarandon in that picture.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 10:28 a.m. CST

    Butler should be the next James Bond

    by R.C. the "Wise"

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 11:26 a.m. CST

    ya,

    by lofe101

    this movie sounds freakin awsome. cant wait for a trailer for it. does anyone know when its even suppost to come out in the theaters?

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 12:01 p.m. CST

    Gerry Butler had me FIRED

    by fuzzman

    I worked on pre-production for this film and Gerry Butler is one odd cat. I had to drive him around to his stunt practices and he insisted upon sitting in the back seat of my jeep. Everyone knows those are uncomfortable, then once he got back there he lied down as I drove him all over. He also was trying to quit smoking holistically and by listening to tapes. I am sure Leonidas could quit cold turkey. Oh and I forgot to mention he had me fired because my backseat was uncomfortable, I told him not to sit back there. Actors are one crazy bunch.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 12:15 p.m. CST

    Butler Rocks

    by Arion214

    Good movies or bad -- you can't take your eyes off of Butler. AL Webber got just the sound he wanted from Butler -- hard edged, dangerous rocker dude as opposed to the softer, smoother Wilson. That's what everyone on the picture was going for and what they got. Those who think Butler's singing (which I love - big surprise!)ruined the film are way off base and judging by standards other than the original intent of the film. It's like saying Christian Bale ruined Batman cuz he made him too "dark". The comment totally misses the mark and makes the person saying it look uninformed and silly. Anyway, I have been on the Butler/300 bandwagon for some time and am looking forward to seeing it as well as Butterfly on a Wheel - Butler's movie with Pierce Brosnan. As for fuzzman: Butler's struggles with nicotine addiction are well known. I'm sure he didn't have you fired so much as asked for a driver with a more comfortable backseat so he could concentrate on kicking cigs. And he is just an actor, not a Spartan King and ya, actors can be odd but so can writers, directors and fans.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 12:54 p.m. CST

    Hey, leave Regina alone...

    by DocPazuzu

    ...now that moviemack is dead, AICN needs a full-blooded, old school hater like her.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 1:27 p.m. CST

    Has anyone here read "Gates of Fire" ?

    by Ray Garraty #47

    It's a pretty good book about this same battle - very entertaining read. I highly recommend it.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 1:29 p.m. CST

    The Phantom of the Opera

    by Stollentroll

    List of people who ruined "Phantom of the Opera": http://tinyurl.com/s4jyf

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 1:41 p.m. CST

    moviemacks dead? for reals?

    by aestheticity

    sweet. i hope it was horrible. in other news, YES THE SPARTANS WERE HOMOSEXUAL. homosexuality was a FUNDAMENTAL PART of greek society. I AM FED UP of hangwringing americans insisting that this was not so because it makes them uncomfortable. do a little research yourselves you lazy cunts instead of believing the internet equivalent of a bloke down the pub. IF ANYONE DISAGREES please furnish references, and if you have none, please list your qualifications and academic work that disagrees with 2500 years of historical discourse, evidence and records.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 1:43 p.m. CST

    gates of fire

    by aestheticity

    is trash, from a historical point of view. so is 300 for that matter. these are works of fiction, not records of fact.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 2:23 p.m. CST

    andrew douglas should be motherfuckin killed

    by chickychow

    and gerard butler will NEVER be a star, no matter how much u latent homos want him to be.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 2:32 p.m. CST

    Leonidas. With an "a."

    by los_urizen

    It's not rocket science.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 2:41 p.m. CST

    Regina. Emmy Rossum's voice was dubbed

    by messi

    Gerard's was not. she can't sing.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 6:27 p.m. CST

    Pressfield

    by bigdickmcgee

    The Virtues of War was good but not up to his usual standards. Just finished The Afghan Campaign. Very good book, up to his usual standards. Stick with Tides of War, it's an excellent novel, just not as tight as his others. Nothing will ever match Gates of Fire as a novel of ancient combat.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 6:34 p.m. CST

    Last of the Amazons...

    by bigdickmcgee

    Is probably his second best novel after Gates. Old Jim Cameron had an option on it. But the option has lapsed.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 7:34 p.m. CST

    anchorite...

    by Annamaria

    Andrew Lloyd Webber himself stated that he wrote Phantom as a rock opera, which he also uses as the reason why he cast Gerry. And if you look at the person who was first cast as The Phantom, even before Crawford, Steve Harley, you can cleary see that a rock opera was exactly what Webber had in mind.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 8:18 p.m. CST

    It's about time Gerard Butler got a break out role

    by antonphd

    I still say he's perfect for Tony Stark. Ok. Ok. If you watch the Beowulf and Grendel behind the scenes, he makes a joke about having to do a nude swim scene in a movie and coming out of the freezing water in front of the whole crew as they snicker and little Gerard... but what was funny was how he joked that it made him look 1 inch when normally he's... 1 1/4 inches. You gotta appreciate any actor willing to have a sense of humor about themselves and especially about being an actor. There's not a lot of male actors that guys who aren't brainless can relate to in movies now days. I welcome any that come along. Daniel Craig, Clive Owen, Gerard Butler... wait... all these guys are non-american... huh... is there something to american male actors all being dumb asses in this generation? Well, I guess we do have Mattew Fox, he's up and coming. But damn... male leading actors in america are mostly pussies or idiots.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 8:19 p.m. CST

    sorry, but...

    by occula

    (and i can't believe i'm going off on this tangent) annamaria's right, phantom was not meant to be done with classical singers. the original phantom, andrew lloyd webber's said in interviews that someone like butler is who he always wanted to play the part. that being said, it's a totally gay musical. and, for whomever wanted to know if 'new world' was good, it certainly was, but you have to totally be in the mood for it. very atmospheric. maybe get stoned first. is the last amazon the thing scarlett johansson's doing?

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 8:28 p.m. CST

    weird actor stories

    by occula

    i actually have a lot of 'em because i used to work in PR, but my personal favorite involves, and yes this is not a typo, nell carter. i had to chaperone her for a junket and she locked me in her hotel room toilet and forced me to drink espresso until i threw up. this is because she was on some diet that involved drinking espresso as a sort of colonic and she wanted me to 'help her get through it' (and, before you think, how dumb were you, let me tell you that in hollywood you always do what you're told when you're young and stupid because you're living in constant fear that you're going to be replaced). so there i am, on my knees in the toilet, with nell fucking carter out in the hotel room screaming obscenities at me and ordering more espresso from room service.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 9:37 p.m. CST

    bruno kirby is dead

    by chickychow

    unexpected.

  • Aug. 15, 2006, 9:47 p.m. CST

    oh...sad.

    by occula

    he was such a charming funny character actor.

  • Aug. 16, 2006, 12:20 a.m. CST

    Gates of Fire

    by Vi

    Pressfield's 'Gates of Fire' if done true to the book would be a movie closer to the real thing than anything Hollywood has done up to this point. The way Pressfield describes phalanx combat is intense beyond belief and would tear up the theater if given the chance. The way he descibes the phalanx coliding, almost like an American Football game, bowling men over end over end; trampling, shoving, slashing, hacking, screaming, pissing, bleeding, shitting - it's all there. His book is the best description of ancient combat I have ever read. His main character, Xeo, is kind of thin, but that's only because he's the narrator. I suspect to make the book into a viable screenplay they'll have to combine Xeo's character with Rooster and drop the Xeo backstory altogether.

  • Aug. 16, 2006, 1:06 a.m. CST

    Gates of Fure

    by Arion214

    George Clooney had the option on that book and was looking at making a movie using it but, I guess it's in limbo now. Maybe next year.

  • Aug. 16, 2006, 1:24 a.m. CST

    Trailer is supposed to be out next month

    by IMScully33

    Or so Snyder's 300 blog says. I can't wait. The one at ComicCon was fucking awesome. This movie is going to be HUGE. And messi, check your facts. Emmy Rossum was trained at the Metropolitan Opera. It was Minnie Driver's voice that was dubbed over. Personally I liked Phantom and thought Butler did great. All the negativity was just 20 years of pent up hatred towards the stage musical. You people should sit through the stage production I saw last Christmas...you'd be begging Butler's pardon in a hurry.

  • Aug. 16, 2006, 1:26 a.m. CST

    Oh and...

    by IMScully33

    There WAS an illegal snippet on YouTube of the 300 trailer. Just the beginning though, whoever taped it at SDCC must have gotten caught before the cool parts. It stops just as it's getting really good. WB may have taken it down by now though...type in "300 trailer" and see.

  • Aug. 16, 2006, 4:13 a.m. CST

    Quint, you have the best job in the world

    by peopleintrees

    and this is coming from a pornstar/watermelon competition eater

  • Aug. 16, 2006, 8:16 a.m. CST

    Regina Taylor

    by JimmyJoe RedSky

    hey regina - when i was a kid in gradeschool (in the '70s) there was this young teacher at my school named regina taylor - i had a huge crush on her - tall valuptuous/statuesque black woman - and she was very kind as well - that isnt you is it?

  • Aug. 16, 2006, 11:44 p.m. CST

    Wrong Bitch Jimmy, And Emmy Rossum Is Hot As Hell

    by The Ender

    I dont care if she dubbed her voice in real life conversations, Emmy Rossum is gorgeous