Happy 43rd Birthday Gerard Butler!

I can’t believe I almost forgot that today’s Gerry Butler’s birthday! I actually remembered it last month as I knew the date falls on the 13th. Alas, my fourth tribute to my long-time crush comes a little late. Ger, if you’re reading this, I hope you don’t mind! (yeah, dream on girl)

Well, this marks my FOURTH tribute to the 43-year-old actor since I fell for him back in 2005 right after I saw Phantom of the Opera for the second time on the big screen. But I didn’t have a blog back then until about 5 years later. So if you do the math, that means I’ve been a fan of his for the last seven years. I’m pretty loyal I guess when it comes to my crush. Though I was spellbound by Gregory Peck for a time (I’m sure y’all remember), I never really forget about my beloved Scot. I mean how could I? He’s my only cinematic crush I’ve ever been blessed to meet, as you’ve probably read in my TIFF nostalgia post.

Seems that I have created all kinds of lists in Gerry’s honor. On my first tribute on this blog, I actually shared an excerpt from my work-in-progress temporarily abandoned Whirlwind novel where the male protagonist is pretty much inspired by GB. I mean his name is Eric Sheridan, I think GB’s fans would know where that comes from ;)

Here are a few other tributes for GB over the years:

One of the 42 reasons Becky and I agree on is how versatile GB is as an actor.

He’s played a brother to a confidant of Queen Victoria, Dracula, a young, out-of-work, scheming cad, Attila the Hun, a lonely alcoholic juror who finds love in the wrong place, a time traveling archaeologist, a temporary father to a young deaf boy, Beowulf, a Spartan king, a very loving, charming husband who dies much too soon, an amateur gangster, the voice of a father to an animated boy who ends up taming dragons, a reformed drug addict turned preacher, who in turn gives back life and hope to impoverished children in Africa, a soccer coach, a surfing coach, and a lot more. Whew!

The many faces of GB in the movies

Now, the Top Five Favorite GB Roles post is not a birthday tribute but I’m re-posting that list again here as three years later, even though I have seen six more of his films, I still don’t know which ones I’d swap out and I’m not quite ready to make a top 10 list yet (save that for next year perhaps). So let’s just say I’m putting his roles in Rocknrolla, Machine Gun Preacher, Coriolanus, Timeline and Chasing Mavericks in honorable mentions for now.

The Phantom/Erik (Phantom of the Opera)

The moment I went ‘who’s THAT guy?’

This one is obviously going to be the top of the list, being the role that won me over. Some critics trashed his singing, comparing it to Michael Crawford’s voice — the original Phantom on Broadway — which is unfair as he had no vocal training prior to doing this role. Besides, Gerry’s rock ‘n roll voice was what Andrew Llyod Webber wanted for the film and I could see why. The way he imbued each song with such genuine heart-felt emotion was beautiful and devastating to watch. In fact, he sort of ruined the stage version for me as I’d much prefer Gerry’s dazzling performance. Plus, he could swing that cape like nobody’s business, and even with a half deformed face, he was as sexy as ever.

Johnnie Donne  (BBC miniseries The Jury)

Every time people tell me he can’t act, I almost always tell them to catch a glimpse of this little-seen legal drama. Gerry played a recovering alcoholic juror who’s trying to get his life back on track in the midst of a grueling murder trial. Even early in his career, I was impressed with his intense dramatic chops. It’s all in the eyes with Gerry, and all the close-up shots throughout this series truly captured the inner struggle of his character. My favorite scene is when he learned the truth about the woman he’s in love with. I can’t watch that scene without tearing up. He made brokenness and heartbreak so utterly bewitching.

King Leonidas (300)

The world finally learns who Gerry is because of this role. It’s not one of my fave GB movies because of the genre, but the movie worked because the audience believed in him as the King. Gerry transformed himself physically which definitely helped the role, but his regal yet severe demeanor gave Leonidas that commanding presence. If you see GB in any interview or talk-show, we know he’s a gregarious and goofy guy, but there’s no trace of that in this role.

The Stranger (Dear Frankie)

This tiny gem of a movie won many festival film awards and remains one of my all-time favorites. GB’s only in it for merely 20 minutes or so, but every single scenes he’s in packs an emotional wallop. There’s probably only a page of dialog written for his character, which is why it calls for a very restrained and measured kind of acting. There’s a scene where the Stranger reacted to something Frankie’s mother Lizzie said. I can’t forget that look on his face: it was a mix of disgust, pity, anger and deep sympathy all rolled into one.

Gerry (P.S. I Love You)

GB’s new fans from 300 was flabbergasted to see his soft side right after such a bad @$$ role, but that’s exactly what I expect from him. He’s said in interviews that he shared some of the gregariousness of his ‘Gerry’ character and it shows. He plays him with such ease and is as convincing as a softie, goofy dude — complete with the shamrock-boxer-clad striptease — as he was as a tough-as-nail King of Sparta. Having to act opposite two-time Oscar winner must’ve been daunting but lots of people who’ve seen this actually thought it’s Hillary Swank who could be better cast here.


Quick Thoughts on GB’s Career

I know he’s had a share of flops the past couple of years, though certainly no fault of his. Machine Gun Preacher was marketed poorly — actually barely is the more fitting word here — and Chasing Mavericks seems to suffer a similar fate. He was excellent in Coriolanus but the Shakespearean dialog naturally deters a lot of people from seeing it in its brief theatrical run (it never even made it to some states like here in MN). But I give GB props for constantly trying something new and challenging himself. He’s not afraid to try something new, I mean he learned how to surf at 41, that’s really quite something! He seems to often suffer for his art, too, something I’ve always admired about him. From sitting in the makeup chair for over 5 hours for Phantom, working out until his muscles are gone for 300, and nearly drowning to death in Chasing Mavericks. GB seems to live his life to the fullest… albeit too close to the edge at times.

Despite being a longtime fan, I have skipped a couple of GB movies, such as Gamer. I’ve also detested two of his rom-coms (The Ugly Truth and The Bounty Hunter) as they’re both so badly-written. I’m hoping Playing For Keeps would fare a bit better the fact that it’s more of a soccer dramedy as his character is a former Celtic football player. Plus he gets to keep his native Scottish accent, hurray! I’m looking forward to Olympus Has Fallen, yes it’s that Die Hard in the White House flick, but I’d love to see GB in a full-throttle action again and it’s nice to see him being surrounded by the likes of Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Aaron Eckhart, and Melissa Leo, amongst others. Hopefully we see a trailer soon and also a much, much better poster than this one, preferably with his name actually listed on the darn thing (seriously!)

If I have one wish for him is that he’d choose his next project wisely. Hollywood is fickle and with three flops back-to-back, a lot of people might think his career is over by now. I’d love to see him take on some supporting roles in high-profile projects and work with top notch filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, what have you. Perhaps the pressure is on for him to always be the lead but I think taking on supporting roles like he did in Coriolanus might actually broaden his horizon so to speak. He’s a versatile and capable actor but I feel that his talent has been either wasted on sub-par movies or that his good performances get grossly overlooked. I sure hope better years lie ahead for him… oh and that he’d FINALLY do the Robert Burns biopic that he’d be perfect for!

So, Happy Birthday, Gerry! Here’s to good health, joyful days and a long lasting cinematic career!


So that’s my belated tribute, folks. Thoughts you want to share on Gerry Butler?

45 thoughts on “Happy 43rd Birthday Gerard Butler!

  1. Okay, Ruth. ya redeemed yourself! I was chuckling a little seeing that you had forgotten earlier today. I even dedicated my Time to Vote Tuesday poll all to Gerard Butler and then came here and was shocked to see no GB post here. ;) I think I even mentioned it on Nov’s site. heehee.

    It’s okay. I’m sure GB had a great bday regardless. But I know you made the end of it even better. :) a nice tribute.

    and thank you for letting me be a part in the past.

    • Ahah well I stayed up ’til midnight to work on it and I had to recycle from an old post. But hey, I still want to do something special for the guy. I don’t think I’ve ever had a crush for anyone longer than him! Thank you for dedicating a poll in his name, love it!

  2. happy birtday Gerry!! :)
    He might read it Ruth…we never know. Last week, few days before my birthday, an author spotted my blog and left his comment…this author’s book is made into movie, staring my dearest Cillian Murphy!! …and please read my future post when I interview that author about the movie :)

    Now…how could you almost forgot Gerry’s birthday?? ck ck ck…even I who at the moment crazily in love with Noel Fielding didn’t forget my monthly murphy anniversary ;)

    • Oh I doubt it Nov, he’s probably not as tech savvy as Cilli. His people might read it though, so who knows. That is very cool that you got to interview the author of the book that’ll be adapted into Cilli’s next movie, wow! I’ll be sure to check that out.

      Ahah well I was kicking myself yesterday afternoon, but hey at least I got it done before midnight :)

  3. Nice celebration of his birthday. I don’t think I’ve featured him yet in my Many Faces of posts yet. Might do one soon as I know that would make you happy :)

  4. Fantastic post Ruth. Who cares if it was a little late, Gerry would still be proud. Kudos for mentioning mine and Gerry’s beloved football team Celtic. It’s quite something to be even aware that the team exists. However, in Scotland it’s a massive deal.
    Anyway… HAPPY BIRTHDAY GERRY! :-)

    • Thanks Mark! Well I still feel bad that I forgot about it. I often check IMDb to see whose birthday it is today and you should’ve seen my face when I realize GB’s face on the homepage!!

      Oh I am aware of Celtic team as every GB fan should, he mentions it often. Have you ever seen the interview where he said the word ‘soccer’ and he was mortified! He couldn’t believe he didn’t say ‘football’ instead, ahah. I’m thrilled that they change his role from a baseball coach to a soccer coach when he was cast.

      • Oh btw, I’ve added the bit about the Burns biopic, that’s another wish I have for him that’s yet to be fulfilled! I know his time has passed but it would’ve been awesome to see GB as Bond the fact that he’s really a Scot, you must get a kick out of seeing that beautiful Scottish Castle in Skyfall, Mark!

        • That Burns biopic would be great. You know I’m a fan of that project happening as well. GB would be perfect for the role. Apparently Burns was a bit of a ladies man in his day.

          As for the Scottish part of Skyfall, I’ve actually been there many times. I used to go for walks and camping through that Glen. It’s called Glen Etive and can be reached fairly easily from Glasgow – a bus will take you from the city centre and drop you right at the start of it in about about 2 hour journey. If you ever make it to Scotland that place should be top of your list. There are small hotels near by also. I’m not surprised they used it in Skyfall, it’s one of the worlds most beautiful places.

          • Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking! GB being a ladies man should be perfect as Burns ;)

            Oh man, I’m sooo jealous that you live in such a gorgeous country like Scotland!! If I ever make it there, would you be our tour guide? He..he.. When the scene in Scotland came about, I kept nudging my hubby, ‘when are we going there?!’ It’s been a dream of mine to visit the Highlands, and now I have a friend to visit as well ;)

      • LOL. has he went as far to call it soccer now? Oh dear, Gerry! ;-) He’ll be a happy man about his team over the last week. They beat Barcelona in a european competition. It’s practically unheard of for Celtic to beat a team of their world class ability. I suppose it would have been a nice early birthday present for him. Every Celtic fan is ecstatic.

        • Hey I found the interview I was referring to: http://youtu.be/T6eLThXVjKY So funny that he said it’s like forgetting your mother’s name to say ‘soccer’ instead of ‘football!’

          Oh congrats Celtics!!! Way to go! I’m sure he’s thrilled about that. That’s very cool Mark, sometimes it’s nice to be the underdog as people won’t expect too much from you, y’know. I can’t wait to see him with that soc… er football uniform ;)

    • Thanks Fernando! Oh I like him a lot in Shattered. I actually own the dvd. I wish they had stuck with the original title, it’s far more interesting. Too bad it went straight to dvd, I thought it was a decent thriller and he actually outshone Brosnan in that one, which proves that he’d make a great Bond :)

      • It’s a pretty good movie. I went to see it in theaters with my aunt and I wasn’t too excited (I had a minor Pierce Brosnan aversion at the time) but I ended up liking it a lot. Butler was great and so was the suspense. That movie should be better known.

        • Oh you saw it on the big screen? Lucky you! It never made it to the theaters here where I live :( I’m not fond of Brosnan either but I think Butler’s performance is far more compelling anyway. It’s a pretty good suspense movie, I do wish more people would give it a shot.

  5. You know I was watching Tomorrow Never Dies a few weeks ago and saw Butler had a minor role in it, had not been for his thick Scottish accent, I probably wouldn’t recognize him. He looked really young in that scene. I haven’t seen many of his films, I think the last one I saw was 300 and I’m not a big fan of that film. For sure I’ll be seeing the Die Hard in the White House film since it’s favorite genre. Who knows if that film turns out to be a box office hit, he might get to work with big named directors.

    • Ahah yeah, GB was in Tomorrow Never Dies, I think he was still studying to be a lawyer then so he worked as an extra there.

      Hey Ted, are you a fan of Antoine Fuqua’s work? I’ve only seen King Arthur out of his films but I know he’s famous for Training Day. You have seen Tears of the Sun right? Well for sure I think I’d like GB’s Die Hard film better as the Channing Tatum version is by Roland Emerich, who’s the Michael Bay of doomsday movies, ahah.

      • I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of Fuqua, Training Day was very good and I liked King Arthur mostly because of Clive Owen’s performance, I thought the movie itself was a mess. Tears of the Sun was okay, it became too preachy for my liking half way through the film. I did enjoy his last action flick Shooter with Mark Walberg, he does know how to stage some cool action sequences.

        • I haven’t seen Shooter yet. Well good that he knows how to shoot action sequences, hopefully no hand-held camera stuff involved. I’m really pumped about that one though if you saw that poster it’s absolutely awful and they FORGOT to actually list GB’s name on it, ahah!! Morgan Freeman and Aaron Eckhart’s names are also missing!

  6. Great post Ruth. Glad to see some love for his work in Phantom and Dear Frankie. He’d be great in serious supporting roles under great directors. He should do that more. :)

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  8. Very nice tribute! I must say I don’t know many of his films but I really liked him in Rock’n’Rolla and he was so charming in PS: I Love You. He looks awesome for 43 years old!

    • Thank you Sati! May I suggest Dear Frankie if you haven’t seen it? Yes he’s awesome in Rocknrolla, he really should do more action comedies! P.S. I Love You is one of my fave rom-coms as it’s not so formulaic and the girl actually loses the guy in this one. He does look good for his age, he’s even more rugged than ever!

  9. Happy birthday, Gerard Butler! *though a little late. I did saw P.S I Love You, and he was wonderful in it. It’s hard not to cry watching it. And I’ve been wanting to see Dear Frankie for some time. The most recent role of him I just saw (or hear) was How to Train Your Dragon.
    Very nice tribute, Ruth!

    • Yeah, I love P.S. I think GB’s ever so charming in it, amazing that he just came out of 300 when he made that. Dear Frankie is a must-see little film, hope you see that soon Andina.

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