This Just In: First pics of Gerard Butler as Machine Gun Preacher

I was going to make this week’s posts all about Inception, a tribute for Christopher Nolan and the cast of the movie. But hey, I make an exception for Gerry Butler, especially since I haven’t blogged about the guy in quite a while.

Thanks to HeyUGuys Blog’s tweet, we’ve got the first look of the Scottish actor as the machine gun preacher. I blogged about this last January when Butler was initially cast (there’s a photo of GB with the real preacher). The movie is based on a true story of Sam Childers, a former drug-dealing biker tough guy who found God and became a crusader hundreds of Sudanese children who’ve been kidnapped and pressed into duty as soldiers in the Lord’s Resistance Army. It’ll be inspired by Childers’ autobiography, Another Man’s War: The True Story of One Man’s Battle to Save Children in the Sudan.

Click to enlarge – images courtesy of http://justjared.buzznet.com
Click to enlarge – images courtesy of http://justjared.buzznet.com

According to JustJarred, in this scene, Butler’s character returns home and his daughter is waiting for him with a “Welcome Home Daddy” sign. Well, well, well, I guess this is what happens when Leonidas become a bad ass biker, eh? First the beard, now comes the mullet 🙂 Kidding aside, I’m so glad to see him tackle a serious role of someone whose story is worth telling. As I said in my open letter last March, this is a welcome departure from banal rom-com territory!

Acclaimed director Marc Forster whose work I admire, Kite Runner, Stranger than Fiction, Finding Neverland, is directing the action drama, and filming takes place in Detroit starting last week, and later in South Africa. The cast is a pretty good one, too, Michelle Monaghan as his wife, Michael Shannon his best friend and Kathy Baker as his mother. Vera Farmiga was originally cast as his wife, but had to pull out of the project due to her pregnancy. Aceshowbiz reported that since the role means traveling to Africa this Summer, she’d have been too far along to be able to make it. That’s too bad, I’d have loved to see her opposite Butler, she was fantastic in Up in the Air.

Lionsgate has acquired the rights to distribute this film, and it’s set for release September 11, 2011 (man, that date still gets me after all these years). Can’t wait to see the trailer for this. I’ll be sure to post it as soon as it arrives!

P.S. More pics available @ Zimbio of GB riding a Harley