Happy 40th Birthday, Gerry Butler!

Happy birthday to my favorite Scot! The big 4-0, woo hoo, what a milestone! Oh, where do I begin? I’ve liked you for so long and there’s so much to say. Yet when it comes down to it, words fail me. Well, I’m going to try anyway, so here’s my tribute, straight from the heart.

It was December 2004 when I first laid eyes on you — though I probably have seen you before but didn’t realize who you were — when you showed up with half of your face covered in the titular white mask as the Phantom. You infused the quintessentially ‘ugly’ figure with such sultriness and magnetism, seducing not only Christine but also every female audience member in theaters across the world. Countless interviews/talk show appearances later, your charming personality truly got me hooked. Hollywood’s full of hunky actors, but none has mesmerized me on and off screen the way you do and the more. Your interviews are always a hoot, peppered with your wicked sense of humor and such refreshing openness that’s so fun to watch. Looks, talent, intelligence, sense of humor, you’ve got it all, Gerry. But yet, you’re by no means a ‘perfect’ guy nor do you ever claim to be, and that real-ness is what I love most about you. The more I learn about you, the more I realize that you’re much, much more than a pretty face or a hard body.

The Phantom takes Christine to his lair ... the moment I went 'who's THAT guy?'

You inspire me by pursuing your desire for acting with such passion and tenacity, even risking your law career you’ve worked so hard for. But you are made to perform with such chameleon-like flair to believably portray all kinds of diverse roles, and I’m sure glad you haven’t stopped mixing things up. It’s been fun following your career, you’ve certainly come a long way, though I wish you hadn’t been such a tabloid fodder with your increasing fame. Much congrats for realizing your dreams, and for venturing into new territory as a producer with Evil Twins. Here’s wishing for more dreams come true for you and more great acting projects in store (please, please, please do the Burns biopic!) I know I will always enjoy watching you on-screen for years to come.

Well, those who know me well are aware I’ve been writing my first ‘chick lit’ for the few years. I started writing it shortly after my chance ‘encounter’ with Gerry at TIFF — an experience I will always remember fondly and bring a gleeful smile to my face. It’s been left in the back burner as my blog took a life of its own, but I may pick it up again in the future. Well, as a tribute to him and fellow Gerry’s fans, I finally muster up the courage to share an excerpt from my work-in-progress Whirlwind novel. What a coincidence that he’s soon going back to his roots in Coriolanus soon, as the chapter involves the Shakespearean play where my main character Eric Sheridan is playing the title role. My story’s protagonist is Maggie Davies, a Chicago journalist and aspiring writer, who gets embroiled in an unexpected romance with the budding actor, and her life is never the same again. This chapter is where she, along with her BFF Max, meets Eric for the first after the play. No doubt you know whom I based the character Eric on and the significance of his name =)