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?

A Birthday Tribute: Top Five Fave Gerry Butler Scenes


Gerard James Butler – or simply Gerry to his fans – turns 41 today!
It’s been nearly five years since I first fell for the Scot, perhaps the longest I’ve ever had a crush on any actor. I’ve written my ‘origins’ story of how he first captured me in my first B’day tribute to him, it’s a role that still bewitches me every time I watch it. He’s also the only actor I love whom I have actually met (at TIFF 2005), an experience I shall never forget and wish I could relive it again one day (I promise I will ask first before I shake your hands, Gerry! ;))

Ever since I started this blog back in June 2009, Butler is the first actor I blog about with my review of Dear Frankie (which I originally wrote for Friendster, boy have I dated myself or what?), as well as post this riveting short film called Please! he did back in 1999 (he’s shown his dramatic range even then, and boy do I love that super thick Scottish accent!). Since then I’ve constantly featured him on FC: I’ve given you various GB news and commentaries, why he’s my pick for People’s sexiest man alive, and my open letter pleading that he’d ditch sub-par scripts (and vapid rom-coms) but keep doing the genre-jumping that he’s been known to do.

I’ve also posted my top five Gerry Butler roles … which interestingly enough hasn’t changed since a year ago. This versatile actor sure likes to genre-jump, portraying contrasting characters one after another (playing an American pastor vs. a Roman general in next year’s Machine Gun Preacher and Coriolanus). I sure hope he’d never stop mixing things up!

The Many Faces of Gerard Butler

Well, I think I’ve said enough about this fine actor, and why write it if you can show it, right? So with that said, I present to you five favorite clips from five of my favorite Gerry Butler movies:

Phantom (Phantom of the Opera) – The sultry Point of No Return scene

Johnny Donne  (BBC miniseries The Jury) – Johnny heartbroken over Rose’s confession

King Leonidas (300) –  A King’s last words… “My Queen, My Wife, My Love..”

The Stranger (Dear Frankie) – The beguiling and irresistible doorway kiss

Gerry (P.S. I Love You) – The gregarious and lively karaoke scene


May the years continue to be good to you. Happy Birthday, Gerry!

***

This is PART 1 of the GB Birthday post, view PART 2: GB Tribute from FlixChatter’s Friends.

My Top 5 Favorite Gerard Butler Roles

The Many Faces of Gerard Butler
The Many Faces of Gerard Butler

This post that’s been on my draft folder for a while, but today seems as timely as ever for five reasons: IMDB featured him on its Character Spotlight section on the main page on Thursday, he was on Kimmel last Friday, his actioner flick GAMER just opened this weekend, and today EW’s PopWatch blog just posted “Is GB a lover or a fighter?” article. I’ve been a fan of Gerry — as he preferred to be called as Americans can’t pronounced Ger-ERD for the life of them — for about five years now. Some of you loyal readers know it all started when I saw The Phantom of the Opera in Winter of 2004 and was mesmerized by his performance. I became a GB groupies for a while, even going so far as planning a trip to the Toronto Film Festival in ’05 after learning he might one of the celeb lineups to promote Beowulf & Grendel. As I’ve outlined in my previous TIFF post, I ended up “meeting” him, well if you can call it that, which was the highlight of my trip.

I think it’s great that ze Butler is on people’s radar lately, even though I’d rather focus on his work instead of on the relentless gossips written about him. It’s a pity however, that I’ve decided to skip two of his latest offerings at the theater, but given that I did see Rocknrolla earlier this year and looking forward to Law Abiding Citizen next month, I’d still get my ‘Gerry fix’ by year’s end. He’s a talented and charismatic actor IMO, despite what some of you may think after you saw The Ugly Truth. But think about it, what actor is entirely immune from making bad acting choices? Even thespian like Ralph Fiennes did Maid in Manhattan with JLo for cryin’ out loud, which practically made TUT look like an Oscar contender.

Just a couple of facts: he’s done 37 movies in the last 12 years, even though he’s a late bloomer in the business having entered the industry when he was already 27. He’s got a law degree from Glasgow University, so he’s more than a pretty face and that intellect definitely comes across on and off screen. He’s what you’d call a chameleon actor, being able to ‘disappear’ into a role and look very different from film to film. When I first saw him as the Phantom, I had absolutely no idea that I’ve seen two of his previous films (as Angelina’s boy toy in Tomb Raider 2 and playing archeologist Andre Marek in Timeline). As you can see in my collage above, he’s done multiple genres of movies ranging from biopic (Attila), action (300), rom-com (P.S. I Love You), musical (Phantom), thriller (Law Abiding Citizen), drama (Dear Frankie), horror (Dracula 2000), even a kiddie flick with Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island). That’s quite impressive for someone with no formal training whatsoever. With that said, I’m not going to sidestep the fact that when it comes to doing accents, he’s not as adept in that department as say, Christian Bale or Russell Crowe. My colleague even said the worst part about The Ugly Truth was Gerry’s horrible American accent, which was totally distracting as he simply didn’t buy his character as an American. That should be a critique any actor should take to heart and work harder at perfecting. Personally, it hasn’t bothered me to the point that I stop watching his movies, and that’s largely because he is so darn charismatic. Well hot too, obviously, but über hotness alone can only hold my interest for so long.

So without further ado, let’s get on my Top Five Gerry Butler’s Favorite Roles:

  1. Phantom (Phantom of the Opera)
    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.
  2. 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.
    ….
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Honorable Mentions:

  • OneTwo (Rocknrolla)
  • Andre Marek (Timeline)

So to answer EW’s PopWatch question, GB can be both a fighter AND a lover. He can’t be boxed into one type of role, which I hope will always be the case. Oh GB & co., if you’re reading this, I think you’ve done enough share of rom-coms by now, how about doing BURNS or The Teacher Man? Those are definitely right up your alley!

Anyhoo, I’m looking forward to see him bring his raw intensity in Law Abiding Citizen. According to this site, the script sounds pretty solid, so it’s up to his and Jamie Foxx’s performances to make this one a classic thriller. Can’t wait!