Gerard Butler on ‘Machine Gun Preacher’ and ‘300: Battle of Artemisia’

The action star on his new dramatic performance and whether he'll appear in the prequel to 300.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

Gerard Butler gave a press conference at the Toronto International Film Festival for his movie Machine Gun Preacher, the true story of Sam Childers’s crusade for the Sudanese children. I waited until the conference was over to ask him my questions, a couple takes on the film from my own perspective, then the 300: Battle of Artemisia angle.


CraveOnline: You’ve done a lot of romantic comedies and action movies lately. Was it important for your soul to do one that talked about something?

Gerard Butler: Absolutely. That’s why I did it but I feel like all through my career, in larger or smaller ways, I try to put some message in there.  Even in a fun movie like P.S I Love You I think there are great messages in there. Even in a movie like 300 or Beowulf, there are always messages based on courage or tolerance or fighting the demon within, of unity. This is in a more obvious way because it’s actually dealing with a person’s journey to save children in Africa. Yeah, there’s a more direct message in that sense. If it touches you, it touches you when it watches you as an audience, that’s what touched me as an actor. Yeah, I guess I felt a responsibility to make a movie like that.


How do you deal with awards buzz that surrounds this type of movie?

Oh, I don’t. You know what? I can’t get caught up in all that. I just hope people go and see the movie and people like the movie. Really, at the end of the day, that’s what I love. When people come out of this movie I can see they genuinely were touched and got something from it, then that’s the most exciting thing.


They’re saying there is a role for Leonidas in the new ‘300’ script, even if it’s just a cameo. Are you excited about that?

Yeah, they’ve been talking about it for years though so every now and again it seems to gather some energy behind it but I don’t know.


But if it’s at the point where there’s a script and it says: “Exterior – Sparta – Day – Leonidas is in the scene.”

Then I’ll look at it. It just depends on the script. If it’s an amazing script then we can talk but I haven’t seen anything yet so it’s kind of hard for me to comment in the dark like that.