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becozy

5/5 - Spartan Efficiency

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Thanks to bflo for the heads up on this!

MOVIE MAKER, Issue #80, Vol. 16, Spring 2009

The article, 'Spartan Efficiency' is an interview with Gerry regarding Law Abiding Citizen.

Magazine on sale now at larger outlets, and from the Movie Maker

Arriving on the Philadelphia set of Law Abiding Citizen, I'm ushered into a small, out-of-the way room where a Catholic priest in full canonical dress is waiting. Luckily, I'm not in need of last rights, this priest is actually producer Alan Siegel, in costume for his cameo as a clergyman who attends the execution of a prisoner in today's scene. Siegel is the longtime manager of actor Gerard Butler (200, P.S. I Love You) and the film is the first under their new production banner, Evil Twin. They're working alongside The Film Department's Mark Gill and Neil Sacker.

As Siegel walks me around the set to talk, no less than a dozen crew members pop out and do a variation on the same joke. "Bless me father, it has been 30 years since my last confession. Is that bad?" Siegel takes it in stride, making the sign of the cross for everyone as we walk and he fills me in on the film's long production history.

Law Abiding Citizen began eight years ago with another pair of collaborators, veteran producer Lucas Foster and writer-director Kurt Wimmer. A side project they tinkered with for years while developing other films together, like Equilibrium and Ultraviolet, it was in danger of being shelved until a fortuitous meeting broke the logjam.

As Wimmer's ultra-hot script, Salt, was making the Hollywood rounds, he met with Butler about the plum role, but ended up turning him on to Law Abiding Citizen, the story of an ambitious district attorney who allows some vicious murderers to plea down their cases, and in the process earns the wrath of one of their victims, a tech wizard named Clyde (played by Butler).

With Butler on board, the team began courting top-tier talent, including Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx and two-time nominee Frank Darabont. Pre-Production commenced, tut many kinks remained and Darabont began doing rewrites intended to draw the script closer to the somber prison dramas he knows so well. In doing so, he clashed with the producers, who were set on a white-knuckled thriller. Darabont eventually walked away, making way for F. Gary Gray, helmer of crime thrillers The Negotiator and The Italian Job.

On the day MovieMaker visited the set, all elements seemed to be clicking and an atmosphere of grim concentration was evident as I watched Butler perform dozens of takes of a crucial prison cell confrontation between himself and Foxx. When the scene finally wrapped, late into the night, Butler and I found an out-of-the-way corner to talk about his first outing as a feature producer.

RYAN STEWART (MM): I was impressed by your concentration through all those takes. What do you think about after take 50 to keep your mind sharp? Women?

GERARD BUTLER (GB): (laughs) I was there! It's very funny, because people watch movies and they can't appreciate the conversations that go on between scenes which often have nothing to do with the movie. It might be about women or music. For me, when it's a particularly heavy scene, one of my ways of keeping focus is to relax, to laugh and joke. It's not about focusing your mind for 18 hours at a time, because then you'd just exhaust yourself.

MM: And it's understood that Jamie will stand there for you through every take to help your reaction?

GB: I think it's understood. I would never in a million years abandon my fellow actor; I'll always be there for them, even in the tiniest of shots. Jamie is the same way. When we started and were filming at City Hall, my character had nothing to say to him-he was far away and I just had to look at him. It was so cold, but I felt that I needed him and he was more than happy to stand out there in the cold. That was actually kind of nice, seeing as my character is not too happy with him in this movie. It was nice to see him suffer. (laughs)

MM: Why the decision to put on a producer's hat this time. Does it mean more control? More responsibility? More confidence?

GB: All of those things - it's definitely a double-edged sword. It's been amazing to be so involved in the creative process. I've found that with the movies before now, you could only be creative up to a point and then you'd lack a certain amount of control. I have a lot of confidence in other areas. On this film I've been allowed to put all of that in: into the development of the script, in casting and even in choosing the director, and that's been amazing. It's also a big responsibility-it's your movie. There's more on your shoulders and if you're going to f*** it up, you're not just f***ing it up as an actor, you're f***ing it up as a producer.

I have found the whole thing stressful, but also exciting. When you sit back and look around and you see all these sets and the people working, you think, "Wow, if at any point we had dropped this project, all of this wouldn't be happening. All these people wouldn't be working." Every day I look at the dailies and it's even more exciting than normal, because you know you're so responsible for all of that coming through. Ultimately, it's...what do they say? More pain, more gain?

MM: No pain, no gain.

GB: Right, no pain, no gain. But I like more pain, more gain!

MM: Which part of producing has been the most fun?

GB: Developing scripts. I think I'm very competent at that, if I do say so myself. Going into a script, ripping it apart, developing the scenes, developing characters, taking out characters, all of that-making things more interesting, giving it more edge, whatever it is-I love doing that. I'm seeing a million things happen in this movie and I go, 'Oh, that was my idea!' Or 'This has changed,' or 'That line has changed.' I'm heavily involved in all of that.

MM: Would you say this movie is typical of what Evil Twin wants to make going forward?

GB: Just like me as an actor, I don't think any movie would be indicative of anything for me. That's what I find exciting...I don't think people have seen me in a role like this before but, likewise, I just did a romantic comedy and then an action movie, so I would hope that our production company goes along the same lines. We'll do the stuff that interests us, and hopefully other people. In any genre.

MM: Are you still pushing to do more as an actor?

GB: I'm pushing to do less! My big fight at the moment is not to take on too much and it's very hard. I have a couple of friends whose careers are taking off right now and they are booked for the next year. As much as I'm excited for them, I also tell them, 'Just remember, if it's going great for you, then maybe you want to keep it to two projects instead of three, because you want to have life as well.'

I do know one of the reasons I'm here is because I worked so hard, but at the same time I sometimes wish I'd gone at it 90 percent instead of 100 percent. I wish I'd forced myself to take more time off. At the moment, I have so many projects coming out that I could work every day of this year. So I'm rushing to reduce things. It's hard because I love acting and I get so excited about projects and find it difficult to say 'no.' My agent said to me, "You're at a stage where you could get a lot of the projects that you love, but you'll also have to say 'no' to things you love." In days gone by, I'd sometimes say 'yes' to things I didn't even like that much, because I didn't have much of a choice. Now, things I think are amazing, I still say 'no.' There aren't enough hours in the day.

Law Abiding Citizen will be released by Overture Films in early 2010.

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Is there a transcript or a direct link? I couldn't find it when I went to Movie Maker. Just noticed it over on the left...never mind...

:wuv:

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:funnyup:

LOL!!! Ask and ye shall receive!!

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fantastic little interview.

it wasn't very long, but you found out so much.

that clyde is a tech guru!

my favorite part is gerry talking about developing scripts/characters/scenes as his favorite part of being a producer!

really interesting to hear about this part of his job which is not only new to him, but his fans as well.

i really liked the part about having to say 'no' to great projects he loves. i'd like to know what some of those were, but i'm happy with the choices he has made. i hope he is too!!

thanks :)

Edited by BaileyS

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Thank you so much for sharing this with us ;) Loved the interview

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This is a great interview because the questions asked were some that I've wondered about too - why the decision to become a producer, what he likes most about that, and as usual very insightful answers from Gerry. I love his interviews, he seems to be so open and not guarded about what he says. Everytime I read something like this it makes me long for a chance to just sit down face to face with him and have a conversation someday. It will probably never happen, but I can keep hoping, right?

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For some reason, the print on the interview is to faint for me to read it. Is there anything I can do to see it better? HELP!

Thanks,

D

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I cannot for this movie to come out! I'm so interested to see Gerry playing this character. :tantrum:

It will be amazing to see him in a film like this; it is so different from his previous movies.

Next year seems way too far.......

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For some reason, the print on the interview is to faint for me to read it. Is there anything I can do to see it better? HELP!

Thanks,

D

Delene,

my eyes popped out while I was reading it. Maybe if you save it then you can make it larger.

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I had the same problem Delene but I just stuck my face right up to my screen and strained to get it read! ;) Wish I would have thought of saving it to make it larger! :bonk: It was all worth it though! Great interview...Thanks

:cunning: Frannie

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LOL, that makes two of us, Frannie!! But it was worth the eyestrain, wasn't it!!

J.

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Great interview! I bet Gerry enjoyed this one because there were intelligent questions asked instead of the usual gossip type ones.

Another little hint: Clyde is a tech guru.

:funnyup: Frannie and mommaduck, definitely worth the effort!

Diane

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That was the largest size image I have...

please buy the magazine and show 'em some love from Gerry's gals!

As time permits, I'll see if I can add text to the first post

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Thank you becozy! :goodjob:

:wow2: Very insightful interview. Great questions.

This Movie Maker magazine reporter is a true journalist.

GJB 's becoming a renaissance man, always learning, always exploring.

Wish all of HIS interviews could be as informative.

:igotgals:

:sword:

Edited by Red Queen Gorgo

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That was the largest size image I have...

please buy the magazine and show 'em some love from Gerry's gals!

As time permits, I'll see if I can add text to the first post

I think I will buy it.

Thanks, Barb.

D

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What a great interview. I hope he isn't going to slow down to much. I also want him to have a life full of love and laughter, but I would miss him toooooo much if he decided not to act as much. I hope he goes on at his present rate for a few more years and doesn't abandon the "strike while the iron is hot" theory. I would hate to see his career vanish into oblivion by to little exposure. He has worked so hard to get to this point in his career, I'd hate to see him loose it all to soon. He is so talented and so intelligent, he can shake this world up for all the good things through his career and I hope to see him keep doing just that.

Love him absolutely,

Sandy

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Great interview!

Glad Gerry is getting to expand as a producer. Sounds like he is also getting to choose more roles that he likes and not just settle.

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Great interview. Very professional. It was nice to read Gerry talk about being a producer. I love the little insights he gives us into his brain and thought processes. My favorite part is him acknowledging how many jobs the movie provided for people. Always thinking of someone else ... :wuv:

The selfish woman in me also hopes he doesn't slow down too much from acting. But the rational woman who loves this man wants him to be healthy and happy. That's all that matters.

I think it's interesting that Alan has a cameo. Kinda cool, don't you think?

I cannot wait for this movie! :gah: It's too far away ...

:thankyou: Thanks, Barb, for getting the text typed up. I never would have been able to read that. I probably won't be able to buy this magazine here in my little town, but I'll definitely look for it. Always want to show the world how much Gerry is loved.

Lisa

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Great interview! I always enjoy the way he thinks..."More pain, more gain." I think he said that twisted on purpose. I would have twisted it by accident. I hope he gets enough free time to keep him happy, and, just enough time to keep him in the spotlight with great roles and movies to produce... sounds like a balancing act.

I'm glad to see he found still another creative outlet. Inspiring! He is bursting at the seems with a developing, stimulating personality.

Sally

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It was a great interview and just shows how intelligent his way of thinking is. He has more up there than most people give him credit for and I hope his decision to become a producer gives him alot of satisfaction and fulfilment.

Moira

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Thank you Barb. Thanks also to bflo for bringing the article to notice.

I'm hoping that we shall see more interviews in the same vein as time goes by.

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I originally enlarged the article to 125% and could read it just fine. I'd love to add Movie Maker to my collection of Gerry magazine articles. Wonderful interview...and Gerry is so articulate and smart. He's a true Renaissance Man, he's just brilliant! I love the hint about Clyde being a tech guru...gives just enough away without any spoilers. I love his versatility with the roles he chooses and he's right...I don't think we've ever seen him in a role like this. Looking forward to those other great roles he has chosen.

Thank you!

:yay::wuv:

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