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9/2 - The Actors: Gerard Butler, 'Machine Gun Preacher'


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The Actors: Gerard Butler, 'Machine Gun Preacher'

He gets choked up about playing real-life character Sam Childers.

Gerard Butler is crying.

It's a sunny afternoon and the actor best known as King Leonidas in "300" had just sauntered into a Los Feliz eatery, fresh off his Harley, adorned in a black T-shirt, army green pants and a helmet tucked close to his newly trim body. He's charmed the wait staff, ordered a salad along with his café latte so his guest won't have to eat alone, and is affably sharing anecdotes. Yet the moment he revisits his time in South Africa, playing Sam Childers, the real-life gun-wielding preacher who went to the Sudan and started an orphanage, his emotions can't be contained.

"This happened to me a lot when we were filming. I would just be overcome," he says through tears. "I feel every emotion. I haven't talked much about this movie in a while, and I did the other day, and I just started crying. I cried for about five minutes."

This time Butler's crying jag lasts a good two minutes.

"I don't know how I'm going to get through this," he says with a laugh while wiping his eyes as he ponders the exhaustive national media tour he's about to embark on to promote his upcoming passion project "Machine Gun Preacher," which opens Sept. 23.

Directed by Marc Forster ("Quantum of Solace"), "Preacher" forced Butler to examine his own demons as he embodied the violent, rageful Childers, a rural Pennsylvania native who transformed his drug-riddled, crime-filled life after finding God. Childers' born-again experience led him to becoming a preacher in his hometown before traveling to Africa, where he came upon hundreds of children orphaned at the hands of the Lord's Resistance Army, which was staging a violent campaign throughout Uganda, Sudan and the Congo. The atrocities propelled Childers to found an orphanage in Sudan in 1998 that now houses more than 200 children and feeds more than 1,000.

"A lot of the feelings I felt with Sam, the violence and the craziness, being out of control and not knowing how to live your life, I had all that," says Butler, who remade himself as an actor after his unhappiness with his first career as a lawyer led him to use alcohol and drugs. "Did I go around stabbing people and shooting people? No. Did I end up in Africa building an orphanage? No. But I did have a massive transformation in my life where I sorted everything out."

For Butler, who from July 2009 through March 2010 starred in what "could have been a career killer" five movies (including "The Ugly Truth" and "Law-Abiding Citizen"), the commitment to the part of Childers began a year before the cameras even started rolling. The 41-year-old Scot would sporadically meet with Forster and screenwriter Jason Keller for marathon sessions to deconstruct each scene. It's clearly a movie that affects him deeply but also one that allows him to "gain some gravitas and weight as an actor," he says.

It was also a unique experience for Keller to work so closely with a film's star.

"I think it was a great responsibility for Gerry to play the role of a guy who is alive, a guy who is as dynamic as Sam with a story that's so incredible," says Keller. "During the sessions, and even when we were filming, I saw him going deeper and deeper [into the role]. It was an incredible burden [for him]."

By Nicole Sperling, Los Angeles Times

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Gerry touches me still. He conveys so much emotion with his words and eyes, and wears his heart on his sleeve. This article choked me up, and I know I'll be crying like a baby at the movie. When he was filming in SA, I remember thinking how intense he seemed, not giving interviews, not taking photos, etc. He was so in the moment and so focused on his job, and I believe with all my being that it will be conveyed in his performance. No one better could have played this role, and I am so proud of Gerry for bringing the plight of the children of the Sudan to the rest of the world.

:wuv:

Lisa

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I do feel sorry for Gerry when he goes on the road promoting this movie. Every interviewer is going to try and get him emotional. We all know Gerry's background and how hard it was for Gerry to do "Dear Frankie". A great actor feels his role deep inside, which is why Gerry is such a great actor. Add to that his own life story and you will have lots of emotions on the surface of his being.

Now, if we can get this movie distributed around the country so many people can see it, Gerry will get the accolades he deserves.

~HUGS~ Kathy

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Oh Wow...what a great story! And I finally stopped to think OMG! It's close to coming out!! Yaaay!! I've been so busy, I didn't realize we were so close! I am so excited to see this :yay:

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Hello everybody! Wow. What a great article, and the fact that Gerry gets so emotional about it is just further affirmation of what we already know. This beautiful man is a truly caring, compassionate, sensitive, soulful creature. The interviews he's going to have to get through are going to be so hard on him...poor baby...

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Paisley3691

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For Butler, who from July 2009 through March 2010 starred in what "could have been a career killer" five movies (including "The Ugly Truth" and "Law-Abiding Citizen"),

What?? I think that's a bit much. Career killers? I hardly think either of those films could be considered that, especially LAC! Why do they have to take an otherwise touching article and throw in something negative like this? Five movies? Which other three are they referring too? It's like getting a back handed compliment! :tantrum:

Delene

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Gerry does keep his emotions close to the surface. I love a man who isn't afraid to be moved to tears if he feels it in his heart. He's passionate about what he does and that's evidence of it and if there is any one thing about Gerry that will never change is how much he cares about people, especially those who have no voice.

Delene

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For Butler, who from July 2009 through March 2010 starred in what "could have been a career killer" five movies (including "The Ugly Truth" and "Law-Abiding Citizen"),

What?? I think that's a bit much. Career killers? I hardly think either of those films could be considered that, especially LAC! Why do they have to take an otherwise touching article and throw in something negative like this? Five movies? Which other three are they referring too? It's like getting a back handed compliment! :tantrum:

Delene

What about Gamer and The Bounty Hunter,they were bad.

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For Butler, who from July 2009 through March 2010 starred in what "could have been a career killer" five movies (including "The Ugly Truth" and "Law-Abiding Citizen"),

What?? I think that's a bit much. Career killers? I hardly think either of those films could be considered that, especially LAC! Why do they have to take an otherwise touching article and throw in something negative like this? Five movies? Which other three are they referring too? It's like getting a back handed compliment! :tantrum:

Delene

What about Gamer and The Bounty Hunter,they were bad.

Why didn't she say "two movies" then instead of five and to include LAC in that equation? And my point was not whether any movies were good or bad or potential career killers, even though I thought the statement was a bit much, my point was that the interviewer felt compelled to throw it out there and implied all his movies during that time frame were stinkers. Tacky IMO. It's like saying, "Go see this new intense movie made by an actor who's career is going down hill." I'd make a note to stay away from that interviewer in the future!

I guess I'm the only one who picked up on the subliminal message here! It was not a flattering interview at all. She hid her snark, especially from his fans, by carrying on about his emotional display which she made seem over the top timing it out in minutes. She even started it by saying he was crying. I think that sets him up for ridicule now and seeming disingenous and for future interviewers to try to get an emotional display out of him.

I'm sorry but I didn't like it.

Delene

And why the heck is the article dated September 4th?

Edited by GBPhanatic
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No, you're not the only one that picked up on her message. Do you ever get the feeling that the critics are trying harder to say something that will make them appear knowledgeable than to actually present an accurate critique? Once in awhile you find one critic that seems fair but it doesn't happen very often. If your name is Clooney, Pitt etc. they don't mention your flops. Just finished the book "Another Man's War and really looking forward to Machine Gun Preacher. I have missed Mr.Butler and his interviews etc. :p

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I also picked up on it Dee! I so agree. Why can't they just get through an interview and write the article without ANY criticism??? First they lift you up just to knock you down!! :tantrum:

I figured Gerry would have a hard time with this role anyway....didn't we all? He's just a great big GERBEAR and just goes to show how sincere and caring that man is!

:wave: Frannie

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I love that he is so open and honest about his emotions.That's rare in a man and so admirable and sexy. But like Delene I didn't like the snarky comments.Those were not necessary at all.I could make a snarky remark in return but I'll refrain from dropping to that level.:)

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I can't wait to see this movie - Gerry is a very deep, sensitive man. He's very passionate and not afraid to show his pain. The delicate subject matter and filming in the actual country itself, would probably be extremely emotional for anyone. Obviously, it's bringing back painful memories for him, which will make us more emotional, when we watch the movie and make me love him even more. Best wishes to him, for the movie and the charity. xx

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I had the same reaction when I read the article on line last night but it is in print in the L.A. Times this morning and there it says it says "Machine Gun Preacher follows a run of films Gerard Butler says 'could have been a career killer'" So according to the way it shows up in the paper it was Gerry who classified those films that way, not the reporter. And I don't tend to disagree on most of them, though I thought LAC was very well done critics panned it horribly - and Gamer, TBH and TUT were no great shakes. He may be including Nim's Island in there too, I'm not really sure what the 5th movie would be unless he means RocknRolla, which I thought was brilliantly funny but tanked horribly at the box office.

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Thanks Susan ........ I kind of agree about some of the movies but really .....some of the new movies with A-listers that have been coming out IMO are horrible. Maybe Gerry needs to stop bashing himself. Although.....BH and Gamer, and Rock N Rolla were not my faves I wouldn't call them career killers!

:wave: Frannie

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I also picked up on it Dee! I so agree. Why can't they just get through an interview and write the article without ANY criticism??? First they lift you up just to knock you down!! :tantrum:

I figured Gerry would have a hard time with this role anyway....didn't we all? He's just a great big GERBEAR and just goes to show how sincere and caring that man is!

:wave: Frannie

Add me to the list that didn't care for this interview. To start out, "Gerard Butler is crying" and let it stand alone told me this was not going to be good. It was a put down from an insensitive individual who lacks feelings for others. In other words....a B*TCH! I don't like other people telling me what movies I should like. I will be the judge. This lady needs to get a reputable job and stop trying to hurt others who work a lot harder than she does.

~HUGS~ Kathy

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Kathy - if you check the printed article itself, a couple of posts back - it was GERRY who said that about his films, it was not the writer who judged them that way. I think we need to be careful when judging a writer (especially when we sometimes go to the extent of blasting them via emails or tweets, which I myself have been known to do) - many of them deserve the scorn they receive - but in this case I think she is getting flack for reporting something HE evidently said about his past few movies. Take that comment out of the equation and I think it was a very well done interview (oh, and he WAS crying, why shouldn't she report it? It got reported many times about his crying when he read the Phantom script, and we all took that as testament of how deeply he feels some of the parts he plays).
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I had the same reaction when I read the article on line last night but it is in print in the L.A. Times this morning and there it says it says "Machine Gun Preacher follows a run of films Gerard Butler says 'could have been a career killer'" So according to the way it shows up in the paper it was Gerry who classified those films that way, not the reporter. And I don't tend to disagree on most of them, though I thought LAC was very well done critics panned it horribly - and Gamer, TBH and TUT were no great shakes. He may be including Nim's Island in there too, I'm not really sure what the 5th movie would be unless he means RocknRolla, which I thought was brilliantly funny but tanked horribly at the box office.

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This quote by Gerry was taken out of context. Gerry was referring to the fact that after "300" when everyone wanted him to do action movies like "300" he chose to do "Nim's Island" and "PSILY". He said they could have been career killers but he wanted to do something else so he wouldn't get marked as an action hero actor. He wanted to show people he was a versatile actor and he did. I truly don't think he thought those movies WERE career killers as eluded to in the original article. He said they COULD have been.

~HUGS~ Kathy

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So it went from ...

"Machine Gun Preacher follows a run of films Gerard Butler says 'could have been a career killer'"

To ...

For Butler, who from July 2009 through March 2010 starred in what "could have been a career killer" five movies (including "The Ugly Truth" and "Law-Abiding Citizen")

Who's idea was it to put in inclusive dates, say it was five movies and make mention of two movies that I would never consider as "career killers"? A little embellishing there goes a long way I'd say. There's NO WAY IN HELL Gerry put LAC in that line up!

I think Gerry probably does put himself down a bit sometimes but this reporter jumped on the negative and blew it out of proportion, as far as I'm concerned. Was not a flattering interview no matter how you slice it.

I think the writer needs to print a retraction!

Delene

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As I mentioned in my above posts, Gerry said that ONLY "Nim's Island" and "PSILY" could have been career killers for him because he did them right after "300" when everyone expected him to do action movies. He wasn't talking about any other movies. He also didn't say they were, he just said they could have been. This writer took that statement and made it span over 5 of Gerry's movies after "300". I also think she is classless mentioning that Gerry cried.

~HUGS~ Kathy

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As I mentioned in my above posts, Gerry said that ONLY "Nim's Island" and "PSILY" could have been career killers for him because he did them right after "300" when everyone expected him to do action movies. He wasn't talking about any other movies. He also didn't say they were, he just said they could have been. This writer took that statement and made it span over 5 of Gerry's movies after "300". I also think she is classless mentioning that Gerry cried.

~HUGS~ Kathy

Sadly, many so called journalists are "classless" these days. What they lack in writing skills they try to make up for in sensationalism. There's nothing wrong with saying he shed a tear or welled up a bit but he came off sounding like a blubbering fool! I get that the images were disturbing, especially where children are involved and that is something that is close to Gerry's heart, but come on! And if he did cry a bit and get choked up, don't say it went on for two minutes. What, was she timing it? Give me a break! I have a difficult time believing Gerry would have wanted that!

I'll stop with my ranting. It's all water under the bridge but I just feel the article was slanted such that it came off making it sound more about Gerry and how he was dealing with this issue and his transformation, then the core of the film and it's human atrocities. Even his emotion came off sounding like it was because of Sam's story of transformation paralleling his own. I think by now everyone knows Gerry's own personal story and I'm sure even Sam would want the focus to be on the humananitarianism as the film's primary message. If I was a new reader of a Gerard Butler interview and didn't know so much about him I would come away after reading that thinking how arrogant he sounded. I know that's not Gerry!

If you're going to paraphrase what someone says in an interview, at least twist it positive or go work for a tab rag. Of course I wasn't there but if it's what he actually meant and in his own words and he intended the article to state then make sure you "quote" him verbatim and make that clear, not just elaborate by putting your own spin on it.

And for the record, I want to state that it never even occurred to me to email or tweet this writer even though it's not a bad idea. However, the chances are she'll get plenty of backlash from other Gerry fans anyway without my contribution.

Delene

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