He played the lead role in a British film, “Dear Frankie,” (directed by Shona Auerbach) which is currently being shown in theaters. It is a tale of love within a family, taking place in a seaside town, near Glasgow. A mother of a boy with a hearing impairment continues to write letters to him, pretending to be his make-believe father, who travels the world on a ship. Butler plays this mysterious “father,” who actually shows up before them. “The boy and I have a lot in common,” he says. Butler is a native of Glasgow, and family circumstances only allowed him to see his father for the first time when he was sixteen. “The scene where the boy meets his ‘father’ for the first time, and my personal experience overlapped, and it had a huge impact on me.” However, “My role was the ‘father.’ Upon playing the role, empathy was unnecessary.” Throughout the film, he skillfully portrays a reserved man, whose name and identity are never revealed, who gradually develops his love towards the boy.
Butler is 35 years old. He grabbed our attention by playing the role of the Phantom in this year’s smash hit “The Phantom of the Opera,” which means he has played two mysterious characters in a row. “That’s just coincidence. But I do like solitude, so in some ways, I was able to relate to them.”
Two thousand fans crowded the airport when Butler arrived. Here in Japan, he is especially popular among middle-aged women. “I was overwhelmed by so much reception. I now love Japan,” said Butler with a smile.