What the Butler said

November 16, 2009 | Law Abiding Citizen News

Forget stretch limos, red carpets and fancy hotel rooms. It seems the true guage of whether you’ve made it onto the Hollywood A-list is whether you have a man to dispose of your chewing gum.

Step forward Paisley born actor Gerard Butler – star of 300 and PS I Love You – in Glasgow for the European premiere of his new film Law Abiding Citizen.

An American fan – who follows Mr Butler to most of his premieres – presented him with her usual gift of a piece of chewing gum (thankfully fresh and still in its wrapper).

Mr Butler happily took the gift and chewed away as he posed for the photographers on the red carpet.

But as he arrived inside Glasgow’s Cineworld to do his various TV and radio interviews, it became clear the gum just had to go.

And as he searched frantically for a suitable spot, a smartly suited gentleman stepped forward, whispered in his ear and quietly deposited the gum (used) in his own trouser pocket.

Service beyond the call of duty.

The 40 year old actor – who read law at Glasgow University – says he was taken aback but delighted by the hundreds who gathered at the the cinema for the premiere.

“I used to joke that Glasgow was the one place I could come where I wasn’t recognised – or at least didn’t attract the same level of interest as elsewhere,” he says.

“This is something else – but it’s lovely.”

In the 12 years since he gave up law and gave acting a try, Butler has become one of Hollywood’s most bankable leading men.

Mrs Brown was his first film role – playing Billy Connolly’s younger brother Archie Brown – and since then he’s notched up more than 20 films – from romantic comedies (PS I Love You) to horror (Wes Craven’s Dracula 2000) to musicals (The Phantom of the Opera) to his best known role – in the ultra violent epic 300.

Law Abiding Citizen – his first venture as producer as well as actor, through his own production company Evil Twins – is also extremely violent (I watched most of the press preview through my fingers).

In it he plays Clyde Sheldon, a seemingly ordinary man who goes to extraordinary lengths to avenge the murder of his family.

You could shoot peas through the plot it has so many holes – would two violent house-breakers knock on the front door first and sweep antique clocks off the mantlepiece into their swag bags?

Why do all the police interviews happen inside an enormous cage a la Silence of the Lambs? – but if you’re prepared to take it all with a very large pinch of salt – possibly smelling salts if you’re in the least squeamish – then it is enormous fun.

It’s hard to discuss Clyde without giving away the twists and turns of the plot but suffice to say he’s not the simple character we first assume.

“That was part of the challenge,”says Butler.

“You feel sorry for him because he loses his family but then some people will think he goes too far, and some people will still feel sorry for him and other people just can’t make up their mind how they feel about him. And that’s what I like about him.”

The other sign of a Hollywood A-lister is the speculation about Hollywood girlfriends and Butler has had his fair share.

“Was it true that he was dating Jennifer Aniston?”asked the reporter next to me.

“Do you think if I was dating Jennifer Aniston, I’d be keeping it quiet?” was his suitably Scottish reply.

“I’d be parading her up and down Sauchiehall Street.”

Instead, it was a Scotswoman on his arm last night – his mum Margaret.

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