GERARD Butler is so keen to start work on big-budget action fantasy Gods of Egypt, he will front up at Fox Studios on Monday â€” almost a month before filming begins.
â€œWe’re putting major prep into this,” the Scottish actor revealed in Los Angeles today during an interview to promote the animated sequel How To Train Your Dragon 2.
Butler, 44, was to board a flight to Sydney immediately after the promotional tour had wrapped.
â€œI am going to be down there three and a half weeks before we start just so I can be in among it for all the training and the dialect sessions and the rehearsals.â€
Best known for his role as Spartan King Leonidas in 300, Zack Snyder’s graphic re-enactment of the ancient battle of Thermopylae, Butler described the project as â€œmassive.â€
â€œIt’s the largest budget movie I have ever worked on. It’s huge in every dimension. It’s huge in its scope. And it’s story. And visually. (I, Robot’s) Alex Proyas is the man. Everything about the movie feels bang on.â€
Having played both Vikings and Spartans, Butler is clearly no stranger to mythical characters. But Set, the God of Chaos, is perhaps his first real villain.
â€œLeonidas was also a dark character but it was ultimately for a higher good. With Set, it’s kinda the opposite,” the actor laughed. â€œIt’s a delicious role to get your teeth into.â€
Deputy NSW Premier Andrew Stoner announced earlier this month that NSW had landed the $150 million blockbuster, also starring Geoffrey Rush and Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, ahead of Victoria after fierce bidding war.
Proyas has previously shot movies in both states â€” Dark City and Garage Days in Sydney and Knowing in Melbourne.
The director’s big-budget adaptation of John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lose, with Bradley Cooper in the role of Lucifer, was also planned for Sydney â€” until it was shut down in pre-production over budgetary concerns.
For Butler, 2014 is shaping up to be a bumper year.
After wrapping on Gods of Egypt, he begins work on a hotly-anticipated remake of Point Break with Australia’s Luke Bracey in the Keanu Reeves role.
The production is scheduled to travel to Tahiti, Venezuela, Mexico, Italy, Switzerland, France and Germany during the course of an ambitious six-month shoot.