Gerard Butler on how his Hollywood stardom revolves around a return to his roots

January 18, 2016 | Interviews

BUTLER’S latest explosive roles are a long way from his Scottish roots as he gets set to star in Gods of Egypt and Olympus follow up London Has Fallen – but heart will always lie in Scotland.

“ROMANTIC, warring and passionate” is how Gerard Butler described the rich historical heritage of his native Scotland back in 2013 – three words which could equally be used to describe the hulking actor’s career on the silver screen.

From his humble beginnings as a trainee lawyer to becoming one of Hollywood’s most recognisable action heroes, Butler’s grizzled features and husky Scottish burr have led him to starring turns in some of modern cinema’s most high-octane movies, including Zack Snyder’s 300 , Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla and alongside Morgan Freeman and Aaron Eckheart in 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen.

His latest outings – fantasy feature Gods of Egypt and Olympus follow up London Has Fallen – both due for release this year, see Butler return to the roles that turned him into a genuine Hollywood contender.

Butler was born in Paisley, Renfrewshire, and though his early life as a trainee lawyer was tarnished by a party boy lifestyle, Butler was finally able to make his cinematic breakthrough in 2007 with the main role in Snyder’s graphic-novel-adaptation of 300 .

As the Spartan leader King Leonidas, Butler found his true calling as a muscle-bound Hollywood hard man.

Aged 38, Butler came into the mass Hollywood consciousness much later than usual – not that it changed the way he dealt with fame.

“I was that bit older than some of the young fry setting off now,” concedes Butler, now 46, “and it doesn’t made any difference. There are a lot of privileges and opportunities taken for granted in this game and until you sit back and realise, it’s a good life.”

Does it sound like his famously explosive career is about to slow down? It’s true that Butler has admitted that a return to his hometown of Paisley “could happen very easily” at this point in his life.

For Butler, despite the global opportunities afforded to him, his “ultimate plan” revolves around a return to his roots.

Although he thinks LA, Dubai and Australia are “amazing places to spend time in”, the gruff giant “will always think Scotland is home”.

His next role, however, as the divine antagonist Set in Alex Proyas’ Gods of Egypt , takes Butler as far away from the surroundings of his youth as possible – to the deserts that flank the Nile and a time where ancient deities walk upon the Earth and battle for supremacy.

Buoyed by the success of his iconic leading role in 300, Gods of Egypt promises to be bigger and brawnier than anything Butler has been involved in thus far, with the added excitement of seeing Butler in a rare turn as a villain.

Alongside Nicholaj Coster-Waldau of Game of Thrones , Butler will, with the help of modern CGI trickery, appear as a nine-foot-tall King of the Underworld intent on bringing the whole of Egypt under his malevolent control.

Another 2016 project starring Butler, London Has Fallen , is the eagerly awaited sequel to 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen , and sees him reprise his role as Secret Service agent Mike Banning, who protects the President of USA against a villainous terrorist cell hell-bent on eliminating world leaders.

In a return to a more modern setting, London Has Fallen looks like Butler back to his uncompromising best.

As he takes on a plethora of balaclava-clad enemies in a hail of bullets and bloodshed, it will be yet another chance for action fans everywhere to see Butler the hero, ever-ready to end up black and blue in pursuit of a role, and though he readily accepts he’s “no spring chicken anymore”, it’s never been this actor’s style to shirk his reputation as a man willing to throw himself in at the deep end in terms of stunts.

Whether it’s portraying a chiselled deity or a death-defying secret agent, one thing’s definitely for sure: when Butler’s turn as an all-action hero is over, he’ll happily hang up the guns, spears and protein shakes to return home.

Though his career takes him all over the world in luxurious style, Butler will forever be happiest in the land of his birth.

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