Gerard Butler from Nim's Island

For the past year, Gerard Butler has become somewhat of a household name. And let’s face it, he deserves it. We can all agree that he kicked all kinds of ass in 300, but there’s a deeper side to this guy than just running around yelling, “This is Sparta!” [For more on that, read his answers to Neil Miller’s mom’s questions here.]

This weekend, Butler plays both a swashbuckler and a science nerd in the new family film Nim’s Island. Butler plays the father of Nim (Abigail Breslin), both of whom live on an isolated tropical island. When the father is lost at sea during a research trip, Nim turns to the adventure hero of her favorite books (who is also played by Butler) for support.

Recently, Butler spoke to Film School Rejects about his role in the movie and how he went from action hero to nerd. “I guess you take off one costume and you put on another, both physically and metaphorically and emotionally,” Butler told FSR. “I’m very much simplifying it, but you just remind yourself who you are, and you hope it comes out instinctively.”

The film was shot in Australia to take advantage of the lush, tropical setting, and Butler loved the location. However, much of his storyline takes place on a boat in the middle of the ocean, so he didn’t get to enjoy the location as much as his young co-star. “The challenge for me was spending too much time out in the sea, soaking wet in choppy, cold water,” he said. “Spending too much time in that water and too much time sitting, dripping with the freezing cold wind blowing off the sea, thinking, ‘I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die.’”

Sharing the screen with Butler is the audience charmer Abigail Breslin, who is most recognizable from last year’s indie hit Little Miss Sunshine, for which she earned an Oscar nomination. “She’s so down to earth and so cool. She was just playing the character, and so was I. I think naturally the performance upstaged me,” Butler said. “I gave up on that early on. I thought, What’s the point fighting against this. The kid’s brilliant. She wins.”

Of course, with Butler putting on the adventure hat for this film, it’s hard to not focus on the rumors that have been circulating about a 300 sequel. When asked, the King of Sparta had this to say: “I’ve heard little tidbits myself. I still find it hard to grasp onto. The idea sounds a little bit strange. I don’t think it’d be something I’d be in because I’m dead. And I’m quite happy with that because I’ve never been more proud of a movie that I’ve done.”

The idea of a 300 sequel is something Butler likens to the Matrix sequels. “Just leave it at that,” he said. “Everything else is just money-making.”

Nim’s Island, starring Abigail Breslin, Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler, hits the theaters on Friday, April 4 from Fox/Walden.

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