Gerard Butler

Albert Hughes‘s next film (sorry, Akira remake that I pray to God never happens), Motor City, has been spinning its wheels for months now, mainly because it’s been unable to hold on to a leading man. The film has had a number of hot names attached to it for its male lead – including Dominic Cooper, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jeremy Renner, and Chris Evans – but none of them has stuck, with scheduling conflicts often to blame. The film is a somewhat interesting one, a sort of standard issue revenge story that could be spiced with some stylistic flash and a solid cast, and it centers on a recently-released criminal who goes after the people who put him in the big house. With Cooper, Gyllenhaal, Renner, and Evans all of the table, Variety now reports that Gerard Butler is in negotiations with Warner Bros. and Dark Castle to star in the film. He would star alongside Amber Heard (who has managed to stay attached the film through other casting woes) and Gary Oldman (the principal villain). While he’s a bit older than Cooper and Gyllenhaal, Butler certainly has the grit and brawn to bring a revenge-set criminal to life, so let’s hope this latest casting works out.

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What is Movie News After Dark? After a whirlwind of SXSW action, it doesn’t even know anymore. Something about movie news. Interesting links, maybe. There may also be some fart jokes, but we’re trying to keep it classy. Hi, Mom! Also, tonight’s edition will prove how much this column’s author has been watching Cougar Town lately. Like Community‘s Abed Nadir, he would like to live in Cougar Town. We begin tonight with a picture of Katee Sackhoff in Riddick 3 (ooh, la la — for the Battlestar Galactica babe, not another Riddick sequel). She will apparently play the baddie in the Vin Diesel-led film, some sort of alien bounty hunter who is more than meets the eye. Random thought: When are Katee Sackoff and Busy Philipps (Cougar Town reference #1) going to get together and do a sexy twins buddy cop movie? Strong female leads, people. Come on, Hollywood!

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You’d think the words “Gerard Butler” and “diamond heist flick” would spell out something fantastic, but in the case of Robert Luketic‘s Brilliant, they seem to signal something less than shiny. Butler has just replaced a previously in-negotiations Eric Bana to star in the film (and that’s already a black mark against it in my book, I’d much rather watch Bana on screen than Butler), which will be directed by his The Ugly Truth helmer. Yeah, that’s not good. Variety reports that Brilliant centers on “a small-time criminal who partners with a female thief to pull off a daring diamond heist.” While that’s certainly a fun premise, the closest that Luketic has come to a heist flick is 2008′s missed opportunity 21. And the film’s screenwriter will be of little help when it comes to crime expertise, as the film is writer Gillian Gorfil‘s first project.

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Let me start by confessing that I was a Theater and English major and have spent much of my academic career studying the works of the bard. William Shakespeare‘s plays were written as entertainment for the everyman and perhaps it does say quite a bit for the dumbing down of human civilization that work once enjoyed by the average Elizabethan “Joe” is now considered incomprehensible – but that doesn’t mean they are incomprehensible. Shakespeare’s been ruined for too many people who sat through interminable high school classes listening to their peers try to read it out loud. Director and star Ralph Fiennes has made his Coriolanus, one of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays, very accessible and very relevant. Maybe because I live in the land of Occupy Wall street, but scenes of heavily armed police ready to bash citizen protesters are chilling for me. There’s nothing really foreign about the language of the film (lifted straight from the stage play); it is still English for goodness sakes. Sometimes, it is a good thing for people to stretch their brains and challenge their minds. Yet, even so, the poetry of the film is used in a very natural way, making it very accessible to an audience not familiar with it. The story is hardly tough to follow, and the updating of the setting is not only effective, but really makes knowledge of Roman history unnecessary. The rise and fall of a stubborn, powerful man who seeks revenge against those who betrayed him […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr walks around his apartment naked, rents out hookers of various shapes and sizes then tries to pick up married women on a subway. He figures if it’s good enough for Michael Fassbender in Steve McQueen’s Shame, then it’s good enough for anyone. Of course, this leads Kevin to spending most of the rest of the day weeping in his birthday suit. Shaking off the humiliation, he decides to take in some culture and give Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus a gander, being one of them Shakespeare pictures and all. Unfortunately, he never stops giggling about the name of the movie long enough to decipher all of the fancy Elizabethan language, and Kevin ends up weeping again, curled up naked in his shower.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr strips down to his boxers and starts a new training regimen to make him look more like Huge Jackman. He’s got a head start, considering his torso looks almost like Jackman’s… if you turn it upside down. After duking it out with some robots in a boxing ring, Kevin tries his hands at politics because it’s the kind of business where you don’t necessarily have to look like Ryan Gosling to get a young hottie like Evan Rachel Wood. But the primary system leaves him depressed and cold, so he takes a trip to the Sudan to play target practice with some warlords. He hears the Sudan is simply lovely this time of year.

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Machine Gun Preacher is a biopic that does not sugarcoat its violent lead. Unlike most bio films, this is not about a common man rising to become a perfect hero, but instead, a true anti-hero. Sam Childers — biker turned preacher turned freedom fighter — is not the most likable man in the film. Not only would you never want to hang out with him on a weekend, but even after finding Jesus, he commits inexcusable acts. The violence of Childers, at least when he is in Central Africa, is not part of those inexcusable acts. Many critics have said the film takes a very right-wing stance — and perhaps it does, at times — but the methods Sam uses are very black-and-white. He’s an eye for an eye guy. When Sam uses violence to save children, that’s when he becomes his true self. However, when he’s asked to be the father of his own family, that doesn’t come as easy. Again, not your average hero. Recently I had the opportunity to speak with screenwriter Jason Keller about his dynamic lead’s acts, as well as the themes of the film, not making a lifetime movie, and the process of writing for a true visionary.

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Marc Forster‘s Machine Gun Preacher is a humanistic picture. Despite the atrocities conveyed in the film and the fact that the story focuses on an actual anti-hero, the director managed to end on a hopeful note. Some call it dopey, I say humanist. Even with the upbeat nature of the film, there’s a slightly dark moral dichotomy; should a former junkie and criminal, Sam Childers, be the one leading a freedom brigade? Are his methods necessary or justifiable? Sam Childers isn’t the only character with his own moral conundrum, as one is also a part of Lynn Childers, played by Michelle Monaghan. This is the second time I’ve interviewed Monaghan, and like the first time, she reminded me of that popular girl in high school who was cool with everybody. Some actors look like they’re two seconds away from killing themselves during junkets, but Monaghan comes off like she couldn’t be more pleased to be discussing her work — with a guy like me interviewing her, I’m not sure how she does it. Here’s what Michelle Monaghan had to say about the ending of Source Code, the moral dichotomies of Machine Gun Preacher, when journalism and acting collide, passion projects, and the greatness of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

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No one can ever criticize Marc Forster for covering the same ground. Thematically, all his work ties together, but rarely does he play with a certain genre more than once. Over the past ten years he’s made a James Bond picture, a meta drama, an adaption, a 90 minute nightmare, and a raw family drama, and is now working on an epic zombie film. Forster is not only an eclectic filmmaker, but a candid one. In our interview for his latest drama, Machine Gun Preacher, the acclaimed director could not have spoken more objectively about his work, and what people think of it. Prime examples: Quantum of Solace and Stay. Upon the the release of both films, they were heavily criticized, and unlike how most directors may have responded to such criticism, Forster didn’t go with a simple “they didn’t get it.” In our chat, he openly discussed issues with some of his work, along with capturing his imagination, making blockbuster films personal, and the ethics of Machine Gun Preacher.

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Despite the fact that the 300 sequel 300: Battle of Artemisia will be something of a prequel that tells the story of how Xerxes rose to power as a God King, it seems like we’re going to get a chance to catch a glimpse of old favorites King Leonidas and Queen Gorgo in the movie anyway. While talking to Movies.com, 300 producer Bernie Goldmann told them that this time around, “it’s a different story, however there’s a small part for Lena [Headey]. There’s a small part for Gerry [Butler].” There’s a bit of a risk you take in these sorts of situations of doing small cameos for famous characters, as sometimes it can look pandering and take the viewer out of the movie (think of all the times when characters from the original trilogy awkwardly got their name announced as they turned to the camera in the Star Wars prequels), so hopefully 300: Battle of Artemisia is able to bring back Lena Headey and Gerard Butler in an organic way.

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Some pieces of news are just bound to cause eye-rolling and heavy sighs. I’m not going to pretend as if I am some huge Romancing the Stone fan and that every single one of my sensibilities and emotions are offended by this news, but that’s not really necessary, is it? This is the sort of news that will, most likely, not be met with an outpouring of glee. But this is not a new brand of news. The Romancing the Stone remake has been kicking around for years now, but without much of a push behind it. For awhile, Robert Luketic was attached to the film, and with him came the inevitable, a casting wish list that included Katherine Heigl (who Luketic has directed in two separate horror shows, The Ugly Truth and Killers). Though Luketic is now off the project, and Emma Watts and Fox are reportedly looking for “someone newish” to direct the film, Heigl is apparently still on the top of their wish lists to play the Joan Wilder role (played in the original by Kathleen Turner). And, somewhat bizarrely considering how different the two men are in terms of both age and star power, Watts and Fox have added Gerard Butler and Taylor Kitschto their “early wish list” to play Jack Colton (originally played by Michael Douglas). As The Playlist wisely points out, “this [is] all tremendously early, and possibly none of these names will make it through,” but these sorts of supposed “wish lists” show the […]

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Machine Gun Preacher! It’s not just fun to say! It’s a movie, too! Marc Forster’s latest (the one before the World War Zadaptation fans everywhere are already bemoaning) focuses on a true-life story that comes oh-so-conveniently pre-packaged with a catchily-nicknamed protagonist. The film stars Gerard Butler as that supposed “machine gun preacher,” Sam Childers, a former drug dealer who turned his life around to save the often-orphaned children of East Africa, youngsters forced into the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) to serve as soldiers before they’re even old enough to properly wield a gun. The synopsis for the film makes the story seem fantastic, and in the hyperbolic sense, because the concept of a former drug dealer saving African child soldiers by way of going straight into the belly of the beast and rescuing said kids by hand (and with a machine gun) is all a bit too much to believe. Yet, Childers is indeed a real person, and Forster’s film does depict some real life instances in between a mess of standard action film beats. Take a look at the boom-boom-pow trailer after the break.

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Movies We Love

Around the year 480 BC, an historical battle between a group of Greek city-states and a bullying Persian army began in a mountain pass of Thermopylae (literally translated to “Hot Gateway”). This epic war saw the Greeks vastly outnumbered by the self-appointed god-king Xerxes, who had spent years overthrowing other city-states to build up his human reserve. See, Xerxes is a classy king. He likes to send messengers to each threatening city-state, offering to spare the citizens in exchange for the allegiance to him. Well, when his trusty foot soldier ventured into Sparta, a town known for their militaristic nature and tough, no-bull-shit attitude, their refusal to join up with Xerxes was never heard. Spartan King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) all but told the offending Persians to fuck off and kicked them into a deep hole. Just like Helena before him, this kick ignited the fury of both the Greeks and Persians. Leonidas organizes 300 of Sparta’s best men to fight off Xerxes’ army, each man wanting the glory of dying in battle to defend their great city. While they’re out getting all hot and sweaty in just tiny pairs of war shorts, Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) remains in Sparta trying to drum up support of the Spartan council to ready troops for war only to prove just how fierce Spartan women are when she’s threatened, assaulted, and almost killed by Theron (Dominic West), a senator more interested in power than glory. Two stories diverge in the course of Zach Snyder’s […]

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For every ten unnecessary remakes that make it to the big screen it’s worth remembering that once in a while we dodge a bullet. The most recent example being the big budget reboot of John Carpenter’s Escape From New York. Carpenter’s admittedly goofy but entertaining as hell classic from 1981 has been on track for a remake for some time now. Every few months names of newly rumored directors and stars would hit the blogosphere including Brett Ratner, Len Wiseman, Gerard Butler, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hardy, and Breck Eisner. Of those only the last was really appealing in the slightest as Eisner turned in a fine horror flick with his remake of The Crazies, but this was never an endeavor to getting excited over. The original film is set in the far away future of 1997 where the island of Manhattan has been turned into a walled prison (still a great idea) that no one ever exits. Air Force One crashes inside and Snake Plissken, an ex-soldier turned convicted bank robber, is given a single shot at freedom… get in, find and rescue the US President, and get him out alive. There’s a lively supporting cast including Donald Pleasance, Isaac Hayes, Harry Dean Stanton, Ernest Borgnine, Lee Van Cleef, and Adrienne Barbeau, but the real stars of the film are Carpenter and Kurt Russell. It’s a fantastically fun ride that mixes action, cynical humor, and social/political commentary into an entertaining B-movie. Per Deadline New Amsterdam, New Line and Warner Bros. […]

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Back in 2009, Gerard Butler was planning a romantic comedy about a baseball player returning to his estranged wife to make amends with her and his child and to coach the local little league team. It was called Slide. Now that movie is about soccer instead of baseball, it’s called Playing the Field, and (according to Variety) Jessica Biel and Uma Thurman are now on board. Director Gabriele Muccino (The Pursuit of Happyness) was always on board and still is. For what it’s worth, this doesn’t exactly sound like the typical rom-com Butler appears in on a nearly-annual basis in order to stoke the fires of his P.S. I Love You fanbase. The ladies love cool Gerard, but you’ll notice that the words ‘Aniston’ and ‘Heigl’ appear nowhere near the marquee on this one. Biel will play the ex-wife, and Uma Thurman will play one of the soccer moms. Who I’m guessing is single (if it’s one of those rom-coms) or is married (if it’s one of those rom-coms). One of the most interesting aspects of the production is the screenwriter. Robbie Fox hasn’t written for the screen in over a decade – after the double punch of So I Married and Axe Murderer and In the Army Now, he sort of disappeared, but do I want to watch a romantic comedy written by Robbie Fox? Hell yes. The man had a unique ear for comedy, and his return is a welcome one.

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Back during the wild days of Law Abiding Citizen, I asked Gerard Butler 19 questions about his ab routine and 1 question about his upcoming projects. This is what he had to say: “There’s a few different projects that we’ve been working on, but there’s one in particular – it’s a movie called Slide about a former baseball player who goes back to try and patch things up with his child and estranged wife and ends up coaching the kid’s baseball team. He becomes the subject of fascination and longer by every bored house wife in the town. And it’s him trying to survive that while trying to patch things up with his kid. I think we’re going to have Gabriele Muccino direct the movie. Hopefully. We’re in talks with him, and he’s very much up for directing it so we’ll what happens there.” Go ahead and read that again, but replace the word “baseball” with “soccer.” It works because they both involve sliding. In its reduced form, it sounds like “Eastbound and Down” meets Kicking and Screaming with a charming lead. Apparently the film is being reworked to focus on soccer, although no real reason was given. Perhaps it’s the dearth of soccer films. Perhaps its rising popularity. Perhaps it’s because Butler is Scottish and baseball continues to wane in importance here in America what with all the asterisks you have to keep up with now. [LA Times]

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Coriolanus

I knew Ralph Fiennes was directing a modern dress version of Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus”, but didn’t expect to see Fiennes decked out ready for full on modern warfare. Shooting has begun in Serbia and has the look of a war movie.

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This week, chubby man about town Kevin Carr takes a look at How to Train Your Dragon, Hot Tub Time Machine (which sounds right up his alley) and Greenberg. You may want to wear a helmet.

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How to Train Your Dragon

Here we take a one dimensional view on the latest 3D film from Dreamworks Animation of which we saw only in two dimensions. The major lesson learned is that you apparently don’t need polarized glasses to tame a reptile.

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Kevin Carr sits his chubbiness down weighs in on The Bounty Hunter, Repo Men and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

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