Gerald Butler plays Dracula as a mysterious figure who reveals little about himself
I’ve been expechng you . . .
BUTLER, GERALD BUTLER. The name may not be familiar now, but the Glasgow-born actor is the hot favourite to be the next James Bond. For now he’s happy playing another murderous seducer: Count Dracula.
Words: Kaleem Aftab
double take when I first meet Gerald Butler. in a swanky London hotel talking about his title role in the Wes Craven-produced Dracula 200]. He was unrecognisable as the lithe lord of the undead. off-screen sporting a beard. a few healthy extra pounds and a
He laughs at the suggestion of playing Bond; it‘s just speculation. Though he admits he would jump at the chance. ()n his changing appearance Gerry. as he prefers to be called. says: ‘Before I did Dracula 200] l was filming a mini-series in the States. playing Atilla the Hun. I spent months with a personal instructor: I was looking in the mirror doing impressions like the Christian Bale
in American Psycho. ‘I spent months with a personal The mini series was instructor; I was looking in the mirror doing impressions like
the Christian Bale in American
premiering to a fanfare in the States. There were these huge billboards of me dressed in armour. So I went and stood under them. btit all the ladies walked past without recognising me.‘
Then a glint appears in his eyes. It might be used to suggest a lust for the opposite sex that would suit the lovelorn Dracula as well as Bond. Butler coveted the former role. despite the director originally wanting an American star. Nevertheless. Butler has followed in the footsteps of Gary Oldman. who was the last big-name screen Dracula in Francis Ford Coppola’s film. ‘I tried not to watch any of the past versions of Dracula.‘ says Butler. ‘I mean
how could I deliver a better performance than (iary ()ldman. or some of the old Draculas. So I delivered a performance as l perceived Dracula. as a mysterious figure who hardly reveals anything about himself.‘
Butler himself is open and affable. The only time he is not revealing is when he asks me not to mention a habit that he still has to conceal from his mother. whom he visits whenever possible. (Bond used to do it. Dracula never did.) His success Stateside makes home visits increasingly difficult. as he juggles flats in London and Los Angeles. Yet his career could have been so very different. Butler has a law degree from (ilasgow l'niversity. where he was president of the law society. He worked for a solicitor for two years before quitting to act ftill time. ‘I remember my boss telling me that I would be a much better lawyer if I looked like I cared.~ Btit his passion lay in acting. and playing guitar for a band. llis big break came when he landed the role of Renton in the stage production of 'l'miiis/miiing. During the sell- out run at the lidinburgh liestival Butler managed to infuriate an army of mothers on Fringe Sunday.
‘The day before was the last night of 'l'ruinspurliiig.‘ he remembers. ‘and I‘d been drinking all night and was asleep when we had to go on stage. I was woken tip by the rest of the band and was thrown on stage where I managed to string together a load of expletives before being forced off by the police. The highlight of my music career.’ (‘lassy
Btit the bad boy image simply won't wash. Butler is too approachable. too friendly, too . humble. He seems embarrassed when I mention his first film role in Mrs~ Brown. During filming. he was having a picnic with his mother by a lake and he heard the screams of a boy. drowning. Without a second thought he jumped in to save the child. He says. ‘Anyonc would have done the same.‘
Butler. a hero. then. If he can subsumc that humility for the camera — and shave — he could be the ideal man to fill Sean (‘onnery‘s shoes. There‘ll be no mistaking him. then.
Dracula opens on Fri 15 Jun. See review, page 28.
ﬁghts, camera, action . . .
THE FIRST BATCH of proiects to be made under Short Film FactOry‘s 8‘ 3 (minute long films) scheme has been announced: Rowan Walker's Donna. Jeremy Raison's Smal/ Moments. Alan de Pellette's The Aficionado and Mella Shaw‘s Pater Noster. The new filmmakers will be given guidance by industry professionals including 8' 3'8 patron Peter Mullan. Their films will be screened at cinemas and on television in 2001/2002.
26 THE LIST 7—21 Jun 2001
NEW AND ESTABLISHED filmmakers are invited to submit applications for the next Moonstone Filmmakers’ and Screenwriters’ Labs (by 13 July). These highly regarded week-long workshops attended by professionals and based on Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute model will run in November, venue the. MEANWHILE. GRADUATING FILMMAKERS from Scotland's colleges show their work at Edinburgh's Filmhouse. beginning With Teliord College I19 June) and continuing with Edinburgh College Of Art (Animation. 20—21 June; Film
and W. 27—28 June) and Napier University (25 June). If you want to see where Scottish Cinema is headed check these shows out. THE MIRRORBALL UK TOUR 2001 reaches its hometown (it was born at the Edinburgh International Film Festival), and will play the pick of music promos at the Filmhouse 11-12 June. Highlights of the programme include Fay Boy Slim’s Weapon Of Choice directed by Spike Jonze, Terry Richardson’s controversial film for Death In Vegas’ Aisha, and Dom Jolly's bizarre promo for Ian Brown’s Golden Gaze.
ROUGH CUTS LIKES the first of the Lumiere Cinemas Your ChOice selections. For Just 5:75. which includes twenty tickets. you too COuId have booked: the Cult Surfing
. '75; a \s ' Gallivant, yours for £75
movie Big Wednesday. the bizarre Sean Connery SCI-ll flick Zardoz. or the best British road mOVIe ever, Cami/ant. (30 along and see ‘em anyway.