After an unconventional start into acting (he was fired as a lawyer in Edinburgh due to his partying antics and moved to London), Gerard Butler has appeared in rom-coms, animations and even musicals, but the Scottish actor has emerged as an unashamed Hollywood bad-ass in some of the most iconic action films of recent times.
From an early role starring alongside James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) to returning as one-man-army Mike Banning in London Has Fallen (in cinemas 3 March), there’s no end to the tough-guy roles that Butler can impress in.
The sequel to the worldwide smash hit Olympus Has Fallen sees Butler in his latest action-packed role, as the relentless bodyguard to the US president, Mike Banning. Upon the discovery of a plot to assassinate the world leaders attending the Prime Minister’s funeral, he makes it his mission to stand firm against the relentless violence that awaits him. To celebrate the film’s release we take a look at Butler’s most violent performances.
300 (2006)Based on the 1998 comic series, 300 places Butler straight into the Battle of Thermopylae in the centre of a truly epic war. Standing at the heart of the action, Butler is King Leonidas, head of 300 Spartans who he leads to fight against Persian “god-King” Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro). Outnumbered against more than 300,000 soldiers, fear is not an option as the Spartans put their extreme fighting skills to the test, refusing to part ways with their lethal weapons. Filled with anger, blood and brutality, 300 sees Butler in the goriest of violence and makes it one of his most iconic roles.
RocknRolla (2008)A British crime comedy written and directed by expert crime filmmaker Guy Ritchie, RocknRolla sees Butler as an ambitious but small-time crook. Taking control as the leader against British mob boss Tom Wilkinson, he’s in control of the “Wild Bunch”, made up of an awesome threesome including Idris Elba and Tom Hardy. Money is the root of all evil in this battle of ego, filling scenes with robberies, beatings and all the cockney violence you would expect. Unlike the snarling beast we see in 300, Butler feels more at home in this gritty role, gracing our screens with action just as aggressive, but much more controlled.
Law Abiding Citizen (2009)Law Abiding Citizen places revenge at the cause of the action, as Butler takes on the duty of fighting against a corrupt criminal justice system. Being forced to witness the death of his wife and daughter, prosecutor Jamie Foxx is unable to secure Butler the justice he so desperately needs. Taking the fight into his own hands it’s not just the killer that he’s after, but the district attorney too. With a grim determination Butler is relentless in his efforts, showcasing his expected brutal fist and a mind just as strong to go with it.
Machine Gun Preacher (2011)As the ultimate tough-guy, Machine Gun Preacher sees Butler as Sam Childers, a former drug dealing biker. A biographical action drama based on children’s book Another Man’s War, Machine Gun Preacher forces Butler to put his threatening demeanour to use for the good of the children of South Sudan. A far cry from his usual violence, motivated by intentions of defeating crime and seeking revenge, protection is the heart of this obligation. From an alcoholic drunk to a converted Christian, this action packed role sees him as a crusader for hundreds of Sudanese children, forced to become soldiers by the Lord’s Resistance Army.
London Has Fallen (2016)The sequel to the intense hit Olympus Has Fallen, London Has Fallen sees an explosive series of events after London becomes the setting for the Prime Minister’s funeral. With most world leaders in attendance, the event intends to stand as the most protected on earth. Instead the intense security is infiltrated, and it emerges that the event is a deadly plot to kill each of the leaders, devastating every known London landmark in the process. With a sworn duty to protect the US president, the playing field is expanded from the claustrophobic White House to the streets of London and the stakes are higher as Mike Banning (Butler) fights to bring the people responsible to a violent end.
London Has Fallen comes to cinemas 3 March.