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Exclusive Interview with "300" Star Gerard Butler

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Gerard Butler Stars in 300

Gerard Butler at the 2006 San Diego Comic Con.

© Richard Chavez
The annual comic book lovers convention known as the San Diego Comic Con has grown from a tiny event attended by only a couple hundred of the biggest comic book fanatics into the place for Hollywood studios to showcase their upcoming films. Hundreds of thousands of comic book, toy, and movie fans show up once a year in Southern California for the largest convention of its kind in the United States, and the studios have learned that the positive word-of-mouth spread by attendees can really kick-start a film's marketing campaign.

Warner Bros Pictures chose the San Diego convention as the place to premiere the first clips from the action epic, "300," based on the Frank Miller graphic novel. Highly stylized and visually stunning, the preview clip showed Spartan warriors fighting off Persian soldiers who were attempting to enter Greece. Brutally violent and completely faithful to Miller's work, the "300" clip was so well received that the audience - and the film's stars Gerard Butler and David Wenham - asked for it to be shown one more time before the "300" panel participants (Butler, Wenham, Miller, and writer/director Zack Snyder) opened up the floor to answer questions from fans.

Immediately following the presentation I had the chance to snag an interview with Gerard Butler who stars as 'King Leonidas' in the film.

Gerard Butler’s Passionate Fans: Fans of Gerard Butler were definitely present for the “300” presentation and some even took to the mic to ask questions about his “300” costume. Butler appreciates their support and said, “They’re interested so that’s fantastic. And actually one of the things I love about the fans that I have is that they’re very intelligent. They actually often climb into the depth of the characters that I play, or try and find out about me as a human being, and I find that a lot of them give really great feedback.

The costumes here…as cool as they are, I guess they’re probably going to have more fun with this one (laughing) you know because they are quite an experience. I think in the end they really add to the value of the film, that whole feeling of being Spartan, which is kind of everything stripped away to nothing. You know, like just a bare cape and leather… I don’t remember the name… Leather codpiece. Can you believe that? I wore it for months and I can’t even remember what it’s called. And actually when I first started wearing it it felt very strange. I mean, you have to walk through these corridors and through the studio and all the chippies and the plasterers and the electricians, all the big French Canadian guys are like, ‘Who’s that guy walking past with nothing on expect leather sandals?’ But then in actual fact when you get used to it, and as I often find with my costumes, it so lends itself to the feeling and the character, you know? I trained really hard physically for this role so that I felt that I could deserve to wear that cape and that codpiece and stand strong and feel invincible."

Physically Preparing for the Role of King Leonidas: “I started training about four months before the film, maybe even longer than that. I started in LA and we had the trainer from the film Mark Twight, so I was training with him and he has a very particular style of training, but I also kept my own trainer so I was training with two guys every day - so that was about four hours of that. (Laughing) Yeah, I kind of overdid it. Then I also, on top of that, had to go into the valley in LA and do two hours of sword fighting and shield and spear work as well, because a lot of guys use swords but it’s actually learning to use a spear is a whole different thing. And starting to work on some of the maneuvers so I was doing that six hours a day, every day.

Then I started the dialect coaching and then went up to Canada and did the same thing. I got another trainer outside and kept training with Mark and trained on set while we were filming and pumping before shots. I really, really, really kind of devoted my life to the physicality because, to me, that’s what the Spartans were about. They were so devoted and dedicated to that kind of life, that kind of philosophy, that kind of culture – and that’s what I did."

Article Continued on Page 2: Gerard Butler on the Appeal of "300" and Getting Into Character

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Rather watch videos of Gerard Butler talking about "300?" Check out these 3 minute interview clips with Butler from the 2006 San Diego Comic Con:

Gerard Butler on Training and His "300" Costume - Play the Video

Gerard Butler on Immersing Himself in His Character - Play the Video

Gerard Butler on the Story of "300" - Play the Video

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