On screen, Heigl and Butler verbally spar over Butler's character's approach to handling the opposite sex. Off screen, the two have a much less antagonist relationship. Together for a press conference in LA to promote the film, Heigl and Butler shared their experiences of working on The Ugly Truth, directed by Robert Luketic (21) and written by Nicole Eastman, Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith.
Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl at The Ugly Truth Press ConferenceWomen have loved you for so long, even in the big male action films like 300, do you think you’re pushing your luck this time?
Gerard Butler: "No, I don’t think I’m pushing my luck. That is something I’d like to do, but I don’t think I’m taking it too far. There is definitely a lot of me in this character, but I think it’s more about being sort of boisterous and fun. I don’t expound those ideals, but I do think that there is a lot of that going on in both men and women - if we’re honest and frank about how we look at each other."
"I think that what is cool is that both of our characters, at the end of the day, we’re human and real. We both have a lot of vulnerabilities. There is a lot of that going on under Mike’s armor. That’s what is so great about this movie. It’s so ridiculous, shocking, and surprising the ways I talk about sex, but at the end of the day women get it. Men get it too. I think it’s right that we see Mike’s character let his guard down. It’s a sex comedy, it’s kind of a romantic comedy, and kind of a love story."
Did you both dance that well before this movie? Did you practice that dance?
Katherine Heigl: "I think it looked so awesome because of the way that they shot it. Did you notice, Gerry, it was all just upper? They didn’t do any wide shots of us spinning around."
Gerard Butler: "I disagree. It was hot."
Katherine Heigl: "We totally went back to the trailer and made out after. [Laughing] We had like 20 minutes to rehearse it, right?"
Gerard Butler: "I took a few lessons because I had no idea what I was doing. I actually had a lesson from Julianne Hough from Dancing with the Stars and that took me a long way along the way. But this lady here was just on it and she had it right away. That’s why it came alive, because to be honest if I was dancing with somebody who wasn’t that great, it would have been a disaster. Katie was on it and I wasn’t."
"Her process is good and mine is bad. [Laughing] I had months to prepare and I still I still forgot my lines But then again, I had a lot to say. In my defense I never f--king shut up in this movie. ‘Blah, blah, blah…’ and then ‘blah, blah, blah…’"
Katherine Heigl: "What was so awesome is that you nailed every joke. It came off effortless. That is just awesome. He is super fun to watch. You’re just good."
When you are talking to each other face to face, how tough was that and were there a lot of takes for those scenes where you have to use the R-rated language? Was it tricky?
Katherine Heigl: "For me I kind of talk like that all the time anyway, so it wasn’t hard. I try to actually rein that in a bit. So that was very freeing for me. I could just kind of be me. I love raunchy humor, I just do, and I don’t know why. I don’t know why. I should probably get a little more sophisticated, but I just think it’s hilarious and it’s what makes me laugh the hardest and the most. I’m not terribly precious about that sort of stuff. Unless you’re going really far, and then it’s still funny."
Was it hard for you being the Scottish guy?
Gerard Butler: "I was in heaven. Back home. One of the main reasons I ended up doing this movie. I was doing another action movie where I was very dark and brooding. But at night I would go to dinner with Gary Luccesi and Tom Rosenberg from Lakeshore and tell dirty jokes. I’d be vulgar and they kept going, 'The Ugly Truth!,’ and I had never read the script. I finally read it and I go, ‘Okay, I get it.’ The weird thing is that it took me a couple of days to find my rhythm. The first day, playing the American accent and that kind of character, I was really nervous. I kept forgetting my lines. Every time I would turn to Katie and had to play with her hair, I was so nervous. Once I grabbed her breast. In the middle of a take I said, ‘Did I just touch your breast?’"
Katherine Heigl: "He just put his hand down, one of those accidental brushes, and it was like…"
Gerard Butler: "It was kind of a Mike Chadway move. I guess it was pretty method. Every time I went to grab her hair, I forgot. And it was because I was really pretty nervous about it, because she’s such a charismatic woman."
Did it take 35 takes before you got the dinner scene [in which she has a huge orgasm] right?
Katherine Heigl: "Hold on. It didn’t take 35 to get it right, it took 35 set ups to film the scene. Which is a different thing. I got that on take one, thank you very much."
So it was a total breeze?
Katherine Heigl: "Oh my God, it was a nightmare. And let me tell you, ladies, these were fake orgasms but… can you imagine? ‘I’m very method.’ [Laughing] That would have been a terrible day!"
Gerard Butler: "I get them all the time! I recognize that!"
Katherine Heigl: "‘I know you’re phoning that one in!’ [Laughing] It’s really just physically exhausting. It’s so much physical movement, the legs dancing under the table, all the tensing up of the body, and by the end of the day I felt like I had done a marathon. I thought I had run 20 miles. Then I went, ‘Okay, no I get why it’s called physical comedy.’ Because it’s so physical and it’s exhausting. No one wants to orgasm 35 times."