Gerard Butler is crazy for ‘Law Abiding Citizen’: ‘This is the Hannibal Lecter role’

Sept. 23, 2009 | 10:19 p.m.

Is Gerard Butler making a movie every month or does it just feel that way? Los Angeles Times Calendar writer Rachel Abramowitz talked to him not long ago for “The Awful Truth” and “Gamer” and got a tidbit, too, about Butler’s upcoming vendetta fantasy, “Law Abiding Citizen.” Here it is. — Geoff Boucher

Jamie Foxx and Geard Butler in Law Abiding Citizen

Gerard Butler dumps his heroic persona for a walk on the wild side in the revenge thriller “Law Abiding Citizen.” While the  F. Gary Gray film might make the ACLU shudder, preview audiences have been howling their appreciation  often in favor of Butler’s psychopathic anti-hero.

“This is the Hannibal Lecter role. It’s Kevin Spacey in ‘Se7en,’ ” says Butler, the Scottish actor best known for playing King Leonidas in “300.

Of course, there’s a reason for the rage of Butler’s character. You’d be riled up if your wife and family had been brutally murdered in a  home invasion and the court system let one of the killers off with a slap on the wrist. But Butler’s guy isn’t just after an eye for an eye; he’s a crazed vigilante bent on taking down the entire legal system.

This is Butler’s first foray into producing, and he not only worked on the Kurt Wimmer script but  was willing to forgo his original intention to play the hero to get the movie made.

“We were having a hard time finding the right actor for the role,” he said. Jamie Foxx was interested, but only in the district attorney role.

“ ‘I’ll swap,’ ” Butler said. “He said, ‘Yes,’ at which point I went ‘Oh … I wish I hadn’t said it.’“

Butler  wound up working with an acting coach for the first time on a movie, and now seems happy about his psycho turn. “I’m proud of it.”

— Rachel Abramowitz


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Photos: Top, Jamie Foxx is a district attorney and Gerard Butler is a man who decides to take justice into his own hands  in “Law Abiding Citizen.”  Credit: John Baer  / Overture Films. Bottom: “Gamer.” Credit:  Lionsgate

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