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go-to badass Gerard Butler reveals he loves rom-coms ahead of action thriller Copshop's release

"Romantic comedies seem to have died a death recently. That's a shame because I love making them"

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Gerard Butler in Copshop.

Gerard Butler in Copshop.

Gerard Butler in Copshop.

He's the Scotsman who became a Hollywood star playing charmers in romances such as P.S. I Love You.

But the huge success of Spartan war epic 300 was a game changer for Gerard Butler - and in the years since he's become one of cinema's go-to action badasses.

He has fond memories of filming the big-screen adaptation of Cecilia Ahern's novel with Hilary Swank in Ireland, but Gerard reckons Hollywood no longer makes them like they used to.

"Romantic comedies seem to have died a death recently," he says via Zoom. "That's a shame because I love making them, but I don't see many around and the ones that are around don't seem to do so well.

"I'm hoping they come back into vogue because it would be fun to do one. Movies like P.S. I Love You - I'm so glad I made those movies. I mean, they were so much fun to make and to see the impact that they had."

In the meantime, Gerard is quite content to play the leading guy who can take on any crisis. His latest, Copshop, sees him revert to full-on ass-kicking mode as Bob Viddick, a tough assassin hunting a conman who assaults an officer so he can hide out in a police station. When the hitman turns up at the station, all hell breaks loose, not least for the female officer Valerie Young (Alexis Louder) who is in charge.

Viddick has to get savvy and trigger-happy in defending himself, given he is handcuffed to a bar in his cell for much of the movie. Gerard adds: "He knows he's not going anywhere until he has to. So he's cool with being there and just kind of sussing out the situation and waiting like a cobra for his moment to strike."

The star jokes that he befriended a couple of assassins as research, before adding that he read several books on killers and sociopaths to get inside the head of the man he plays. "I did a lot of reading on sociopaths, psychopaths, on hitmen, on serial killers. The strongest thing for me is to climb into a backstory. Who is this guy? How does he live the rest of his life? Is he friends with his mother? Who does he care about? What was his upbringing?"

Gerard saw the story's setting as like a modern-day Wild West. He adds: "It stinks of a western - that small-town sheriff trying to do good, and then in come the bad posse, one at a time.

"Valerie has to try to hold it together as one after another, they come in and try and take out the person they want to take out and she's trying to protect them, not even knowing if she's protecting the right guy. It has all those elements of a classic western, but what was awesome is updating it with a strong female protagonist as the sheriff."

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Gerard in P.S. I Love You.

Gerard in P.S. I Love You.

Gerard in P.S. I Love You.

The 51-year-old has always admired strong protagonists ever since he first fell in love with the movies as a boy growing up in his native Paisley.

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Those who impressed him the most include fellow Scot Sean Connery, as well as Paul Newman, Peter O'Toole and Sigourney Weaver.

"I've seen so many movies, but I think the ones that typically impact you are the ones you saw when you were younger," he says. "So anything that Sean Connery did, especially The Man Who Would Be King. Those epic adventures like Lawrence of Arabia or Cool Hand Luke with Paul Newman, you know, just somebody who lived by their own rules. And I would say Ripley and the Alien movies."

The busiest Scotsman in Hollywood has an incredible 10 more movies completed or on the way in the next couple of years. They include basketball comedy All-Star Weekend with Jamie Foxx, and action thriller The Plane. It's clear he loves telling as many stories as he can.

"I think what's lovely and surprising is the fact that even the darkest of characters have little touches of light and humanity in them. I think there's heroism everywhere, and there's darkness everywhere."

  • Copshop is now in cinemas

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