Gerard Butler has spent much of his career cementing his place as an action movie star but now he’s looking to take a step-back and refocus his efforts.
The Scottish actor, 49, who returns to cinemas this week as secret service agent Mike Banning in Angel Has Fallen, spoke to Yahoo Movies UK about the future of his career.
“There's a couple of things I've been talking about and I would like to try some Shakespeare at some point and I would like to maybe get back on stage,” he said.
Butler mentioned the Robert Burns biopic that he has been “trying to make for a quite a while” but is probably “getting a little old” to play the Scottish poet himself.
“To be honest, what I want to start doing is maybe taking my time a little more, working a little less, and making more passion projects,” he explained.
Butler is no stranger to performing Shakespeare after appearing as Tullus Aufidius in the 2011 movie adaptation of Coriolanus, opposite Ralph Fiennes (his directorial debut), but the actor’s CV has become top-heavy with action features over the last few years like Den of Thieves, Hunter Killer and Geostorm.
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Angel Has Fallen is the third film of the franchise which began in 2013 with Olympus Has Fallen and continued in 2016 with London Has Fallen.
In the first two films, he has to thwart assassination attempts on the President (played by Aaron Eckart) while in this latest instalment he must clear his name after being framed for attempting to assassinate the latest Commander-in-Chief, President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman).
At the same time, years of fighting bad guys has caught up with Mike Banning and he has to contend with the fact that maybe he’s a little too old and damaged to be out in the field. At 49-years-old, Butler can relate.
“It does get a little tougher than it should,” he said. “I still love making them but the idea of what any job takes out of you, I mean, this one especially or you think of an athlete or you think of people in service, whether its soldiers or the police or firemen.
“The crap that you have to go through, it gets harder and harder but at the same time you love what you do and you don't want to give it up and there's a lot to be said for that,” he added. “The thrill of the ride and also just wanting to keep working.”
As movie action heroes go, Gerard Butler isn’t the oldest; Keanu Reeves, 54, Jason Statham, 52, Liam Neeson, 67, and Robert Downey Jr., 54, have been performing stunts and high-action feats into their middle ages and beyond.
For Butler, though, he thinks that showing characters like Mike Banning going through their own midlife crises and health issues while saving the day brings authenticity to the film.
“I think it's an interesting way to go because there's a lot of truth to it,” he said. “If there's truth to any performance then I think it grounds you more in the more in the movie because you are really with that character, his struggles [and] his challenges.
“Then you go, how can you take that and make it really interesting? Those things that he's doing and the issues that he is having, what if certain powers that be get a hold of that and use it against him in a way that nobody could imagine? Then you have a fun movie on your hands.”
Angel Has Fallen is out on 21 August.