Entertainment‎ > ‎

Gerard Butler Explains How His Movie Reflects North Korea Crisis

posted 5 Apr 2013, 08:42 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 5 Apr 2013, 08:42 ]

Gerard Butler talks about the synchronicity of the release of "Olympus Has Fallen" and the current events in North Korea.

MILLENNIUM FILMS/LIONSGATE UK -  While the situation in North Korea appears to be reaching boiling point in reality, a new action film "Olympus Has Fallen" eerily mirrors the current political situation on the big screen.

The movie sees the White House attacked by a terrorist group from North Korea. They manage to successfully storm the iconic American building, and kidnap the president. And while politicians on the outside are trying to prevent a conflict happening around the Korean peninsula, a lone security officer, played by Gerard Butler, is inside the White House trying to despatch the terrorists and rescue the president.

Butler not only stars in the movie, which started filming in July 2012, but also produced it. Speaking with Reuters at London's Corinthia Hotel, Butler explained:

"You always try and make a movie relevant with a backdrop of the climate, but we didn't realise quite how relevant our movie was going to become. It's literally mirroring what happened in our movie, except obviously ours is about a terrorist organisation so we could take them into the White House. But what was going on between North Korea and South Korea and that movement and the naval exercises and pulling out the seventh fleet and the Americans confirming they were going to back Koreans at a time like this. These are actually scenes from our movie."

He added: "Even a female head of the secret service - Angela Bassett - people were like 'that doesn't make any sense, this has never happened', but now last week they appointed a head of the secret service. So I think that's why I think audience have been so engaged in the movie, because it's happening right now."

"The Dark Knight"'s Aaron Eckhart stars as the US President, who is held hostage in the bunker of the White House. Although there are similarities in the plot, he explained that the movie isn't directly pointing fingers at North Korean government.

"Now it's important to note that this is a terrorist group that's not directly connected to theNorth Korean government that attacks the White House, so we have that disclaimer," he explained, "but it is relevant. You have to pick a bad guy and I think they try to explain the issues about why they're doing it and they try and play both sides, and I think the audience understands that pretty well."

This is the sixth film that Butler has produced. To date, "Olympus Has Fallen" with its estimated budget of $70 million (US dollars) has grossed nearly $60 million (US dollars) at the US box office before opening worldwide. However, other of his productions, such as "Playing for Keeps" and "Machine Gun Preacher" failed to do so well.

"It just feels that you're even more involved in the movie," said Butler. "When the movie comes out, you go I know every part of this, not just the performance of it but how it all came together and that's a really nice feeling. But it's also a really bad feeling when it doesn't work which does often happen, but in this one I'm really really proud of what we did. I think we made a very exciting, compelling, unforgettable movie."

For Eckhart, having Butler as producer made the movie-making experience a better one.

"You want your star of the movie to be invested in the film, to have skin in the game because that brings everyone's level up," said Eckhart. "Not only is Gerry a committed actor while he's starring in the movie, but as a producer as well. And then the actors get to yell at him when lunch isn't on time, so it works out perfectly for us."

To play the US President, Eckhart was offered an insight into how operations work inside theWhite House - something which has further put off the actor from pursuing a political career.

"I like local politics and getting involved in my community and having a say in that and stuff, but these guys are dealing with you know... like what's going on right now in North Korea is real interesting and how do you deal with that? How much pressure - real pressure? How much diplomacy do you use? All that sort of stuff. I don't have the patience for it. I just get out the meat cleaver," he explained.

Butler also did research into his role as a former member of the presidential security team, who are expected - and willing, Butler explained - to take a bullet if the need arises. But when asked if the macho Scottish actor would take a bullet for someone himself, he replied with hesitation: "I think I would take a bullet for the people that I love. I hope I'd take a bullet for a stranger. It's hard to sit back and watch a tragedy happen. It's not something I couldn't get involved with."

"Olympus Has Fallen" is out in the UK on April 17th.