Squaring off with Katherine Heigl on the other side of the sexual skirmish line in Columbia Pictures’ new romantic comedy “The Ugly Truth” is Gerard Butler, who won over audiences as a steely warrior in the action blockbuster “300,” and did a romantic turn with Hilary Swank in “P.S. I Love You.”
In “The Ugly Truth,” the Scottish star takes on a role he’s never been seen in before – an unapologetically caddish relationship expert with a tongue like a Ginzu knife. “Gerry’s always been a larger than life character,” says producer Gary Lucchesi. “And he’s also very funny. But what really convinced us is that when he and Katherine Heigl met, the chemistry between them was obvious.” Butler was attracted right away by the screenplay.
“The dynamic between men and women in this story is a little more outrageous than we’re used to seeing and what really hits home is how truthful it is,” he says. ““It’s very honest, in an outlandish way, about what goes on in relationships between men and women. That’s what got me excited about it. It allows the characters to say the kinds of things that make people think ‘I can’t believe he just said that,’ followed by ‘but it’s so true.’”
His character, Mike Chadway, also intrigued Butler , not only because he’s such a fun foil for Katherine Heigl’s character, Abby Richter, but because, beneath his seemingly vulgar exterior he’s actually, even if he would never admit it, quite complex.
“You could say Mike Chadway is sexist or misogynist or any of these things, but he’s also very smart, very funny and there’s something about him that’s very real and genuine,” Butler comments. “He’s certainly very full of himself. But, as the film goes on, he does change, and I think you realize that he isn’t quite the guy you expect.” Some of those changes occur entirely because of Abby.
“One of the great themes of the movie is that nobody can quite ruffle Mike’s feathers like Abby, which is probably why he starts to fall for her,” Butler explains. “She’s uptight, she’s prissy, she’s his nemesis and yet . . . there’s this spark where you realize they’re just perfect for each other. Katherine made it easy because she’s so funny and yet she keeps it so real.” The challenge to the role was in keeping Chadway overtly brash and bawdy without ever losing that underlying charm that keeps Abby coming back for more advice in her love life.
“The trick to portraying Mike Chadway was keeping some sense of his humanity because it is a love story within the comedy, as well,” Butler explains. “Mike has an enormous amount of dialogue, probably 10 times the dialogue I’ve ever had in a film, because he has an opinion or a smart line for everything. So that was an interesting experience, too. I took inspiration from Spencer Tracy and Cary Grant, the way the words are always flying in their films, and hopefully some of that kind of feeling comes across.”
Opening soon across the Philippines , “The Ugly Truth” is distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.