Actor Gerard Butler, 53, says it’s getting “more and more difficult” for him to play extreme action scenes, but that worked to his advantage in his latest action thriller “Plane,” where he plays a pilot who without any previous combat experience has to face a tough hand-to-hand fight.
“I hate to say this but I felt (how difficult the filming of the action scenes was) harder than when I was filming ‘300,’” says the actor in an interview with EFE, referring to the epic film released 17 years ago where He plays King Leonidas.
For Butler, the toughest scene in this new film, where he plays a pilot who fights at all costs to protect his passengers after making a forced landing on an island plagued by militias and rebel groups, was a hand-to-hand fight of more than two minutes. The actor describes this scene as “memorable” because it was shot in one take.
“If only people knew how much we have to prepare,” the artist emphasizes, explaining that both the choreography of the fight and the camera angles had to be rehearsed to the millimeter and even so, several takes were necessary to get the final product.
“Playing someone who’s an everyman, but then finds himself in these crazy circumstances and has to figure out how to resolve them, that’s what made the fight so messy, messy, desperate and exhausting,” Butler notes.
To play this pilot who loves to make jokes and little by little becomes a hero throughout the film, the Scottish actor had to learn to fly.
“The process of being a pilot was really a lot of fun. It’s one of the best things about this profession, you get the opportunity to become an expert at something. I sat in a 737 simulator, landed at an airport, flew on highways looking for a place to land like in the movie, I spent time with pilots and went in small planes. It was a lot of fun,” he notes.
The idea for the film came to screenwriter and novelist Charles Cumming during a family vacation in Egypt when he wondered what would have happened if his plane had been diverted into an area controlled by terrorists.
But this movie is not set in Africa or the Middle East, but on the island of Jolo in the Philippines.
“There are rebel groups and militias on the island of Jolo and it’s true that the Philippine government really tries to stay out of it because it’s a completely crazy place. It allowed us to go to a different place and take the audience into a whole new world and see a completely different type of villain,” the actor details.
However, the film was recorded in Puerto Rico and not in Southeast Asia.
“The weather was perfect. Because we needed to (simulate) the Philippines, we needed the heat, the sweltering humidity,” recalls Mike Colter, who plays Louis Gaspare, a murder defendant being airlifted by the FBI on the plane flown by Butler.
Colter, 46, who also has to demonstrate his combat skills in the film, says that Puerto Rico is an idyllic place to work, not only because of its landscapes and gastronomy, but also because of the professionalism of the Puerto Rican team.