MACHINE GUN PREACHER: GERARD FLEXES HIS ACTING MUSCLE - Wednesday, 9/21/2011 6:24 PM
It’s hard being beautiful…we’re always told. Though, for very good reason, we scoff at such a notion, when it comes to being taken seriously, well… Naturally, part of the reason beauties are dismissed is because it’s really difficult not to be petty when someone didn’t earn something that sets them apart from the pack…in a good way...bestowing attention and favors that those less blessed are never accorded. So, the gene pool giveth, and then the critics attempt to taketh away.
Beauty is often an easy target when dealing with movie actors. Whereas an “interesting” (nice word for unattractive) actor who has chops can create quite the lauded career by disappearing into character parts, those with dynamite looks often find it really difficult to hide their God-given glories. Because of that, they are usually relegated to just flashing their gorgeous grins and fluttering their fabulous eyes to bring in the hordes who require no other reason to spend big bucks for the right to worship such creatures. That’s great for movie stars who are content to just play themselves for great amounts of money until the crow’s feet and saggy skin set in. For some lucky sorts (like Paul Newman), this is actually when people realize that they can ACT. The grizzled masking of their beauty frees these sorts to finally get down with their “craft”.
If the actor doesn’t want to wait that long to show they know what they’re doing, they can either go the gain/lose vast amounts of weight road or play someone with some sort of disfigurement or terrible problem or put their money into so-called “vanity projects”: Films that allow them to show what they feel has been obstructed by the dictates of the big-money projects that can afford their services and can only be driven by star-power.
“Machine Gun Preacher” is Gerard Butler’s vanity project. That’s not a negative criticism, by any means. You have to give points to someone who gambles their own money on themselves. This is especially true when the project is very small in scope, so the chance of a big payday is slim: That’s where the project goes from vanity to passion. It also helps when the person uses their star power to call attention to something that most of the world has tuned out or is ignorant of.
“Machine Gun Preacher” is about a ne'er-do-well biker/junkie who finds God, then becomes so obsessed with doing good (saving Sudanese children) that his well-intentioned actions become destructive. His obsession grows from the increasing futility of what he’s taken on. Instead of just throwing up his hands and walking away from something that seems endless and hopeless, he pushes harder and becomes completely insensitive to the toll his good deeds for strangers are having on his nearest and dearest. Think Herzog. And, like many of Herzog’s characters, this is based on a real person, Sam Childers.
At the Diesel Black Gold hosted NYC premier, we were told that this “gory...and heartfelt movie will change the world.” A lofty aspiration, surely, but dramatizing this on-going problem (Childers is still fighting the fight) is a start. In addition, Virgin is aligning themselves with the project by contributing donations based upon ticket sales. So, if you don’t go and see this movie… I’m just sayin’…
Butler was introduced and, I must say…wow! I remember him from the 2004 premiere of “The Phantom of the Opera” movie (yeah…pretty boy can also sing…) but, I swear, he looks even better now. He is absolutely stunning, with his Cali tan and THAT HAIR. I’m sorry, but I could not stop fixating on THAT HAIR from the moment I saw him until the minute the movie ended. No matter how rough the conditions portrayed were, Gerard’s hair was FLAWLESS. No matter how horrid the situation or how long Childers was in war-torn Sudan, somehow his hair was PERFECT. I swear, if Butler and Jennifer Aniston had created a child during their alleged relationship, hairdressers the world over would have first fainted in a collective swoon, then raced to get the child signed up as a future spokesmodel.
But, I digress…
Butler explained that he was attracted to the script because it was "an emotional and powerful story. It was a great challenge as an actor." He believed in it enough to become a producer. He told us of his “passion to get it made” and how the movie went bankrupt “a number of times.” The results, so far, have been promising: “Machine Gun Preacher” received a standing ovation at the recent Toronto International Film Festival.
So, if you want to see a movie about something important, where the acting is first-rate (Michelle Monaghan plays the former stripper/junkie born-again wife), consider this. And if you just like Gerard Butler, you’ll be happy that he is in just about every scene, many with lingering close-ups of his anguished (always stunning) face.
I was standing in the Royalton hotel’s lobby at the after party when Butler rolled in. Again, it was THE HAIR that got my attention. Contrary to what was reported on Page Six (what a shocker!), he was NOT “scan (ning) the room for single ladies as he walked (in).” In fact, he came barreling in with some other guy, their heads down, arms around each other’s shoulders, deep in conversation. Neither looked up until they reached the rear of the lobby, where the food was set up. I’ll assume the trolling for babes began then. Whatever…Good for him and whomever he frolicked with.
I was too busy stuffing my face to try to break through the crush to get to him. The mushroom ravioli, shrimps and risotto were garlicy delicious. At the party I went to afterwards, I kept apologizing for my breath. Bet Gerard never has to apologize for HIS breath.
, Michelle Monaghan
and Sam Childers
and Renzo Rosso
and Sam Childers