Gerard Butler's apocalyptic new film, Geostorm, is a pretty timely movie when you consider all of the natural disasters that have occurred in the last few months alone. In it he plays scientist Jake Lawson, who creates a futuristic satellite system to prevent the weather from producing extreme phenomenons, only for it to of course go terribly wrong. To add to the disaster theme, Gerard was involved in a bike accident in LA mere hours before he was set to kick off the promo tour for the movie earlier this week.
But in true Gerard Butler style, the star not only still showed up to BuzzFeed's interview with him in London, but he was in high spirits as he answered our incredibly varied questions while chatting over a good old British cup of tea (well, latte). From his favourite dance move to his best Scottish insult, and a number of surprises in between, here's everything we learned about him...
One of the main things we want to know about you is are you OK following your bike accident earlier this week?!
Gerard Butler: Yeah, I'm OK. I took a bit of a spill. It was quite intense.
The more I think about it the more I think I'm lucky because I went, apparently, 30 feet through the air and did a somersault and landed face down. And yeah, I kind of beat myself up.
So I have a few fractures and a couple of tears but it could have been a lot worse. You know, I'll do anything for a good story in the press. [smiles cheekily at the camera]
Annoying timing just before you're about to be interviewed over and over, right?
GB: Yeah, exactly. Also it came in the middle of a worldwide press tour, I'm doing a bunch of filming at the moment. So literally within five days of this accident I was on set for 16 hours. I can barely walk and I'm having to chase the bad guys with this gun [mimes shooting and grins]... It's been a fun two weeks.
As you're spilling the tea to us, how do you take yours?
GB: I normally take herbal tea because I'm not a huge fan of tea. I used to drink tea a lot when I was growing up but now I'm more of a coffee man. So normally tea is just with nothing, just herbal, no milk, no sugar. So I'm going to have a latte.
Important thing to know: What's your favourite pizza topping?
GB: Hawaiian. Ham and pineapple all the way, baby.
Puppies or kittens?
GB: Puppies. Puppies, puppies, puppies.
What animal would you say you're most like?
GB: A lion.
What's your weirdest possession?
GB: I have a meteorite iron ore sitting in my house in New York. I'm very fond of it. It's this size [cups his hands] but it's so heavy [mimes dropping it].
What's the last thing that you cried at?
GB: [laughs] You know what? You're going to think I'm really sad. This movie. I watched the premiere the other night and I've actually seen the finished version twice and I forgot how emotional it was and I started going [mocks choking back tears]. Oh...I shouldn't have done that. But it kind of made me make strange noises in my throat. I guess I was trying to clear my throat, but I wasn't, I was trying not to cry. [laughs and starts mock-choking again]. It's fine, it's fine. I'm good.
In Geostorm you try to save the world. What superhero would you be if you could be any?
GB: It's a tough one... I like Batman. I like Batman, especially in this reincarnation of Batman – that he felt pain, that he had to learn, he really had to work hard, he wasn't just a superhero. He didn't just go “OK, you are this dude.” It takes some perseverance and some endurance. You've got to earn being a superhero, you know what I mean? You can't just be given it.
By the way, I worked on a superhero movie once with a guy – we didn't make it, maybe we will one day – but the guy finds out he's a superhero... He's given superhero powers but before he's told what the powers are the other guy dies. So he knows he's a superhero, he just doesn't know what his superpowers are. So he doesn't know: Am I invisible? Can I walk through walls? Can I jump off buildings? So a lot of the fun in him finding out his powers is him actually trying to discover that. That's a cool superhero. A superhero who doesn't know what his powers are. Wouldn't that be cool?
You're an astronaut in the film. If you were given the option to go into space for a trip would you go?
GB: Absolutely. I've always wanted to go to space. One of the reasons it's fun to be able to choose a project like this – I mean we built these huge sets, bigger than aircraft carriers, so when I stepped on to these sound stages at NASA, where we filmed, I was in the International Space Station. And then you're given wires and you're flying around. So you could pretend to be in space, but to really be in space, and having spoken to a lot of astronauts and to look down on our planet and see everything and to be out there, I can't imagine anything more powerful than that.
Do you have a secret talent and, if so, what is it?
GB: I don't have many talents, but one of them would be my belly wobble, which with age has dramatically decreased. But I do a belly wobble – I have a lot of control in my stomach muscles but I used to be able to pull it right in so you could put both fists right in here. It's more like a knuckle now. But I can still do the wobble... Don't ask.
What advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?
Scotland or America?
Best Scottish insult you've ever heard?
GB: [starts laughing] OK. Back home when things were just taking off my buddy put his arm around me, he goes [puts on a thicker Scottish accent] “I'm so proud of you. I'm so proud of you, Gerry. You know what? Through all this fucking fame you huvnae changed. Aye. You're still a prick.”
That to me is the ultimate in Scottish humour and insult.
Best Scottish snack or delicacy?
GB: Scotch eggs. Very good. You know, the meat, the egg, and the stuff around the edge. Love it. I'm partial to haggis as well. I genuinely love a haggis with the neeps and the tatties, the whole ordeal. [laughs] It's an ordeal. And the three days afterwards. Always interesting.
Instagram or Twitter?
Favourite dance move?
GB: This is it. I had to do it in a movie once. [shows us his move] That's it. I love it. [does it again] It's like meditation to me. Or this [tries to show off another one]. But I can't because it would involve moving back, which I can't do in this seat. But if I was able to move back right now your head would probably explode with how cool it was.
The movie's quite action-packed. Did much training go into it?
GB: Yeah, we had to do...it wasn't crazy like some of the movies that I do, but I had to do a lot of wire work... and trying to pretend that you're weightless when really it doesn't feel like that, when you're in a 65-pound space suit and you're very much feeling the effects of gravity or you're just holding on to a wire. You're not in your space suit, just in your flight suit and you're on a wire and really you want to shake your whole body because you're trying to hold your whole body up, but you've got to be more like “Ohhh, I'm weightless, this is interesting.” That took a bit of getting used to.
The film was written a few years ago and was meant to be out early last year originally. Would you say it’s even more timely now it’s coming out now in 2017?
GB: Yeah, I think there's a reason for everything. So the movie came out a little later than planned, but it's come out right in the middle of this insanity that we are all so surprised about. We don't know what's happening right now. In some ways maybe it's not surprising at all.
And at the start of our movie it says “in the not too distant future this is what happened” and really when you watch this montage it's like this goosebump moment, because – one – it's incredible to watch but our movie is special effects, and then you think, I'm watching this on TV right now. However, you move on from there and you go “What would we do? How would we deal with this situation?” And it's a fascinating concept to see the science that had to be developed to really deal with this, which is incredible. You go up to the space station, you see all these satellites, you see how they live and breathe and how they individually affect the environments and then you go, “At the end of the day it's a fun concept, but it's kind of ridiculous.” And if it's ridiculous, what are we going to do? Because if we can't do that, we really need to do something to not let it get that bad.
What message do you have for people to prevent our world getting anywhere near a Geostorm scenario then?
GB: Listen, people can do various different things. It's personally making sure that their carbon footprint isn't too much or putting pressure on the relevant organisation, depending on where they are, that can have a voice and make a difference. And that's what you do when you send out a message like this, you hope that it affects the right people in the relevant way, depending on what they can do.
And finally... What's something people would be surprised to know about you?
GB: [deadpans to camera] I eat...older ladies. Nobody knew. [pulls a face at his publicist] That's the kind of thing that gets me in trouble, isn't it?