THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
GERARD BUTLER (the Phantom) was born in Glasgow, the youngest of three children to Margaret and Edward. He spent his first two years in Montreal, where his father worked as an accountant, before moving back to Glasgow. Butler was interested in acting from an early age, and made his stage debut at the age of twelve in Oliver, at Glasgow's famous Kings Theatre.
At the age of twelve, amidst daydreams that he was living within the fantasy movie Krull, Butler pursued the idea of becoming a professional actor. He spent the summer at the Scottish Youth Theatre residential course in Livingstone. Despite being noted as an outstanding student, Butler was dissuaded from continuing his theatrical studies by his school career officers. Consequently he trained in law for seven years before moving to London to revive his former dream.
Butler's first break came via a chance meeting in a London coffee shop with veteran British actor and director Steven Berkoff; Butler pleaded for an audition and managed to land a part in his upcoming play Coriolanus at the Mermaid Theatre. Still agent-less, Butler's next audition in 1996 landed him the lead role of Renton in the acclaimed stage production of Trainspotting, directed by Harry Gibson, which took him to Scotland to headline at the Edinburgh Festival.
Butler made his feature debut in the highly acclaimed Mrs. Brown, in which he played Billy Connolly's brother, Archie Brown, alongside Judy Dench. Based on the story of John Brown and Queen Victoria, the film was Oscar nominated in 1998.
After the huge success of Mrs. Brown, Butler went on to play the character Jacko, a bungling and childish psychotic criminal with a penchant for taking pot shots at the local pizza boy in Stuart Suggs' black comedy, Fast Food. He then starred opposite Tara Fitzgerald in the two-part BBC psychological drama, Little White Lies, directed by Philip Saville.
In 1998, Butler took the role of Yasha in the feature version of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, directed by Michael Cacoyannis and co-starring Charlotte Rampling and Alan Bates. He then turned his hand to comedy with the cult Channel 4 series A Young Person's Guide to Becoming a Rock Star in a hilarious portrayal of rock star Marty Claymore of super group Bonk Bonk Bonk.
The end of 1998 saw Butler star alongside Valerie Edmonds and James Cosmo in Vadim Jean's heartbreaking and powerful film One More Kiss, which won the Audience's Award at the Toronto Film Festival.
Butler then appeared in Snatch, a play for the Soho Theatre Company directed by Polly Teale. He remained in the West End in 1999 to take on the role of Doctor Sugar, employing a Louisiana accent and starring opposite Rachel Weisz in the Donmar Warehouse production of Tennessee Williams' Suddenly Last Summer, directed by Sean Mathias.
Butler's talent for comedy took him back to television when he gave an astounding portrayal of the alcoholic womanizing Gus in ITV's Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married, directed by Sarah Hellings and Brian Grant.
His next role took him in a completely different direction as he went on to portray a war photographer caught up in the Bosnian War alongside Andie MacDowell and Adrien Brody in Eli Chouraqui's moving film Harrison's Flowers. He was also seen playing a psycho ganglord in Shooters, directed by Colin Teague, which also starred Adrian Dunbar and Matthew Rhys.
Towards the end of 2000, Butler brought to life two distinct, legendary characters. First he starred as a contemporary Dracula alongside Jonny Lee Miller, Christopher Plummer, Jennifer Esposito and Justine Waddell in Wes Craven's Dracula 2000. Following a short trip to L.A., Butler was then cast in the title role of Attila, the historic warrior, in the miniseries Attila the Hun, directed by Dick Lowry and produced by Alphaville, the team behind The Mummy and The Jackal. This was broadcast in 2
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