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Heroes And Villains
Lucas Foster, Gerard Butler and Alan Siegel began developing Law Abiding Citizen with the idea that Butler would play Nick Rice, the morally conflicted district attorney. During the development process, something changed for Butler. "I found that the more I was arguing for Nick, the more compelling Clyde became for me,” says the actor. 

"One of the issues we always had with Clyde was the risk of him seeming to be a garden variety villain,” he continues. "But I thought, ‘he could be me, he could be you. How would we behave in that situation?' I wanted audiences to understand his pain. You can laugh with him, you're charmed by him, but you know inside he's been destroyed. It was interesting to explore a character I could be terrified of and at the same time is a regular guy I could sympathize with.”

Clyde is the law abiding citizen of the title, an ordinary man whose life was changed forever by a random crime. "The one thing that Clyde is left with is at least he'll have justice,” says Butler. "He puts all his hopes in Nick Rice and the system, thinking these two cads will be properly punished. When that doesn't happen because Nick is more concerned with his career, Clyde is left abandoned in every way. He's a lost soul. Unfortunately for everybody else, he has the talent and tenacity to ensure that the system that failed him is brought to its knees. Nobody who was involved in the original case is left untouched, especially Nick.” 

Director F. Gary Gray describes Clyde as both a victim and a monster to some degree. "And still you have to ask yourself what you have would done,” he says. "Gerard Butler had an immense challenge with this character. Clyde represents the average person, but he acts out thoughts that most of us would never admit to in a million years, let alone act on. Gerard delivered a character who can live in two worlds.” 

To prepare for the role, Butler spent time with criminologists, exploring the psychology of serial killers and revenge killers. "I also watched documentaries on killers and I did a good deal of research on the Internet,” he says. "It was enlightening for me.”

The role is another step in a deliberately diverse career for Butler. "When you look at the range of Gerry's work, it's extremely eclectic,” says Siegel, who also manages the actor. "He's gone from romantic comedy to musical to drama to action adventure. And the characters are entirely different. After 300, he started to get recognized on the street, but it took a while before that happened, because his choices have been so unusual.” 

Another equally commanding actor brings to life the film's other sympathetic leading character. Standing on the opposite side of the scales of justice from Clyde is Nick Rice, the prosecutor played by Jamie Foxx. 

"What I have always loved about this movie is how closely these two are bonded together,” Butler says. "They are like two warriors coming head-to-head. Despite the fact that they're out to destroy each other, there's a certain respect and understanding. One of the points that Clyde is making to Nick is that this could just as easily be him in the exact same situation.” 

Lucas Foster agrees. "These two characters could easily switch places. They're both complicated. They both are wrestling with morality. They're both trying to achieve some kind of higher good. But the way they're going about it is entirely different. I like movies that have complex characters. I don't think straightforward ‘heroes' reflect reality. Nick has done things that are of dubious morality. There are many shades of gray in the character. His objectives are honorable, but the way he goes about reaching them sometimes isn't.” 

Foxx joined the cast because he was intrigued by both the script and the people already committed to the film. "I know when I want to wor

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