When an interview starts off with a discussion about nose-picking, you know it’s one that’s bound to cover some weird territory.
Some background: I’ve wanted to interview Gerard Butler for years but it’s just never worked out for one reason or another. Regardless, this time, finally, Butler was ready for a long sitdown interview. (One of my personal favorite Butler moments was a quick camera shot of him at the 2016 Golden Globe Awards, watching Amy Schumer and Jennifer Lawrence do a comedy routine. To put it mildly, Butler looks dazzled. Of course, I had to ask him about this moment.)
Butler’s career is fascinating. People almost forget that he was cast as The Phantom in Joel Schumacher 2004’s adaptation of Phantom of the Opera. But it wasn’t until Zack Snyder’s 300 that everything changed for Butler. But, as Butler shares ahead, 300 almost didn’t happen for him. The lucky break for Butler turned out being turned down for the remake of The Poseidon Adventure, (just called Poseidon) because if he had gotten that role, he would not have free to star in 300 – and then everything is different.
This week, Butler stars as a submarine captain named Joe Glass in Hunter Killer. In a movie that will one day, after its theatrical run, play on a neverending loop on cable, Butler’s Glass must command his Hunter Killer class submarine into Russian waters to stop a coup against the Russian president. It’s now Butler who gets to bark orders at his crew like Gene Hackman and Sean Connery did before him. (Side note: there should be more submarine movies.)
When I meet Butler in his Manhattan hotel just off of Central Park, we introduce ourselves by shaking hands. And then Butler tells me how much he dislikes shaking hands because it’s gross (I agree) and, well, that’s how nose-picking become a topic.
It’s nice to meet you.
I have to shake so many hands. Always get sticky.
I’m the same way. I don’t like shaking hands. You should have told me, we could have avoided the whole thing
If somebody said, how do we make sure that we have pandemics? What kind of greeting involves sharing? And I’m not a big germaphobe. I’m not! But I shake so many hands, when I go to the toilet and wash my hands, the water changes color.
Anyway, we’re good. Dude, I have to tell you, I remember I was in that program, I was in AA, and I remember after an AA meeting, I watched a guy picking his nose and eating it…
We were all watching. It was so revolting. And then at the end he comes over and shakes hands – and he left and we all ran to the toilet. We’re just watching this fucking thing, laughing, but also almost throwing up.
Did you do it? Did you touch him?
You couldn’t not. Anyway, yeah, let’s go.
Oh, we’ve started.
Oh, we were?
I got the scoop on handshaking and nose-picking.
That was gross. I have more nose-picking stories.
Wait, how do you have nose-picking stories? Most normal people don’t have nose-picking stories.
No, but this is so gross. I’m watching a kid, my friend’s little brother, during a Celtics against Rangers cup final probably 30 years ago. I’m watching this kid picking his nose, chewing it. Then take it out of his mouth, putting it on his patch. And then, an hour later, taking it back off his patch and putting it back in his mouth.
And I’m still traumatized by this.
Well, you still remember it.
And I couldn’t stand having him in my house. What the fuck?!
Okay, this should be in your rider. Like when you do a movie, there will be no nose-picking on set. Like Van Halen and the brown M&Ms.
They would demand M&Ms, but all the brown M&Ms had to be taken out.
Oh, Jesus. Okay.
Their point was if they couldn’t trust a crew with M&Ms then they don’t trust them with a ton of equipment right over their head.
What kind of weird rational is that? You can’t protect the equipment? I don’t know, that feels like ego ran wild. But, hey. And yeah, by the way, while they’re busy sorting out the M&Ms, they should be looking after the equipment.