We Spoke With “Hunter Killer” Star And Mad Man Gerard Butler

Submarine movies are an American favorite and Gerard Butler tells us why he loves the genre.

Hunter Killer, based on the 2012 novel Firing Point by Don Keith and George Wallace, stars Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, and Common. The plot centers on a dance between an American and Russian submarine beneath the Arctic ice cap. Gerard Butler stars as Commander Joe Glass mans the USS Arkansas, a third submarine sent in to investigate after the first American sub vanishes.

For many, submarine movies are a favorite source of thrills, adrenaline-spiked scenes, and suspenseful pauses. The environment in which these potentially world-ending weapons platforms operate is a hazard in itself.  Cold, foreboding, despair-inducing, dark and lonely. Couple that with the uncertainties that the human element also presents and you have all the makings for an entertaining movie.

Recently, The Shadow League was present at a press roundtable featuring star Gerard Butler.  Butler, who has made his fair share of negative headlines, told reporters how this type of action movie made him feel different from others that required a more physical approach in the past.

I felt lazy. I said ‘Can I have a bazooka, an RPG or something? I can still do some damage!’ But they wouldn’t let me!  I read this script a long time ago. This movie was one of those things that we’ve been waiting for the right time to make and there was always a lot of passion for the project. The day I read it Joe Glass and I just felt that deep connection to it. And also there was a chance of me growing up a bit in terms of making action thrillers and playing the more grown-up role.

The more authoritative one in a position of power working with a team to perform with more of a decision making process and moral deliberations and having to kind of grow up with a young crew around me who don’t know me or don’t trust me.  Rather than being the guy out there on your own awaiting someone else’s instructions. It was great to see it unfold and having everything work from there.

Hunter Killer (2018 Movie) Official Trailer – Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Common

Hunter Killer – In Theaters October 26. Starring Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Common, Linda Cardellini, and Toby Stephens. Subscribe to the LIONSGATE YouTube Channel for the latest movie trailers, clips, and more: http://lions.gt/youtubesubscribe #HunterKiller http://www.hunterkiller.movie http://www.facebook.com/HunterKillerMovie http://www.twitter.com/HunterKiller http://www.instagram.com/HunterKillerMovie Deep under the Arctic Ocean, American submarine Captain Joe Glass (Gerard Butler, Olympus Has Fallen, 300) is on the hunt for a U.S.

TSL: The submarine genre is one of my favorites dating back to Saturday afternoon’s watching Guns of Navarone and Das Boot with my grandfather as a child. Was this genre a favorite of yours as well?

GB:  I remember watching (German war movie) Das Boot in a cinema when I was in London. I wasn’t a kid but I watched those movies when I was younger as well.  For me anyway, my favorite movies were always war movies and warship movies, especially submarine movies.

Because you can’t find a place in this whole gotdamned world that’s more rife for exhilarating, nail-biting drama than being 1,000 feet underwater in a 500 square foot room with a lot of guys and it’s hot and sweaty and very dangerous. I remember being in that theater watching Das Boot, there were about two of us in the theater.

About two hours into the screening I wanted to stand up and scream ‘This is the best f*cking movie I’ve ever seen in my life’, but I thought the other guy wouldn’t appreciate it. But it’s that good. It’s that exciting to have that drama. I always wanted to make a movie like that, then this came along and it was a challenge. It was a challenge because they haven’t made a submarine movie in a while, then we thought ‘If we’re gonna do it, what can we do that’s fascinating about it?

TSL: Without giving spoilers, how would you sum up this film?

GB:  This movie is hard to talk about without spoilers, the message of the movie is, in a lot of ways, what’s surprising about the movie. We talk about it in a lot of ways before. I don’t want to give too much away but a lot of it is about trust. Trust between a man and his crew, trust between two countries, trust that isn’t about politics, domination or isn’t literally about good against evil.  And these powerful men and women who have to make these decisions with this massive amount of pressure on top of them.

Where one wrong move could mean utter devastation. But ultimately I feel that is what encompasses the message of the movie. It’s a war movie but it’s actually a movie about people fighting for peace. And the way they do that comes more through trust than manipulation. You have the manipulation.

You have the cat and mouse game, you have the chess game, but what happens is sometimes when you let your guard down is when you get what you want or what’s best for everybody. You let your guard down and let the universe have its way. That was something that I always believed in but I feel like this movie spoke even more to that.

TSL: The ending gives us an optimistic picture of human nature.

GB: We were always struggling to find the proper ending and it was hard to get away from the conventional good guy kills bad guy. THen we found a way that spoke even more to the message of good against evil rather than two superpowers going against each other.  Another thing I like about glass is, in that inspirational way, there’s that humility to him as well because he’s the seer. He’s a visionary. Doesn’t mean he’s right! Sometimes, that can be a dangerous thing.

Because even if you play it the right way, the right way in this situation could just as easily be the wrong way if you don’t know what the other side is going to do. In that way (Glass) takes incredible risks, which is scary to his crew because they’re thinking ‘That’s nice that you can be that visionary but this is our lives we’re talking about. You might be right, but we might be dead. You prove your point and we’re all at war anyway.’  That’s the other thing I like. There’s no easy answer to that. But I like that quiet, authoritative humility. But even within that, he’s a renegade. It’s a dangerous place to be.

TSL: Submarine movies have to be technical by nature. Nobody wants a cardboard cutout for a set and nobody wants inaccurate jargon used on the bridge. How did you prepare?

GB: We spent a good deal of time with the Navy because we were always flirting with each other. They wanted to be involved, we really wanted them to be involved, so there was a lot of work with the script and what we can bring into the script.  And also, how far can you push the drama and the tension. We couldn’t really do like Crimson Tide because the Navy wouldn’t get involved with that. “What’re you saying? We all walk around smoking cigars and punching each other?’

At the same time, they have a thing called the forceful callback. That means any officer can be challenged and should be challenged and questioned. Because there are so many mistakes that you could make down there. If a captain is making a call, even the lowliest crewmember should be able to say ‘Captain, are you sure about that?’ I spent a lot of time with different commanders. We went out in Pearl Harbor and we did a lot of different maneuvers from the movie. 

 
TSL: After having made this movie, how would you describe being a submarine commander?

One of the captains explained that it’s the best and worse job in the world. You’re like God. When you’re down there, you are God. You have nobody to answer to, you’re the boss and you’re in charge of a machine that can destroy the planet and take your country to war, or not. Yet it’s a beautiful thing, hugely enjoyable, but it’s a massive amount of pressure because you’re completely accountable and that’s the idea of this movie. Joe Glass is God. That can be a good thing but that could be a bad thing.