Butler and Forster in Machine Gun Preacher
No, this isn't Gerard Butler leaping on the back of his recent action films and making another, this is Butler being rather clever with his career and taking a rather different role and another direction.
He's looking to play the real life role of a an ex-drug dealer and hard man who became a preacher, went to Sudan, stood up for the rights of child soldiers, formed a militia and fought for them, liberating them from their captors and dispensed their own hard justice.
It sounds a perfect role for Gerard Butler to turn his career away from the action star he's rapidly being associated with and look to another direction, something he seems to be doing with more and more ease, and there are a great number of positives to back him up.
Not least is the fact that Marc Forster is set to direct the story that he developed along with Jason Keller, and he's known for some strong films with some equally strong performances from his actors, but there's also the fact of the story itself.
From Deadline Hollywood Daily comes the story behind the title of Machine Gun Preacher. A man called Sam Childers was a biker gang member and fighter who was raised by his father to have a hatred of bullies, which is ironic considering he became a drug dealer. However he turned his life around and became a preacher who found himself moved to the point of action by the stories of the atrocities committed in Sudan by armies filled with children who were forced to become soldiers and sex slaves.
He went to Sudan, started an orphanage and then formed a militia to protect the children. However he didn't stop there, and the militia began to find the children kidnapped by these armies, free them, and then deliver a crude justice to their captors.
There's an interesting story in there from quite a few angles, not just the obvious heart warming story of a bad guy turned to good and doing some amazing work to save children, but also in the militia he raised and the justice they metered out.
It's a strong story for both Marc Forster and for Gerard Butler, and a strong career move for Butler if it comes off. It has the effect of endearing him to audiences and of allowing him a real life and gritty role that would seem to suit him very well.
What do fans of Butler think of the possibility of the role? Will it change their view of the actor? What about those who aren't fans? Does a real life, positive story like this look like award and/or career making material?
Does any of that matter though, and is it really the story that needs a strong outlet to be seen and told?