In the movie, he plays King Leonidas, the leader of Sparta during the Battle of Thermopylae, where he lost his life, but slowed down the Persian invasion of Greece so much that their forces were weakened and went on to lose the Battle of Salamis.
Butler worked out for six hours every day to prepare for the demands of the role. This training included two hours of CrossFit training, two hours of bodybuilding and two hours of fight training, to help him with the film’s extensive action sequences.
Interest in the making of “300” has reignited after director Zack Snyder’s cut of the film “Justice League” was recently revealed.
The Making and Reception of “300”
After all, Snyder was the one who pushed for “300” to be made, based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller. Snyder, who favors intense action sequences and highly stylized images in films, gave “300” the unique look that made it famous.
Butler actually said he was pleasantly surprised that “300” turned out to be a hit. According to the actor, he was concerned that because so many sequences were shot on stage using green screen, that the film might not come out looking great.
However, not only did the film get a score of 89% on the movie review site Rotten Tomatoes, it also raked in $456 million at the box office worldwide.
This was great news for Butler, who put so much time and effort into preparing for the role. The actor shared, “in some ways I was ruining my body — but I was looking amazing doing it.”
Gerard Butler’s Career Since “300”
The reception of “300” cemented Butler as a high-profile action star. He went on to star in the “300” sequel, the hugely popular “Olympus Has Fallen” film franchise, as well as other action movies such as “Hunter Killer.” Butler has also expanded his range to work in romantic comedies like “The Ugly Truth”, with Katherine Heigl.
Butler’s co-stars in “300”, Lena Headey and Rodrigo Santoro, also went on to have great careers after the movie. Headey went on to star as Cersei Lannister in the smash hit series “Game of Thrones.” Santoro worked in high-profile series such as “Lost” and “Westworld,” and starred in the epic historical movie “Ben Hur.”
These days, all the stars of “300” are definitely keeping busy. Butler is currently in pre-production on four separate films, including “Den of Thieves 2” and “Afterburn.” His role as King Leonidas certainly hasn’t been forgotten in Greece.
Sparta Honors Gerard Butler
In early 2020, Butler was honored by the city of Sparta with a special celebration. He was also invited to be a torchbearer for Sparta during the Olympic Torch relay through the Greek region.
During an interview with Greek Reporter, Butler spoke with fondness of his experience on the set of “300,” saying that it had been the “most intense and enjoyable movie (he) ever made”. Butler added, “it made me feel Greek!”