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Gerard Butler on “300” Training: “I Was Ruining My Body”

Gerard Butler in "300" as King Leonidas
Gerard Butler in “300” as King Leonidas/Credit: Warner Bros.

Scottish actor Gerard Butler recently told The Hollywood Reporter that the intense training he embarked on for the movie 300 took a massive toll on his body.

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 percent 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!”

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