HOLLYWOOD actor Gerard Butler has said he would rather score a goal for Celtic than win an Oscar.
Paisley-born Butler (42), famed for his roles in 300 and P.S I Love you, said scoring a goal against Rangers would top his list of things to do if he were to meet his maker.
Butler was in Glasgow last summer to play for Celtic Legends in a charity match against Manchester United Legends and said sharing a pitch with players such as Henrik Larsson and Neil Lennon ranked in the top three moments of his life.
He said: “It was probably the highlight of my career. Back home at Christmas, talking about it with my mum, even she said that. She’s been to Hollywood premieres with me and she said it doesn’t get better than that moment, ‘just to see you walk on at Parkhead.’ My stepfather is a Rangers fan so it’s been an infinite source of entertainment for him to have to deal with that.”
Asked if he would rather win an Oscar or score a goal against Rangers, there was no doubt in the Scotsman’s mind.
“Scoring a winning goal against Rangers!” he said.
To prove dedication to his beloved Celtic, Gerard made a one day trip from Los Angeles to Glasgow to take part in a charity match to raise money for Oxfam’s East Africa famine appeal.
He said he “totally” enjoyed the experience, joking, “you can take the boy out of Glasgow…”
Currently starring alongside Ralph Fiennes in a movie adaptation of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, Butler said he accepted the role for a mixture of reasons.
He said: “Whether I had done it or not I would have taken a hold of that compliment for a while. ‘Ralph wants to work with you in a Shakespeare movie.” Incredible for me. Then I got the script and thought if Shakespeare could ever be a film this is it. It had it all, from political intrigue to intimate domestic moments, from rivalry to action sequences, all the complexities of every kind of relationship.”
Butler spoke of a near-death experience he had whilst filming his new movie, surfing film, Men and Mavericks.
During one take Butler was pulled under water by a particularly rough series of waves.
“It’s a very scary place. Surfers always tell you how lonely it feels when you are under that water, deep, dark. You think all I can do it not panic. If I panic I know I’m dead.”
Asked whether he had ever regretted leaving a career as a lawyer to pursue acting, Butler was pretty straight forward.
“In 14 years of acting I don’t think that thought has ever once crossed my mind. Even when I was under that wave,” he laughs. “I say that jokingly, but I had my moment, I have no regrets about doing that. I’m way better off doing what I am doing.”
Born in Paisley in 1969, Butler spent some time in Canada as a youth and landed a small part in James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies before his breakthrough role in TV series Attila in 2001.
The actor divides his time between Los Angeles, New York and London and was voted one of Empire Magazine’s 100 sexiest stars in 2007.