Gerard Butler & Mike Colter on Playing the Everyman

ComingSoon spoke with Plane stars Gerard Butler and Mike Colter about the thrilling action movie. The duo discussed playing regular people instead of inhuman heroes and the genres they’d like to tackle.

“In the white-knuckle action movie Plane, pilot Brodie Torrance saves his passengers from a lightning strike by making a risky landing on a war-torn island — only to find that surviving the landing was just the beginning,” reads the synopsis. “When most of the passengers are taken hostage by dangerous rebels, the only person Torrance can count on for help is Louis Gaspare, an accused murderer who was being transported by the FBI. In order to rescue the passengers, Torrance will need Gaspare’s help, and will learn there’s more to Gaspare than meets the eye.”

Jonathan Sim: Gerard, you started out in law school and then you transitioned to acting where you got to play vampires, vikings, and you’ve saved the President’s life on three separate occasions. So what made you decide that, with this film, you wanted to play an airline pilot? What preparation did you do to play the character accurately?

Gerard Butler: The Has Fallen movies are … it’s like this man here in Luke Cage. They’re almost superhero. As much as you want to climb into a more interesting character like that, it is fun to play an everyman — a regular person. He’s a pilot. Yeah, he needs those skills, but he’s not prepared for the world that he’s about to enter into. He’s not prepared to be having to go on a journey with an accused murderer who’s sitting on his plane in handcuffs, trying to rescue passengers from the militia.

That’s something that an audience can identify with, you know? These people that are in these terrible situations, but they’re trying their best. They make mistakes, they get things right, they get things wrong. I did a bunch of training for this. I was in simulators for as much as I could and then our cockpit was really … it was an actual cockpit from a plane. So [I] spent many, many hours in there because I wanted to feel like I earned my seat and I wasn’t just pretending and pressing buttons. The audience really believed they were sitting with two airline pilots.

Mike, you get to play a prisoner who teams up with Brodie Torrance to save these passengers, so you get a ton of really cool scenes in this. What was the most exciting scene in Plane for you to film?

Mike Colter: Exciting scenes … it was pretty entertaining the entire way. I mean, there were moments. I think one of my favorite moments is where I’m trying to — and not to give too much away — I’m trying to save this man from himself. He’s doing some crazy things and it’s just insane. And I think that that dynamic was fun to play because you’re watching someone who you literally had to protect from themselves because they want do something that’s just unsound, fundamentally. It’s almost suicidal.

So I think the relationship that we had, all those nuances and all those moments watching him going, “Okay, wait a minute. He’s almost brave, but he’s also crazy.” So at some point, I’ve either got to go with him or I’ve got to just abandon him. At some point, I’m just going, “Okay, full steam ahead.” And that’s what you’re doing. You’re basically jumping off a cliff and hoping for the best because we are outnumbered, outmanned, and we’re in a hostile environment and it doesn’t look like we’re going to survive.

Gerard, you’ve been in the Has Fallen movies and the underrated Copshop. Mike, you’ve been well-known for playing Luke Cage. Are there any genres of film that you haven’t done yet or in a while that you would want to do more of in the future?

Gerard Butler: I don’t know if there’s any genres I haven’t done.

Mike Colter: Yeah. I mean, everything’s very sci-fi heavy and it’s been there for a very long time now. I don’t know. A good comedy, a good comedy. It’s hard because comedy … it’s very specific, but I mean, I’m a big Dirty Rotten Scoundrels fan. I know it’s a weird —

Gerard Butler: Ah! I love that you love that!

Mike Colter: You just want to find a really interesting comedy. Those things are sometimes just lightning in a bottle. So yeah, we’d love to do something like that.

Gerard Butler: For me, the Guy Ritchie movies, like the one that I was fortunate enough to do, RocknRolla.

Mike Colter: Like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Gerard Butler: Yeah, that dark, black comedy. Or even recently, The Menu or The Banshees of Inisherin. Something like that, you know? A really dark satire that is strangely and surprisingly personal as well. Maybe time to revisit that.

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