Gerard Butler Returns To High-Adrenaline Action With ‘Gamer’

'Between takes, he's working out,' Milo Ventimiglia says of pumped-up star.

In 2006′s graphic-novel adaptation “300,” Gerard Butler was a loincloth-wearing, six-pack-baring Spartan king of blood-spilling domination. In the years since, the Scottish actor has largely opted for far less gory fare, like the rom-coms “P.S. I Love You” and “The Ugly Truth.”

The futuristic sci-fi flick “Gamer” (out Friday) places Butler squarely back in the high-adrenaline, kill-or-be-violently-killed territory of popcorn action flicks. And once again, Butler is looking seriously pumped up.

“On set, he had a little Radio Flyer wagon with weights on it,” co-star Milo Ventimiglia told MTV News. “So in between takes, he’s working out, and I’m like, ‘Uh, all right.’ He’d go around the corner, and I’d sneak in, do a couple dumbbells.”

Ventimiglia and Butler had to pack on the muscle if they were going to survive the production with all their bones intact. “Gamer” sprung from the minds of writer/director Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the duo behind the manic “Crank” films. Their new movie takes place a few decades in the future, when a video game allows users to control actual death-row inmates in combat situations. With echoes of old-school sci-fi films like “The Running Man” and “Soylent Green,” “Gamer” delivers supersize, “Crank”-style action sequences pop-pop-popping with explosions, machine-gun fire and acrobatic stunts.

“Mark and Brian are able to combine the futuristic aspect of it, they’re able to combine the action aspect, they’re able to combine the moral to the story of these different themes,” co-star Chris “Ludacris” Bridges said. “They have that young energy. They have that energy that Hollywood is always waiting for — whatever’s new. And I feel they have a real grip on exactly what is needed right now and what people are looking for and what’s going to keep people entertained.”

Ventimiglia agreed: “It’s reaching into the future as opposed to throwing something so far out that you can’t grasp what’s happening. The technological advances are approaching our world now. You see that things could go in that direction. And the escape — with all this war and crap around us, where do you go? You’re gonna control somebody else and live out somebody else’s life while you’re sitting at home eating doughnuts.”

MTV is taking you “Behind the Screen” on Friday, September 4, at 7 p.m. Tune in to check out exclusive clips from “Jennifer’s Body” and “Ninja Assassin,” your first look at “Clash of the Titans,” a special appearance by Rain and a revealing exclusive interview with Megan Fox.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Gamer.”

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