BEVERLY HILLS, California — By now, you know that King Leonidas and Ray Charles are getting ready to square off against each other in [movie id="411771"]"Law Abiding Citizen,"[/movie] a new crime thriller in theaters this weekend. You might also know that their real names are Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx, and that the two stars are so intent on stretching the limits of Hollywood typecasting that they switched roles in the film at the last minute. But what you might not realize is how much both stars have riding on "Abiding."
"We started this company, my manager and I, called Evil Twins," Butler explained when we caught up with him recently. The film marks his first effort as a producer — one of the many ways that his career has skyrocketed since "300" made the Scottish actor a household name. "I'm excited, and I'm happy with how it turned out."
Butler told us that he enjoyed evolving into a behind-the-scenes filmmaker on "Citizen," and if the film performs well he hopes to continue his efforts. "It was great to get involved on that deep of a level; to be working with the script writers, developing the script," the actor explained, saying he was even able to hire his own boss on set. "We chose Gary Gray, the director."
Not to be outdone, Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx said that "Law Abiding Citizen" — a film about a wronged man (Butler) who seeks revenge on the district attorney (Foxx) who sets his family's killers free — was a film he was particularly eager to do because he cares so much about the real-life issues it is able to address. "You look at our justice system, and it's never going to be perfect," Foxx insisted. "Which [my character] Nick is trying to explain. It's not going to be perfect, so things are going to slip through the cracks.
"But at the same time, you root for both of them, because they're both right and they're both wrong," Foxx continued. "Here's a guy who loses his wife and his daughter —' how can you tell him that you're only going to give him this amount of justice? You never know where a person's tipping point is, and it was interesting to look at it like that."
Butler agreed that, although the film has a definite "Death Wish"-like thrill to it, they're hoping that audiences will appreciate them going for something deeper. "The justice system, more than anything, would be the main thing that we were having a stab at," he explained. "It's a very interesting topic, [the dangers in] plea bargaining, etc."
"I was seven years in law," grinned Butler, who graduated from Glasgow University with a law degree and nearly became a lawyer before he got into the movie business. "I spent five years studying, and two years training. And now, here I am, going, 'What a waste of seven years that was!' "
Check out everything we've got on "Law Abiding Citizen."
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