While Gerard Butler is now an experienced leading man that has appeared in numerous Hollywood blockbusters, when we visited the set of Den Of Thieves, it was immediately clear that the character of Big Nick Flanagan was one that resonated with the Scottish actor much more vibrantly than others. Luckily for Gerard Butler and Den Of Thieves' co-writer and director Christian Gudegast they had Jay Dobyns, a former L.A.P.D. police officer, onboard as a consultant for the film. Butler explained to us how important Dobyns was to his process of getting into character, which then led to the hilarious revelation that Butler was once embroiled in such an intense discussion with Gudegast about Big Nick that he ate raw chicken. When discussing his process, Butler originally remarked,
I was at a Benni Hanna with Christian. And I guess you have the raw food. And I wasn't thinking. I'd already been on this movie for 4 years, but sometimes we wouldn't talk about it for six months or whatever. So when we sat down he was like, 'Let's talk about Big Nick. Let's talk about who he is.' I was holding my glass, and he was like, 'You see the way you are holding your glass? That's how Big Nick holds his glass.' And I am eating this food, and I am shoving it down, and I was like, 'I don't know what this is. It's interesting. It's kind of soft and mushy. It must be some kind of fish.' I've eaten about four big pieces of it, and he goes, 'What the fuck are you doing!? That's raw chicken.' I'd eaten all of this raw chicken as he was describing how veracious and animal like Big Nick. He was like, 'That's so fucking Big Nick! It's perfect.'
Rather than eating raw chicken every morning to get into the character of Big Nick, Gerard Butler explained that having a goatee and wearing certain clothes was all he needed to turn him into the necessary "animal." Butler continued,
Having the goatee, putting these clothes on, even putting this cap on, you turn into an animal. You feel like a total animal. You transform into another kind of being. You eventually blend into the character and you're not thinking about it. You just are that guy. You have that weight. You have that temper. You have that control. You have that gravitas. You're heavier on the ground. You're more efficient with your movement. There are a million different things that you don't even notice, but you don't have to think about. It's a great place to be. And Big Nick really affords you that opportunity to climb into another skin.
You can get a sense of Gerard Butler as Big Nick in Den Of Thieves by watching its trailer below.
Den Of Thieves will be released on January 19. Get popcorn when you go, and pass on the raw chicken.