Belfast Telegraph

Butler: Dragon film close to home

Gerard Butler has revealed how How To Train Your Dragon 2 reminded him of his own experiences with his absent father.

The Scottish star, who voices Stoick the Vast in the animated movie, admitted the film touched upon a personal aspect of his life because it "addresses separation and abandonment", during the film's press conference in Los Angeles. The sequel introduces Cate Blanchett as Hiccup's long-lost mother and Stoick's wife Valka.

"It's so emotional. And by the way, I've gotta tell you, I didn't see my father for 14 years. I didn't even know he was alive," he said.

Gerard was brought up by his mother Margaret after his parent's marriage broke down, and he didn't see his father Edward until he was 16.

"And then, he turned up, out of the blue," he recalled. "Just before, I went to my mum and said, 'I'm never gonna see my dad again, am I?', and she said, 'No, I don't think so'. And then, I came home one night and my stepfather said, 'Keep your jacket on. You're going to town. Your dad's here'.

The 44-year-old continued: "I had to go into this restaurant and walk around, going from table to table, literally looking at men and going, 'Is that my dad? Is that my dad?' And he finally stood up, and he was the weirdest looking guy in the restaurant.

"So, that part of the movie was quite profound for me. To be honest, not just for me, but it's profound for a lot of people to imagine a parent that you didn't think was there, or the love of your life that you thought was gone, is actually alive and well, and there's a chance to rekindle everything that you thought was lost in your life."

Jay Baruchel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and America Ferrera also star in How To Train Your Dragon 2, which opens in cinemas on July 4.

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