Gerard Butler: I broke my foot in five places but I'm good in a crisis, I get on with it
Gerard Butler is used to being an action man on and off screen but a recent motorbike accident has left him temporarily out of commission. He talks to Laura Harding about his latest movie, Geostorm, which is in cinemas now
Gerard Butler is worried he has food in his teeth. He stands up to say 'hello' as I walk into the room, regardless of the fact he fractured his foot in five places in a motorcycle accident a few weeks earlier.
When I ask if this is wise, he says: "It's cool. More importantly, do I have fairy cake in my teeth?"
Fairy cake might not be the go-to snack you would imagine for the 47-year-old Hollywood action star who counts blockbusters such as 300, Olympus Has Fallen and RocknRolla among his credits, but there you go.
There are no crumbs nestling between his white molars but there is a rogue brown hair on his shoulder.
When I point it out and remove it, he jokingly scolds someone called Linda, who is presumably lurking somewhere in the shadows. "You were too busy looking for the fairy cake in my teeth."
Considering the recent headlines about the Scottish star have been all about his hospitalisation after the crash, which happened in LA, he is in remarkably fine fettle, perhaps helped by the fact he had a while to recover before news of the accident broke.
"Actually today is the first day I haven't had a hobble," he says.
"The accident was two weeks ago now, it just came out a few days ago but it happened a few weeks ago so I was hobbling for about nine or 10 days."
So is he back up and about? "I don't know about that but the hobbling is less. I was at the airport coming off a flight yesterday and it felt like the whole thing had started again, I was like 's**t!'."
The timing of his crash was not ideal. He was doing re-shoots for two different films and was in the middle of a worldwide press tour for his new one, the disaster action thriller Geostorm.
"I always joke and say that I'm not good in a crisis," he laughs. "I actually am good in a crisis, I've had so many crises in my life that when they happen, like recent history - in the middle of all this craziness I had this motorbike accident - and it was 'Oh well, just get on with it'. "I'm not good with the small issues, it's like 'Don't sweat the small stuff', it's the small stuff that kills me. I'm like 'Why is this not like this'?"
And that brings us to the London hotel room we are sitting in now, where the action man is mercifully still in one piece.
"It's like my character in this movie, he saves the world but his brother says 'Do you mind doing this?'
"He's like 'No, I don't want to do that, why are you asking me that? I'm so sick of this'.
"It's like that and it's just like life, I guess."
Geostorm sees Butler play a remarkably rugged and handsome scientist, Jake Lawson, who jets off into space to fix a complex network of satellites that keep the earth's extreme conditions in check.
It follows in the wake of blockbuster disaster movies over the years such as Twister, The Day After Tomorrow, Into The Storm and 2012, as tidal waves sweep through New York, extreme cold freezes beaches in Brazil and heat melts the snow in Russia.
"I love these kinds of movies, it really makes you think and they are scary, these big concepts, but what I really liked about this one was it's not just a disaster movie. It's a disaster movie but it's also a science fiction film, it's an action movie from start to end, more than all of it, it's almost a family film.
"It's very emotional. I'm a man trying to be a father through all this to his daughter. And there is this Cain and Abel story between these two brothers having to get over their differences and their resentments to work together to combat this problem, and then it's a conspiracy theory movie as well. So much of this movie is trying to find out what just happened, what is happening now and how big is this problem, and then realising when it is big, who did this and how we get to the bottom of it."
The environmental issue is particularly timely, Butler says.
"It's very relevant, and the movie was always created with that idea in mind, it was a cautionary tale. But I think now when you watch it, it's all the more visceral because you're watching this going 'This is supposed to be crazy but we are seeing a lot of this happening right now' but that opening few minutes, this montage of global warming and where it takes us in the not too distant future, is kind of terrifying.
"At the same time it's uplifting because you see that mankind created this incredible technology that saved us and you climb right into that technology and see how it functions to control our environment. That's pretty cool."
So how has the science community reacted to Butler portraying one of their ranks?
"None are as handsome, without a doubt," he jokes.
"Scientists always amaze, there are so many different types of scientists, you know, you like to say they would all be geeky but then I meet scientists who are all up climbing mountains every week or out on their motorbikes and they can be a very hardy bunch.
"I guess it's like anything, you look at lawyers, all different types, I trained as a lawyer, they are not all like me but some of them are way more sporty and way more hardy than I am.
"I did like the kind of scientist that I got to play as Jake because he's still a guy who likes his football, likes his beers but he's also incredibly passionate about science and about being specific and getting it right, and he hates people that don't get that, which makes him kind of annoying as well.
"He can be infuriating, but you know at the end of the day it's for the right reasons. But it's like 'Come on, man'. I was making me crazy, playing him."
Geostorm is out in UK cinemas now