Gerard Butler is reflecting on how filming Greenland has helped him deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. In the new thriller, humanity is under serious threat - and the 51-year-old Scot plays John Garrity, a dad desperate to save his family.
"I think when you work a lot in disaster movies, actually, in some weird way, it does prepare you for disasters - whether that's in your own life or on a larger scale like you're seeing right now," suggests the charming actor, who's also known for action hero roles in 300 and the Olympus Has Fallen franchise.
Meanwhile, Brazilian-American star Morena Baccarin - who plays John's estranged wife Allison Garrity - recalls she "had a very weird experience when the pandemic first hit".
The 41-year-old, who's married to The O.C. actor Ben McKenzie, says: "I was in a car with my kids and my husband and we had packed our bags and we had rented a house in the country, just so we could get away from the city and the kids could run around and be free, and I just had this moment of like, 'Oh my god, this feels like Greenland!'"
The action-packed film is certainly a thrilling - and, at times, very emotional - watch. In fact, the tension never really lets off throughout.
As a planet-killing comet races to Earth, estranged couple John and Allison, and their young son Nathan (Roger Dale Floyd), are among the very few to be selected for air transport to a top-secret safe haven - but things don't quite go to plan.
As the Garrity family battle to survive, they experience the best and worst in humanity - and Butler thinks one of the reasons we love watching dramatic films like Greenland is because they resonate. "We love to be entertained, to find some new way to be scared, to be on the edge of our seat, but to relate to the characters," he notes, during our chat over Zoom, back in September 2020.
He always tries to bring "a humanity and relatability" to his characters, he adds, "so that people could actually imagine, 'Well, he might be a secret service agent, but I see his issues' or 'I relate to that guy, he's still just a regular guy'."
"So, that's part of it. But we love to be scared, and we love to win in the end. We love to walk out of the cinema and go 'Ah, I'm ok! There wasn't really a comet hitting our planet'."
Baccarin agrees that people revel in the escapism of a feature like Greenland.
"I think they like the spectacle, they like the thrill, the ride, but also, ultimately, knowing that they are watching it safe," she follows.
"But I also think we have the added emotional connection, which you don't get very often in films like this. You have a journey of a family that's very identifiable, and it's very grounding."
When she read the script, what was it about Allison that jumped out to her as a character? "She's very strong, and very active. It's very rare when you read a film like this where it's not just the male hero being all strong and masculine and rescuing everybody.
"She goes on an extreme journey, and I felt it was very authentic and strong and it just felt like a really fun character."
Moving on to the topic of diversity on screen and Baccarin, who was born in Rio De Janeiro, notes: "I feel like we are definitely having these conversations finally and everybody is making an effort, and everybody is aware, which is certainly the first step. I think we have a way to go.
"I definitely have felt the difference. I think Latin American women, or just Latin women in general, it was a quicker sort of transformation, or access, into Hollywood, because I think it became suddenly very hip to be Latin, or to be exotic, at some point in the last five years, or more. But I feel like now we are finally having the inclusion conversation."
Meanwhile, when it comes to Butler's career, he told PEOPLE, back in October 2017, that he has "no personal life", having had such a hectic work schedule in the past.
A quick look on his IMDb page and it seems like things haven't changed on that front; he has seven upcoming films announced.
However, he explains he's making just two of those over the next five months and elaborates: "In actual fact, the last couple of years haven't been so bad. I haven't been making as many movies as I normally do, and I was enjoying that space."
"But the pandemic truly gave me space," he continues, "and that's a little strange at first when you're used to being busier and knowing you have a film coming up, and suddenly you don't, and knowing that you have to stay in the house when normally you can go and do what you want.
"But, yeah, it definitely allowed new perspectives… You have to face other realities and learn to deal with yourself a lot more."
Greenland is available to stream now on Amazon Prime Video