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A Gerard Butler Flop Got Crushed By A Casting Controversy

After 300 it seemed like Gerard Butler was destined to be a star. He had come up acting the traditional way by getting so drunk that he was fired from a legal firm just a week before qualifying to practice law then struggling until he was cast as the title character in Dracula 2000.

After a number of small but increasingly prominent roles in Hollywood like the James Pierce Brosnan Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies the Angelina Jolie film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider The Cradle of Life and Reign of Fire the movie in which Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey fight dragons in the far off future of 2020 the Scottish actor was cast as the Fifth Century BCE Greek King Leonidas. The Zack Snyder film based on a Frank Miller comic dramatized the Battle of Thermopylae and the battle of Spartan soldiers against the invading Persian Empire that struck a chord with audiences if not with critics pointing out its barely veiled xenophobia.

Once THIS IS SPARTA became an early meme and rallying call of frat bros everywhere he was pretty much set. Or so it seemed as he bounced between commercially successful but critically derided romantic comedies and increasingly poorly received action films like Law Abiding Citizen and Machine Gun Preacher. The 2016 action fantasy film Gods of Egypt should have been a lifeline back to the A list for Gerard Butler but instead it absolutely tanked. What happened?For one thing Gods of Egypt is a very strange concept to build a franchise on. The film treats the mythology of ancient Egypt as something like a toybox to remix.

In this world Gods are nine feet tall accomplished by Lord of the Rings style forced perspective or as the filmmakers put it a reverse Hobbit and live among humans. Gerard Butler plays the desert God Set not even trying to alter his Scottish accent. Nikolaj Coster Waldau plays Horus as very similar to his cynical and arrogant Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones. The complex and still little-understood religious practices of ancient Egypt are boiled down to a family squabble and at one point Gerard Butlers Set gathers body parts from other gods to turn himself into a kind of evil divinely powered Voltron and kills his father to let a space-worm devour all existence so he can become immortal. Its strange.

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