We got a chance to sit down with Gerard Butler last week, and in-between quizzing the star on appearing in a barmy-sounding 300 sequel, we spoke to him about his new film Law Abiding Citizen.
The movie is rather a change in direction for Butler - with this character undoubtedly his most villainous role so far. He plays Clyde Shelton - an upstanding family man whose wife and daughter are brutally murdered at the beginning of the film. The two killers are caught, but hotshot prosecutor Jamie Foxx gives one of the suspects a ridiculously light sentence in exchange for testifying against the other.
Clyde is understandably upset, and - ten years on - decides to take the law into his own hands. It turns out Clyde is a government 'fixer' and despite being thrown in jail, orchestrates a terrifying series of assassinations and murders as vengence for the failures of the criminal justice system.
Butler was initially going to play the prosecutor, but decided Clyde was such a good character he would switch roles. "If I'm being honest the more that went along whilst we were developing the script, I kept thinking - god I would really love to play that guy, because he scared me more. I've played the hero before and it felt like something I'd be able to challenge myself with. When I wonder if I'm not sure if I can do it, that kick starts me into action."
The actor has embarked on a strange career path since his breakout role in 300, mixing rom-coms (P.S. I Love You and The Ugly Truth) with gritty genre flicks like Gamer and RocknRolla. This new role was something utterly new however.
"It depends on how you look at The Phantom of the Opera - as either a hero or a villain - but none of the characters I've played have anywhere near the scope or the evil genius of this character of how much was going on inside his brain.
"It was intense spending a lot of time in the headspace of a guy who has lost his family and indeed everything in his life - you become cocooned because you have nobody. But at the same time it was fun to do something like this, it was juicy! It was fun working with Jamie Foxx too, you have to rejoice in that."
It seems Butler won't be following the classic path trodden by budding action stars, and is instead anxious to keep on picking diverse projects - even if they are bonkers vigilante thrillers like Law Abiding Citizen.
"I love anything that's different. With this film, you can't tie it down; it has a lot of elements of different genres in there. It's very funny as well, you have a lot of fun with this movie, despite the fact that it scares the bejesus out of you and it fascinates you. There's a certain amount of horror in there as well, way more than the typical thriller. There are loads of times in the film where you jump out of your skin and you have your hands over your eyes, and I love that!".