Scottish actor Gerard Butler is no doubt best known for his starring roles in the action films “300” and “Law Abiding Citizen.”
But to me, he’ll always occupy a special place in my heart for portraying the title role in Joel Schumacher’s 2004 film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera.” This has long been one of my favorite musicals, and perhaps my absolute favorite love story, and Gerry brought a very unique pathos and a sort of rock-edge to the world-famous, notorious shadowy figure.
Butler has also starred in such films as “Dear Frankie” and “The Bounty Hunter.”
What compels me to write to him is his sheer humanity. A few years ago, at the height of my “Phantom” obsession (which, in case you’re wondering, is still present but with more manageable symptoms), I wrote a letter to Gerry Butler, on fancy stationery (the kind that looks antique but really isn’t!). I even bought red wax, the kind that aristocrats used to seal their letters with. They would heat up a little wax over a fire, and then, with some sort of spoon or contraption, drip the wax over the letter and then stamp their seal into the wax.
I bought a seal. Not kidding. It wasn’t like the one the Phantom used in the film– he had a grotesque skull seal– but mine was a pretty little rose.
Then I signed it– practically verbatim– in true Phantom fashion. I mailed the letter to England, and tried to forget about it.
Many months later, I received a mysterious manila envelope. I opened it. Inside it and carefully placed against a slab of cardboard– was a photo of Gerry Butler in Phantom garb! I recognized it as a still from the movie. The letter was pretty general and straightforward, but thanked me for writing to him, and informed me of his then-upcoming projects.
Still, I was so moved that he had taken the time to send me the photo with such a nice letter. And his compassion for others is not limited only to his fans. Gerry is an ardent supporter of Artists for Peace and Justice, a fundraising effort “that encourages peace and social justice and addresses issues of poverty and enfranchisement in communities around the world.”
Gerry has also pitched in to help the Jenkins-Penn Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO) in its efforts to help rebuild Haiti and relocate Haitians prior to the potentially even more devastating rainy season.
I’m feeling very encouraged and optimistic about contacting Gerry Butler. I’m almost positive he will respond with compassion and enthusiasm for spina bifida awareness.
I better go now. Lots to do before I fly to Denver this Wednesday. I can’t wait!