Bromancing Gerard Butler...
There have been many great showbiz bromances. Paul Newman and Robert Redford, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd and Jason Segel in I Love You, Man. But few have ever held their first official man-date in the presence of the President and First Lady of the United States.
Gerard Butler and I bonded during the course of two recent CNN interviews. ( The similarities are uncanny — we’re both Irish Catholics, and have both made three movies in the past year.)
American custom dictates that all TV news anchors take a VIP guest to the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Last year, I escorted the delightful Goldie Hawn. This year, I opted for a man currently starring in a smash- hit movie — Olympus Has Fallen — as a Secret Service agent who saves the White House from North Korean terrorists. ‘Now THAT’S good timing,’ I commended him.
We strode onto the red carpet with supreme confidence, until the moment we actually had to pose. ‘Okay, this is a bit awkward,’ I admitted.
‘Right,’ he whispered, taking admirable charge of the situation. ‘Firm arms on shoulders — NOW.’
Our interviews as a ‘couple’ were even trickier to navigate. ‘So when did you two first meet?’ asked the lady from CBS. ‘Right — enough of this!’ laughed Gerard, and we sped into the dinner, passing Jon Bon Jovi on the way. A man who I can now confirm has the hardest handshake known to humanity.
The dinner was fun, and the speeches from President Obama and US chat-show star Conan O’Brien both hilarious. Although it was slightly surreal sitting 20 yards away from the leader of the free world as he erupted into laughter when Conan quipped, ‘CNN replaced the popular Larry King with one of the scheming footmen from Downton Abbey.’
And slightly annoying to experience the sheer volume of attractive women stampeding past, across and over me to get to my charming date. ‘Never complain about your movie-star life
‘Don’t I get a kiss goodbye? Not even a coffee back at your place?’
laughed Gerard Butler
again,’ I warned. After dinner, we moved on to the French Embassy for a star-studded party hosted by Vanity Fair and the New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
In the car, I requested a favour. ‘My son Stanley’s starring in his school play this week. A quick pep talk from you might make up for the fact I can’t make it.’ ‘Of course!’ We called his mobile. ‘Hi, Dad.’
‘Hi, Stan. I’ve got someone who’d like a quick word…’ ‘Stanley, this is Gerry Butler — how are you?’ For the next 10 minutes, they discussed the play and the craft of acting. And I clocked up an early nomination for Dad of the Year.
The party was great fun. Around midnight, I found Gerard smoking outside on the terrace, and sporting a bemused frown. ‘Barbra Streisand just told me you went on bended knee at a private dinner party in Malibu, and sang her the theme tune to The Way We Were. Can any part of that possibly be true?’ ‘Yes,’ I confirmed.
‘She said your singing was terrible, but she loved your passion! Singing to Streisand — wow, that’s gutsy, man. GUTSY!’
Back inside, I bumped ( literally) into Katy Perry. ‘When are you doing my show?’ I asked. ‘We’ll see.’
‘Come on, you know you want to…’ ‘Oh, I do, I do,’ she giggled. ‘But I’m not ready yet.’ ‘Why not?’ ‘Because you’ll get the truth out of me.’ ‘And that’s a bad thing?’
‘No, I’m just not ready to tell you the truth! In fact, I’m not sure I’m ready to admit the truth to myself…’
‘Beyoncé gave me half a day…’ ‘You think THAT’S going to make me do it?’ ‘Definitely.’ ‘You Brits are all the same,’ she smiled. ‘So damn confident… Trouble is, I find that