By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist July 25, 2011 at 2:04AM
Is that what an Oscar nominated role played by Gerard Butler looks like? For the filmmakers involved, they certainly hope so.
Relativity has dropped the first official still from Marc Forster's "Machine Gun Preacher" a film that the director personally asked Lionsgate to let go so another studio could give it the awards season push he thinks it deserves. Based on a true story, the film is a biopic of Sam Childers, a former drug-dealing Hell’s Angel who found God, set up an orphanage in Sudan in the 1990s, and then formed a militia to prevent the children from being turned into child soldiers. Butler plays the lead role of Childers, with a decent cast including Michelle Monaghan, Michael Shannon, Kathy Baker and Souleymane Sy Savane in support.
"Those other roles were based on historic characters who became the stuff of legend, but Sam is a guy of our times," Butler told USA Today about his previous swords and sandals efforts. "There is more complexity in a modern-day character who's a drug addict and a biker turned businessman, missionary and soldier. You don't get roles like this very often."
So, will the picture be a player in the Kodak Theater? We're willing to be surprised. Relativity are certainly getting it out of the gate early to let word build up with a September 23rd limited release already slated for New York and Los Angeles. We presume this means a bow at Venice or TIFF is in the works as well. It's certainly some gripping true life stuff, but can the director of "Monster's Ball" and "Finding Neverland" and the star of "300" and uh, "The Bounty Hunter" bring the goods? We'd wager a trailer will likely hit soon and we'll see if this one is a contender.