Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler Interview, The Ugly Truth

Posted by: Sheila Roberts

The battle of the sexes heats up in The Ugly Truth, a smart, sexy comedy directed by Robert Luketic about men, women and the giant abyss that stands between the ways we each think about, fantasize about and try to seduce the other.

Abby Richter (Katherine Heigl) is a romantically challenged morning show producer whose search for Mr. Perfect has left her hopelessly single. She's in for a rude awakening when her bosses team her with Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler), a hardcore TV personality who promises to spill the ugly truth on what makes men and women tick.

MoviesOnline sat down recently with Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl to talk about their new movie. Here’s what they had to tell us:

Q: Gerard, the women have loved you for so long, even in the big male action films, like 300. Do you think you’re pushing your luck this time?

Gerard: No, I don’t think I’m pushing my luck. Although that is something that I like to do, I don’t think I’m pushing it too far. There’s definitely a lot of me in the character, but I think it’s more about me just being boisterous and fun. I don’t expound those ideals, but I do think that there’s a lot of those values going on in both men and women, if we’re honest and frank about how we look at each other.
Q: What do you think keeps it appealing without going over that edge?

Gerard: What’s cool in both of our characters is that, at the end of the day, we’re human. We’re real and we both have our vulnerabilities. So, there’s a lot of that going on under Mike’s armor, which is great. What’s so great about this movie is that it’s so ridiculous and shocking and surprising, the ways that I talk about sex, but at the end of the day, women get it and men get it too.
Q: Katherine, did you dance that well before this movie, or did you have to practice for that scene?

Katherine: I think that looked so awesome because of the way they shot it. It was all just upper shots. They didn’t do any wide shots of us spinning around.

Gerard: I took a few lessons because I had no idea what I was doing. I actually had a lesson from Julianne Hough from Dancing with the Stars, and that took me a long way. But, Katherine was just on it, straight away, and that’s why it came alive. To be honest, if I was dancing with somebody who wasn’t that great, it would have been a disaster. Katie was on it, and I wasn’t. I had months to prepare and I still forgot my lines. But, then again, I had a lot to say. In my defense, I never fucking shut up, in this movie.

Katherine: What was so awesome was that he nailed every joke. It came off effortless, which is just awesome. It was super fun to watch.
Q: How tough was it to get through some of this dialogue with each other?

Katherine: For me, I talk like that all the time, anyway. I try to actually rein that in, most of the time. That was just very freeing for me. I could just be me. But, I love raunchy humor. I just do. I don’t know why. I should probably get a little more sophisticated, but I just think it’s hilarious, and it’s what makes me laugh the hardest and the most. I’m just not terribly precious about that sort of stuff, unless you’re going really far. But, even then, it’s still funny. 
Q: Gerard, what made you want to play this character?

Gerard: I was in heaven. One of the main reasons I ended up doing this movie was that I was doing another movie -- an action movie -- where I play very dark and brooding. At night, I would go to dinner with the guys from Lakeshore, and I would tell dirty jokes and be vulgar, and they kept going, “The Ugly Truth.” I had never read the script and, finally, I read it and I went, “Okay, I get it.” The weird thing was that it took me a couple days to find my rhythm. The first day, playing the American accent and that kind of character, I was really nervous. I kept forgetting my lines. That wasn’t the only day I kept forgetting my lines. Every time I turned to Katie and had to play with her hair, I was so nervous. Once, I grabbed her breast. In the middle of the take, I said, “Did I just touch your breast?”

Katherine: He just went to put his hand down and it was one of those accidental brushes.

Gerard: It was a Mike Chadway move. I must have been pretty method. Every time I went to grab her hair, I forgot and it was ‘cause I was really pretty nervous about it. She’s such a charismatic woman.
Q: Katherine, with Izzy being so well known on Grey’s Anatomy, do you look for characters that are totally unlike her, or do you see Abby as a cousin or a sexier, R-rated version?

Katherine: For Izzy, absolutely, I definitely want to go out and explore different personalities and different people. But, at the end of the day, I feel like, on television, it’s really hard to divorce me completely from the role. It’s nine months a year, it’s every day, sometimes it’s 80-hour weeks. The way I walk, talk and gesture is going to slip in there. I can’t completely remove that. And, I thought I maybe could for film, but I don’t think I can. I’m always going to show up in these roles. Something of me is always going to surface. They’re not Izzy, but I like the distant cousin analogy. I think it’s always going to be a little like that. That’s why I colored my hair. That will fool everybody.
Q: What do you think this movie says about the battle of the sexes?

Katherine: I would hope that it’s an exaggeration of where men and women are at. I can’t speak for men because I haven’t really been around a lot of men who act like Mike Chadway. I’ve been around a lot of men who joke like Mike Chadway, but don’t actually believe that and, if they do, then they’re very good actors. I know, for me, Abby is only a small exaggeration of women now, or at least me and my friends. I went the whole make a list route. I’m a little OCD. I’m very particular about how I like things and how I want things. I get that, deeply. I don’t know. Maybe it is talking about the differences, but I think the most important part of the movie was talking about how, in spite of those difference you compromise. You don’t have to necessarily completely change who you are to be with someone that you want to be with, but you do have to compromise a little bit. You have to let go a little bit of yourself. There is just that fine line between desperate and honest.

Gerard: I think Katie is deeply flawed in her misunderstanding of the truth of what goes on in a lot of men’s minds. Either that or she knows a way more sophisticated breed of male than I am, which wouldn’t be difficult. We never know, as guys, what the hell women talk about when they go to the restroom. They always go to the restroom together. And, likewise, women never really know how guys really think, and I think this is the first movie that really brings it up and strikes at the heart of it. I know I’m going out on a limb here and ending my career, but it is almost impossible for a guy not to say, “You know what? There are times when I just turn around and look at an ass.” We do that. We’re much more complicated than that, as well. What’s beautiful and where the redemption is in the movie is that, at the end of the day, through our games and our weaknesses and our flaws, we’re after the same thing. We all want a partner. We all want companionship. We’re all beautiful and all over the place, and it comes together really well. I think the battle of the sexes is the battle of the audiences, in this movie, because it’s so great. It really expounds both values. When this stuff is thrown out there, it’s so shocking and unexpected, but the guys are like, “Oh, thank God somebody said that,” and the women are like, “You know what? I knew it!” That’s why it’s a huge relief that this stuff is put out there. The way we’ve played with sexual attraction is great. This script was so phenomenal. It wasn’t hard to just climb into this and do it. It was just there.

Katherine: It was super funny on the page, too.
Q: Can you talk about the success of R-rated comedies?

Katherine: I actually have a really strong opinion about this. I’m a 30-year-old woman and, as much as I love that younger audience and I love those kind of movies, and I loved 27 Dresses and had a great time making it, I still feel like I want to tell a real story to people my age and to my generation. We throw “fuck” around a lot, so when you have to censor so much for that PG-13 rating, it starts to get a little cute and it starts to feel a little fantasy. Yes, all romantic comedies have that element of fantasy, but the thing I love most about this movie is that they do end up together. Who knows if they end up happily ever after together, but they do end up together and it doesn’t feel like the fantasy. It felt like real life. It felt like two people, who actually were really sexually attracted to one another, and then, ultimately, emotionally attracted to one another, came together in a world that is a grown up’s world and not the cartoon version. It’s not that I always want to do R-rated movies, or that I feel like they’re the most honest movies out there. There was just something about this and the ability to be crass, and drop the F-bomb on occasion, and the ability to say “cock,” that felt real to me. It felt like the world I actually live in, with my friends and my family. Maybe that sounds bad.
Q: Katherine, you are working with Robert Luketic again for Five Killers. Can you talk about deciding to work with him again so quickly after this?

Katherine: What is tragic is that Gerry looks awesome as an action person. I look like a moron.  That is good because I was supposed to be, in this particular movie. I’m not supposed to be good at it, but even when I wasn’t trying to look dumb, I look dumb. I will never be an action star, that’s for sure.

Gerard: That’s good, because I look like a moron in this movie, so it’s perfect.

Katherine: No, he doesn’t. He’s a genius. 
Q: For both of you, what ugly truth might people not want to know that might actually help them in their dating life?

Gerard: Katie, you answer first.

Katherine: She’s asking you!

Gerard: No, she asked both of us! I hate that, because it’s okay for you. You’re married. Everybody is like, “Alright, Gerry, you’re so like Mike, aren’t you?” I’m like, “No,” and they are all, “Yes, you are. Tell us how you approach all this.” I know, that’s what you’re saying. Don’t pretend with me!

Q: What works? Should women call again, if the man doesn’t call us back?

Katherine: No.

Gerard: No.

Katherine: Would you want a woman to call you, not once, but twice, if you haven’t returned a phone call?

Gerard: Yeah. I’m busy. 

Katherine: Exactly why you should not call him back!

Gerard: This is why I’m single!

Katherine: “I’m so busy! Call me six times and maybe I’ll get back to you.”

Gerard: Listen, this is why it’s called The Ugly Truth. There is an element of truth, in that the second that you think the girl is maybe not quite as keen, there is a little more, “Okay.” Sometimes, when it’s there right in front of you, it’s not as interesting. Is that right?

Katherine: It’s true.

Gerard: Okay, please point out that Katherine nodded when I said that. 

Katherine: It’s true for women too though, isn’t it?  If you have a guy who is relentless and obviously so into it, and a puppy dog at your feet, then it’s not as sexy and interesting as the guy who plays it a little cool. I talk to Josh [Kelley] about this, all the time. The next day, I waited until three o’clock, but I didn’t wait for him to call me. I waited until three and I went, “Screw it, I’m going to call him.” I called and invited him out to a friend’s barbeque. He showed up and we had a great time, and it was on from there. But, he played it really cool. It was at least a couple of months before I was like, “Does this guy like me as much as I like him?” It was very disconcerting, but it was intriguing, and I was so into it! He says now, and I think he’s lying, that he was not trying to play it cool, that that was just how he was. I was like, “Bullshit! You are not like that!” That was an act, but it worked so great. It was so mysterious and intriguing. And, I had to really fight for him to like me as much as I liked him. Again, there is a fine line between honest and desperate. You can be honest with someone about your intentions, and how you feel about them, and you can get the, “Thank you,” and that’s awful. Or, you can be honest and they reciprocate. Sometimes, it’s just about risking it. What I loved about this movie is that Abby is really dorky, but I think that is what Mike really loved about her. She wasn’t the Jell-O twins. She wasn’t a perfect package of sex appeal. She did all the wrong things, but they were charming. That was who she is, and that’s who Mike falls in love with, versus Eric Winter’s character. He just fell in love with the package. 

Gerard: I thought it was interesting, the difference between the ways a guy thinks and a girl thinks, at times. When Katherine said, “I waited till three o’clock to call him back,” I thought she was going to say, “I waited until three o’clock before I got out of bed with him.” 

Katherine: Nice. Oh, God.

Gerard: That’s The Ugly Truth.
Q: So, it took 35 takes before you got the dinner scene right?

Katherine: It didn’t take 35 to get it right. It took 35 set-ups to film the scene, which is a different thing. I got that on take one, thank you very much. 

Q: So, it was a total breeze?

Katherine: Oh, my God, it was a nightmare. And, let me tell you, ladies, these were fake orgasms, but it was really just physically exhausting. It’s so much physical movement, with the legs dancing under the table and all the tensing up of the body and, by the end of the day, I felt like I had done a marathon. I thought I had run 20 miles. Then, I went, “Okay, now I get why it’s called physical comedy,” because it’s so physical and exhausting. No one wants to orgasm 35 times. That kid with the remote probably thought, “This lady is crazy!”

Gerard: He didn’t know there was a connection. He thought, “She’s crazy over there! What is she doing? I’m just going to keep playing with this thing.” 

Katherine: He probably thought, “She screwed up my take!”

Gerard: I go to therapy. I came out the other day and he was sitting there, waiting to go in. I have to say, no matter how well this movie does, that scene is going to go down in the annals of history in comedies because it’s a classic scene. I don’t know many people who don’t love it. It’s one of the most brilliant performances I’ve ever seen. Katherine was so, dare I say, bang on. It was incredible. It was amazing, just perfection.
Q: Katherine, now that you’re married, what are the marriage rules, other than the obvious?

Katherine: I’m not very good at being a wife because I break all the rules. So does Josh, though, so whatever. At the end of the day, Josh is one of my all time favorite people. He’s just such an awesome guy, and it’s not a lot of work. There is always work and compromise, and stupid moments, like, “Really? You can’t put your Coke can in the trash? Really?” That will always exist, but I think the most important thing we’ve learned in the last year and a half, or that I’ve become more aware of and grateful for, is that this person is always on my side. Even when we fight and it’s rough, and we’re tired and pissy with each other, this person is always on my side, and I’m always on his side. That is the one thing I think you cannot mess with. You have to support each other, even when you get pissed. Even with all those under-handed, snarky little comments, and all the resentment that bursts at times, you have to remember that you’re a team. There’s nothing more valuable, in this world, than having that partner, and having that person on your side, because it gets kind of lonely, scary and weird out there. And, I love being able to go home to him. 
Q: What is the key to happiness?

Katherine: Oh, I don’t know. Vodka? Yeah, that works.

Gerard: One of those vibrators Katherine uses in the movie.

Katherine: No, that thing was crap!

Gerard: I find it funny, as actors, when suddenly you play a role and everyone asks, “What is your secret to a relationship? What’s your secret to happiness?” I want to go, “I don’t fucking know. I’m not Dr. Ruth. I have no idea.”
Q: With an R rating, why didn’t you go even further with the content?

Katherine: You’re saying there were no boobies?

Gerard: I don’t think you needed it. I think you had it in the language. If there is one thing that is classy about the movie, it’s that. The ideas and the values are so clever and controversial, unexpected, surprising and hard-hitting. You don’t need to see tits and vag. It’s not necessary.  There’s enough going on. This movie is so hilarious that it works from the guys and girls perspectives. They are all ideas we react to, love and hate. You have a pretty strong reaction to both sides of the coin. The rest would have been gratuitous. 
Q: What’s the challenge of working with Craig Ferguson and maintaining your American accent?

Gerard: I love Craig, but trying to keep my American accent was a nightmare. I was speaking to his producer yesterday because I’m actually going on his show tonight. I’m always on his show, and he plays my best friend in a DreamWorks movie I’m doing now, called How to Train your Dragon. Normally, that would sound way more innocent than it sounds during this press conference. It’s a DreamWorks animated movie for kids. He plays Gobber. I had a great time doing that scene, but it was actually a challenge, trying to keep the accent. There’s nothing worse than being a Scots guy with an American accent. I remember once, years ago, going back to Scotland, after spending a summer here, and I was a law student, at the time. I went back, after being here for a few months, and nobody could understand a word I was saying. I remember being in this bar and speaking to this guy and he went, “You’re a fucking Yankee. What the fuck is that?” That’s very much the Scot’s attitude. I was home recently and I said soccer instead of football. I kid you not, I was flush red for a day after. They will crucify you for that.
Q: Do you listen to music to get into character? Who is on your playlists?

Katherine: Yeah.

Gerard: Yeah, sometimes. I didn’t for this movie. I didn’t think it was necessary. I have done it for movies, especially when it’s an emotional scene, to really put you in the mood, definitely. Techno makes me want to cry. I like hard rock. AC/DC made me want to cry or shoot myself, one of the two. How to lose a major part of the fan base. They’ll be like, “He doesn’t like AC/DC? Well, then I don’t like The Ugly Truth, you fucker.”
Q: Since we already have the details on Katherine’s next movie, Gerard, can you talk about Gamer?

Gerard: It’s an action thriller, set 10 or 15 years in the future. It’s probably based on the idea of a world of Gladiators, where there is a world of gamers. They are now taking on a global dimension. The avatars they play are in more of an organic process. Nanotechnology in the future can control humans within the game. I play a prisoner on death row in a game called Slayers. He’s almost made it through to the end, and he would be the first person ever to do that. It’s kind of three different worlds. There is the world of society, which is like a second life, where people can go into that world where the fantasy is. And then, of course, with the norm for reality television and pay per view, it always has to go a step further. Now we move on to Halo or World of Warcraft, where it’s like, “We don’t even need war anymore, let’s just watch on television, and watch people blow the shit out of each other.” It’s fun for gamers, but at the same time, it’s a bit of a comment on the lowering standards of morality that we have in society with the onslaught of technology and entertainment. It’s awesome. It’s very entertaining. It comes out in September. 

Katherine: Is it depressing though?  This is where society is going? 

Gerard: I don’t think it is depressing. It’s actually a fun and entertaining film. It’s very violent. It won’t be for every woman, but a lot of women I know have seen it and loved it because it’s got a lot of guy juice. It’s got that 300 thing going on, and a lot of women like 300. But, at the same time, it makes 300 look like a picnic, in terms of its violence. But, it’s also, in a way, like an art house action movie because it’s surprisingly brave, in the way it tries to paint the world and doesn’t stop at anything. There are no short cuts here. It’s a beautifully painted, dark world that we’ve gone into. I don’t think that anybody will have ever seen anything like it before.
Q: How is it to be back to work on Grey’s Anatomy?

Katherine: I’m actually really mad at them right now because they worked me on Wednesday for 17 hours, and I thought that was mean. I think we should all boycott Grey’s Anatomy. I think we need to make a point. This can’t continue. Is that even legal? Are they allowed to do that?

Gerard: Don’t say that! It doesn’t work in print, remember? Do you know how many people are going to write this down now, as a serious comment? “Katie Heigl said she thinks we should all boycott Grey’s Anatomy now.”

Katherine: Oh, shit! I was joking! It’s exciting to be back because I’ve missed my friends, and it is really fun to see everybody. It’s such a strange thing. It’s been two months, but it doesn’t feel like any time has passed at all because you’re right back on the same set, with the same wardrobe and the same people. It feels like maybe you haven’t seen each other for the weekend, aside from Ellen Pompeo’s growing belly. The last time I saw her, it was just a tiny bump and now she’s got a basketball, and it’s weird. Other than that, nothing has changed and it’s wonderful, except for the absence of T.R. Knight. That was really actually very strange and really hard, because T.R. provided so much fun, joy and levity for me and everyone else. We had to do a scene about George’s death and Justin Chambers kept saying, “I just keep imagining T.R. on Broadway while we’re mourning the character’s death.” Then we all sort of went, “Yeah, that’s hilarious. No, that’s really sad. He would be laughing really hard now too, and he’s not here to laugh with us.”  So, it’s a little strange, in that regard, but other than that, it’s good to be back with my friends and my family. 

“The Ugly Truth” opens in theaters on July 24th.


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