Gerard Butler rethinks his work after ‘Machine Gun Preacher’ role

While Gerard Butler has played characters based on real people before, “I have never before played someone that not only is still alive, but whose life touched me so deeply, having such a deep emotional impact on me,” the actor said.

“I know it sounds a bit pretentious, but truly, playing Sam Childers has changed my life, and how I think about myself as an actor.”

During a recent Chicago visit, the Scottish native sat down with the Sun-Times to talk about “Machine Gun Preacher” (opening Friday), based on the life of Childers, once a troubled and violent drug addict and criminal who found religion, turned his life around and became an international humanitarian.

The title refers to Childers’ evolution into a gun-toting, self-taught man of God, who often had to do battle in Africa to save the lives of children fleeing the horrors of war.

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