First Look at Gerard Butler in Machine Gun Preacher

Relativity has released our first look at Gerard Butler in Marc Foster’s next, “Machine Gun Preacher”.

Machine Gun Preacher is based on the true story of Sam Childers, a former drug-dealing criminal who finds faith leading him on a path to East Africa. Shocked by the mayhem in Sudan, Childers becomes a crusader for hundreds of refugee children. Inspired to create a safe haven for the multitudes fleeing enslavement by the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army, he restores peace to their lives and eventually his own.

“Sam is a guy of our times,” Butler says of the Pennsylvania-based crusader who founded an orphanage in Africa as a haven for the abused would-be recruits of the Lord’s Resistance Army. “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.”

Director Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball) was eager to present an imperfect hero on-screen. And he felt Butler was the perfect choice. “He’s one of those movie stars today that I feel is a real man. There are very few around. He has this incredible rawness.”

As effective as Childers is as a savior, his use of violent means has made him controversial, and Butler says that can make him seem like a self-appointed vigilante.

Michelle Monaghan, Kathy Baker, and Michael Shannon also star in the film. It hits theaters in limited release September 23, 2011.