Slipping into an American accent may be second nature now for Scotland-born Gerard Butler, but it "didn't come easy," he told TODAY's Matt Lauer Thursday. The star of the new film "Olympus Has Fallen" puts on that foreign accent for his new role, saying he only was able to master sounding like he was from the U.S. after "about 1,000 dialect sessions."
"There came a point when I realized I have to just walk around speaking like an American, and my friends would be like, 'You sound like an idiot.' I said, 'It doesn't matter.'" But when Butler returns home, it just takes one quick stop at the coffee shop to restore his home-grown Scottish burr (one Lauer called "gorgeous"): "I always go to the Starbucks at the Glasgow airport and say, 'I'll have a cafe latte, please' to kind of click me back into that thick Scottish accent," he grinned.
"Olympus" is no laughing matter, however: It's about how Butler's character and his team try to save the president of the United States after he is taken hostage. "It's very provocative," he said. "We live with this threat of terrorism, what it would look like.... What we really wanted to do was get the substance and meaning and humanize it."
Later, things took on a lighter tone when Butler joined the TODAY anchors for a blindfolded pie tasting session (to time out with "Pi" day on March 14), not that he got to do much talking at all -- everyone kept announcing what the secret pie was before he could guess!
Fortunately, there's always his day job to fall back on.
"Olympus Has Fallen" opens in theaters March 22.