Gerard Butler, RocknRolla

At Thursday’s presentation for Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla and Joel SIlver’s Dark Castle Films, young girls, moms, and even a woman wearing a blue dress and a tiara over her blue hair went bonkers over Gerard Butler (pictured), who plays a low-life scam artist in RocknRolla. One young lady asked the 300 star for the craziest moment on the set; Butler responded with a story about how Madonna found out the actor was sick and ordered him to drop trou for a shot of B-12 in the bum. “It didn’t work at all,” Butler said, “because I got more sick.” Butler was the life of the panel, simultaneously happy and a bit embarrassed when fans called for him to take off his shirt or dubbed him “the world’s sexiest man.” He flirted back by tossing Hershey’s Kisses into the crowd.

Also on hand for the panel and official trailer viewing (which, for the record, beats any bootleg footage found online; they just finished it this week) were Ritchie, Jeremy Piven, Idris Elba, Ludacris, and producer Joel Silver. Ritchie described the film as “spillover from Lock, Stock and Snatch, and we wanted to give it a contemporary feel, so it was born out of enthusiasm. [I] was trying to reflect the changing cultural environment in the U.K. It’s a look into the underbelly of a subculture.” Later, a fan asked Ritchie, “The critics didn’t seem too kind to the past couple of films, I was just curious if there was pressure to go back to films that were as successful as your first two?” With a sense of humor, Ritchie interrupted the first half of the question with, “Hey, that’s not true, they liked them,” and the second half with, “Yup.”

Piven, who, you’ll recall, went to Comic-Con as Ari Gold inEntourage, was also a crowd pleaser. “This is the first time I’ve beenhere and I’m completely overwhelmed by everyone’s dedication andfocus,” he said. “I’m in honor of all of you and I celebrate each andevery one of you. I have no more chocolate left, but I will be takingmy shirt off.”

A few other Dark Castle projects were also presented by Silver. FIrst was a home video title due sometime next year, The Hills Have Run Red,a movie about making a movie about the most graphic slasher movie of alltime (follow that?) — except the fictional filmmakers become a part of it. Next was acomic-book project that could be adapted for film at some point, called The Ferryman by Marc Andreyko and Jonathan Wayshak, about what happens when you sell your soul to the devil. Then there was Whiteout, a thriller starring Kate Beckinsale due next year about a U.S. Marshall who has to solve Antarctica’s first murder. Also on tap: Orphan, a horror flick starring Peter Sarsgaard and Vera Farmiga; The Factory, starring John Cusack, about a serial killer who has abducted his daughter (due in 2010); and, finally, Ninja Assassin,a classic ninja tale directed by James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) and starring Rain, theKorean King of Pop, who, judging by the cries and screams of the girlsin the auditorium, may well be the Asian version of Justin Timberlake.

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