Gerard Butler Talks About Shooting With Jim Wright On Leno

- - Photographers

Last week Gerard Butler was on Leno and Jay picked up the copy of Men’s Journal that Jim Wright shot the cover and feature of him for and asked about the opening image. Gerard launched into a funny description of the shoot:

I’ve worked with Jim in the past so I shot him an email to get a little more background on the shoot. Also, I know Jim recently moved to NYC after many, many years living and working in LA, I also asked him about a strange phenomenon that seems perfectly normal when you live in NYC “flying photographers out to LA all the time.”

To be honest, I wasn’t the first choice for the shoot. Unfortunately, for him, the other photographer blew out his back and couldn’t make the journey to LA. The week before, I had shot the Bruce Willis cover so MJ came back to me and asked if I’d step in.

Gerard Butler’s publicist is an old friend of mine so the trust level was running high for the shoot. Myself and the crew met up with Gerry at a secluded house in Malibu and we went to town. Gerry was up for anything. We’re were aiming for the normal guy approach; trying to show various sides of his personality. Luckily,whatever challenge I threw out there, he literally dove right in. The ocean shots were a blast and a battle at the same time. I asked him, “If I go in; will you go in?” Gerry comes back with, “Follow me!”. We’re were onto something as this was the first shot of the day. Thank god that my one assistant, Sean Costello, stands about 6’6″ because he saved the camera every time. The guy whose camera that didn’t survive was the guy who was hired to shoot the B-roll. I had assistants watching the waves. He didn’t. Hence, no B-roll of the shoot. My two other assistants literally saved me from getting swept away.

We got the shots and headed up the beach and Gerry leans down and sticks his face in the sand and we just kept going until he was completely covered. Then back in the ocean, then to the hot tub. Which was needed because we were both freezing by that point. The hot tub was not a planned shot. But again, I threw it out there and we got some amazing underwater shots. Eyes open in hot water. I couldn’t believe it. At this point, I felt like I had the shoot in the bag and I hadn’t even done the cover image yet or brought out the three bikini models. Plus we hadn’t even broken for lunch yet.

I’d been in LA for about 18 years, working my way from PA to assisting some of the worlds greatest image makers of the last twenty years. Everyone from Herb Ritts to Michel Comte to Peggy Sirota whom I worked with exclusively for almost five years. She was a real mentor to me and gave me the confidence to do my own thing. My career has gone well, knock on wood, for the last 12 years. This past winter I moved to NYC to be with my girlfriend and near family. I switched agents as well to NYC based Bernstein & Andriulli, so most of my work was coming out of or based in NY. But as fate has it, once you move to one coast they want you on the other, so much of my time lately has been spent flying back and forth. Last month a three day trip turned into three weeks as people got word that I was in LA. I don’t mind it, I just wish someone can explain it to me


There Are 10 Comments On This Article.

  1. Holly Ghere

    If there’s an address for Mr. Wright designated to accept “thank you gifts,” please advise. All he has to do is name his vice and we’ll have him showered!

    I’ve been ogling images of Gerard Butler for over 4 years now. I’m not above” using a magnifying glass to separate the fly shit from the pepper” as I appreciate the intricacies of such photographs. After all this time, I thought I’d grown desensitized to having the breath knocked out of me. However, Mr. Wright’s work-product is literally “breathtaking”! I don’t recall the last time a set of photos held the attention of so many for so long! Although the subject matter is spectacular in his own right, the MJ shoot is an extraordinary testament to the art and craft of the photographer.

    Please convey to Mr. Wright our utmost gratitude for “going there”!

  2. I agree….the screaming is annoying. The guy is hot, and charming, but no need to scream like that.

    Am inDK, and the episode airs here, at midnite, so will keep volume low, lmao!

  3. gossiphound

    These photos were vastly superior to the photos hyped at another magazine that also just came out with photos of Mr. Butler and his costar Jennifer Aniston recently.

  4. Great insight on the behind the scenes operating of the shoot! Gerry really is a great sport.

    The photos were spectacular and truly represented the vastness of his personality.

    It was also one of the best interviews I’ve read from him recently, thank you Mr. Wright, for that. It was genuine, honest, gritty, and humorous.

    It really showed Gerry’s great character and where it came from!

    Thank you again!

  5. I was living in the DC area when in 1995 or so I flew to LA to do a few editorial photo shoots. My ex told me that her brother Rob had been living in the LA area for a few yrs now. He decided to get away from the Philadelphia area with one of his best friends who wanted to pursuit photography.

    This best friend was Jim Wright and during that trip I first met him. Back then he was living in a bungalow artist community in Santa Monica while assisting some top shooters and this time he was working mostly for Peggy Sirota.

    Each time I flew to LA I would get excited to see him and talk about our careers. From him I would find out what other tricks he had learned and what other filter combinations was vogue. For someone like me who never had any assistant experience it was a treat and Jim was the guy to ask those questions. EAch time I returned to LA I kept asking him “Jim your work has teeth when will you go on your own” and his answer always came in a calm way, “One of this day I will stop assisting and go shooting full time.”

    Folks Jim is a wonderful guy with not ego and willing to share his knowledge. He is as lay-back as they come.

    Is great to see folks like him doing well in our business.

    BTW something else that Jim is great too, he is an AMAZING song writer!

    I am very proud of Jim Wright and so are the Ginieczkis

    Manuello Paganelli
    Los Angeles CA