The movie star tells Stephen Colbert that getting the boot actually "took a lot of work."
Long before pursuing his dreams of becoming an actor, Gerard Butler was actually on the path to becoming an attorney.
The movie star stopped by "The Late Show" Wednesday to promote his newest thriller, "Hunter Killer," when Stephen Colbert began pressing him about the extent of his law training and what caused the change of heart.
"I studied law for five years, and then I trained as a lawyer for two years," Butler said, explaining that he worked at one of the biggest law firms in his homeland of Scotland. But landing that gig was not much of a priority for him at the time; he told Colbert the night before his interview with the firm, he went out to celebrate having completed his final exam and got super wasted.
"They were the last big firm to interview [me], and I missed my interview because of my last exam -- I got completely drunk," he said. "I went and got pissed, missed this big interview and thought, 'I'll just tell my mom that I went in and didn't get it.' So I called [the firm] and said, 'I'm so sorry I missed it,' and they said, 'No, you can still make it! Get on a train.'"
"So I have to get on a train, and I go there and I'm so hungover, and I ended up getting the job!" he continued. "Like three of us got the job out of like 175 people or something."
"But wait," Colbert interrupted. "Before you go on any further, I need to stop you right here. If you train for seven years for something, why then are you not trying to get a job in the thing that you trained for? At what point in the seven years did it occur to you, 'I don't wanna do this,' and why did you keep going?"
"Listen, in truth, that's actually a great question because you study law, and you spend a lot of years doing that, and you think, 'Well, I should do the next thing. I should do my diploma because I did my degree. And if I've done my degree, I should do the traineeship just so I qualify,'" Butler explained. "And then you find yourself suddenly working at a law firm, and you follow that through and you think, 'Okay, I can see myself now in retirement age, having done something that -- in truth -- I don't care about. I have no interest in this.' And that's kind of where it all started going wrong, so when I was training as a lawyer, I wasn't doing a very good job."
Butler said he was "a bit of a high flyer" when it came to his studies, but when he began working, "the reality set in that this was not for me." So he did everything in his power to get himself fired -- and it worked!
"I ended up becoming -- I'm very proud of this -- the first trainee lawyer ever in the history of the Scottish legal system to be fired before he qualified," Butler bragged. But he said getting the boot actually "took a lot of work," telling Colbert he missed 32 days of work in two years.
"I think 25 of them were Fridays and five of them were Mondays," he said.
"Finally, they called me in and they said, 'Gerry, give us one good reason that we shouldn't fire you.' And I said, 'I can't think of any reason that you shouldn't fire me. I would fire me, too,'" Butler said, adding that his bosses knew his dreams lied "elsewhere" and told him to "go be a movie star."