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Tomb Raider Stud's Bad Luck

Get ready to meet the hottest Scottish export since Ewan! You may not know Gerard Butler's ruggedly handsome face yet, but after all his supporting roles in flicks like Reign of Fire, it looks like 2003 will finally be his big, breakout year. That is, if his thespian vanity doesn't do him in. Butler will star in Michael Crichton's Timeline this November, and he just landed the title role in the big-screen Phantom of the Opera. But he nearly blew his audition to play Angelina Jolie's traitorous lover in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (opening

Sabrina Rojas Weiss

Get ready to meet the hottest Scottish export since Ewan! You may not know Gerard Butler's ruggedly handsome face yet, but after all his supporting roles in flicks like Reign of Fire, it looks like 2003 will finally be his big, breakout year. That is, if his thespian vanity doesn't do him in.

Butler will star in Michael Crichton's Timeline this November, and he just landed the title role in the big-screen Phantom of the Opera. But he nearly blew his audition to play Angelina Jolie's traitorous lover in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (opening July 25).

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"The screen test, in some ways, was a disaster from the start," laughs the 33-year-old ex-lawyer. "I wanted to pump up, because I knew I was going to be wearing a vest... That morning, [my trainer and I] literally spent an hour doing every conceivable press-up imaginable. Then, we get there, and it was the scene where she walks into [my prison cell] and I'm doing pull-ups from the ceiling. But I had no strength left; I could barely put my arms up!"

Butler's primping habits also tripped him up another way. "I took a couple of sun baths, because being dark can make you look like you have a lot more strength," he says. "So [director] Jan [de Bont] walks in and says, 'Hey, you're very dark... Hmmm. Your character has, of course, been in prison for five years, and it's snowing outside.'" Oops!