Butler has a ball at premiere

Charity scores at 'Playing for Keeps' preem

Gerard Butler admits that playing a retired soccer star and children’s coach in FilmDistrict’s “Playing for Keeps” was a fantasy come true.

“I never kidded myself that I was that good, but I used to play for four teams in Scotland,” he said at the Nov. 28 benefit screening at the Arc-light Hollywood. “It used to be all I did. It’s so pervasive there.”

Butler, who also essayed an American soccer player in “The Game of Their Lives,” noted his character in “Playing for Keeps” trod the pitch for his beloved Glasgow Celtic and Liverpool clubs.

“Sometimes it’s not easy to find their games out in California,” he said. “But I’ve been here 12 years and I love it. It would be hard to live anywhere else.”

Producer Alan Siegel said the original Robbie Fox script had involved Little League baseball.

“We couldn’t get it set up anywhere, because baseball is only really popular in the United States and Japan,” he said. “So I asked Robbie to change it to soccer.”

The event was a benefit for the Soccer for Hope charity, which helps children with life-threatening illnesses. Prior to the screening, Butler presided over the presentation of a $50,000 check to Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

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