"The butterfly is symbolic of a couple of things in general in the film. The book A Very Private Gentleman, on which The American is based, is set in Abruzzo as it is the home to a lot of different butterflies. The original main character was an eccentric englishman who uses his butterfly paintings as a cover for his professional, serious job. As I changed the character to an american protagonist I felt the eccentricity would become less believable and therefore George looks at the butterfly for its metamorphosis from a caterpillar and uses a hard shaped outlined one as a tattoo on his back."As an Englishman with several tattoos, a collection of butterflies and a deep and abiding disdain for nature watercolorists, I can't say the stereotyping doesn't hurt, but I will rise above it and move on.
Aug 2, 2010
Real men don't paint butterflies
One of a series of photographs, taken by director Anton Corbijn, from the set of The American, starring George Clooney. Says Corbijn,