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Gerard Butler in full “Machine Gun Preacher” trailer – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell “Machine Gun Preacher” is the oddly titled film inspired by the true efforts of Sam Childers, a one-time drug dealer who changes his ways and begins assisting kidnapped and orphaned children in East Africa.

Gerard Butler plays Childers in Marc Forster’s film, which will hold its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, where Relativity Media will send out its feelers to test the drama’s awards potential. The redemptive story of a criminal turned freedom fighter upgraded to Gala status earlier this week, and will be on of the fest’s anticipated screenings next month.

“Preacher” has a few things in its favor, from an awards perspective. If you can overlook “Quantum of Solace,” you’ll see that Forster has directed actors to Oscar wins (Halle Berry) and nominations (Johnny Depp). He easily could do the same for Butler, an actor whose full potential has yet to be tapped on screen. The real-life material also boosts the film’s chances of catching on with awards voters, if “Preacher” captures Childers’ humanity.

The second half of the new “Preacher” trailer has that meat. It justifies the film’s action by giving Butler motivation. We’ll continue to track “Machine Gun Preacher” as we head toward TIFF this year, but here’s your first look at a full trailer.

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