Gerard Butler has opened up about the potentially fatal surfing accident he recently sustained while filming the movie "Of Men and Mavericks" in Northern California.
"This was maybe one of the few times that the reports were not exaggerated," Butler said on the UK's "The Graham Norton Show," in an episode set to air on Friday. "It was a pretty close call... [The waves] just took me and I couldn't get up. It was pretty hairy."
On the afternoon of December 18, the 42-year-old Scottish "300" actor was held under the waves at the real Maverick's Point, a popular break located near Half Moon Bay, and then rescued by firefighters. He was then taken to a local hospital for observation and released later in the day.
"I was going to go back that day," the actor told Graham Norton. "I was actually in the ambulance and wanted to go back, which was a little crazy, but it's pretty addictive."
Butler admitted that the near-death experience did help him get into character. The movie focuses on Santa Cruz surfer Jay Moriarity, portrayed by real life professional Jonny Weston. Butler plays his mentor, Rick "Frosty Hesson." The real Moriarity died at age 21 in 2001 during a diving accident in the Indian Ocean.
"In the movie, I put in a scene about a 'two wave hold down,' when you are down for so long that the next wave comes over before you get back up, and that's what happened to me," Butler said. "In fact, everything I talked about happening in the movie happened to me."
"Of Men and Mavericks" also stars Abigail Spencer and Elisabeth Shue and is set for release in October 2012.
This is not the first time Butler suffered an accident while filming a movie. He told OnTheRedCarpet.com that he was hit with stray bullet casings while shooting "Machine Gun Preacher," which hit theaters in September.
In August, Butler showed off a slimmer look at the Toronto International Film Festival. He later told People magazine he was "prepping for a surf movie" and was "surfing every day for 'Maverick's.'"
Butler began his on-screen career in the late 1990s after previously working as a lawyer in his native Scotland. His breakout roles came in 2004, when he played the villain in the musical film "The Phantom of the Opera" and in 2006, when he starred in the fantasy action blockbuster "300."
In addition to "Of Men and Mavericks," Butler is also filming the 2013 movie "Thunder Run," which depicts the capture of Baghdad by U.S. forces during the Iraq war and also stars Matthew McConaughey and Sam Worthington.
Butler is also set to star in "Hunter Killer," another war-themed film set to hit theaters next year, and reprise his voice role of Stoick the Vast in "How To Train Your Dragon 2," which is due to be released in 2014.