When Gerard Butler talked to OTRC.com about filming "Chasing Mavericks" and surfing for the film, he spoke openly about the potentially fatal surfing accident he had while shooting the film late last year.
The film is based on the early life of professional surfer Jay Moriarity (played by Jonny Weston) who becomes a prot?g? of Frosty Henson (Butler), a local legendary surfer who teaches Moriarity technique to survive one of American's most dangerous surfing spots, Mavericks in Half Moon Bay, California. The real Moriarity died at age 21 in 2001 during a diving accident in the Indian Ocean.
The 42-year-old 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.
In the film, Butler's character delivers a monologue of a possible worst case scenario Moriarity can face when surfing in Mavericks.
"It was incredible because that was the monologue that was in my head before I went underwater was I can't believe that this is everything that I said to him and that the difference between life and death is the difference between fear and panic," Butler said.
"So I was terrified but I knew if I panicked that I was not -- because I was a long way from coming out and it went on for a while and all I wanted to do was breath, scream, get help, something because I was so deep down," he added. "So yeah, So those words I think really saved me."
Butler also said when he actually spoke to several surfers before he the incident about drowning was like.
"To me it was so fascinating to hear what it is like to almost drown," he said. "When they talk about those moments and to suddenly be there and to have that going on you're like, 'Oh my God.' Because I wouldn't have wished it on my worst enemy."
Butler said that he had a respect for the surfers because "that's their reality every day."
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."
He explained that the surfing aspect was a positive element to singing on for his "Chasing Mavericks role.
"When you find a role that you can 1 -- perform the character but 2 -- you have to find something else that you can really get your teeth into and make that a level of expertise, whether it's fighting, whether it's singing, whether it's surfing," Butler said. "That's why they make movies about these people and that's why movies like this will be interesting [to actors] because it's very much alpha male stuff and you go, 'Okay, I want to do that. I want to be that guy.'"
"Chasing Mavericks" hit theaters on October 26. Check out the trailer below.