Heavy Water Presented By Chasing Mavericks: Gerard Butler Interview
Catching Up With The Star Of Chasing Mavericksâ€”An Upcoming Film Based On The True Story Of Jay Moriarty
Gerard Butler, the Scottish-born actor most famous for his leading role in the movie 300, recently took on the task of playing Frosty Hesson (the legendary big-wave surfer from Northern California), in Hollywood’s forthcoming film titled Chasing Mavericks. In the process, he garnered a newfound respect for the surfing lifestyle. Oh, and he almost died.â€”Zander Morton
TransWorld SURF: How long have you been surfing?
Gerard Butler: I surfed when I was 17-years old for about 15 minutes with my cousins who lived in San Clemente. I was just this kid from Scotland, and I felt so humiliated that I didn’t go back in the water for another 18 years. But when this movie came along, I thought it’d be a perfect opportunity to get into surfing and tell an incredible tale about the surfing world, a surfer’s psyche, and at the same time train with some of the best fâ€”king surfers in the world.
What kind of training did you do to prepare for this role?
To get my stamina up, I did long-distances paddleboarding and then basically just surfingâ€”learning how to be on a board, do turns, get up on a waveâ€¦ really just learning how to look like I knew what I was doing. It was a lot in a short time, and I did say to myself, â€œWhat the fâ€”k have I got myself into?â€ But I operate best like that. If I know my back is up against the wall, then that’s what kicks me into action. Fear is a huge motivator for me. I went up to Santa Cruz and surfed with Frosty, the character I’m playing. I was just getting in the water and learning to deal with different types of conditions and different types of waves. One of the big things I wanted to do was to learn to tow-in. I was secretly hoping I could tow at Mavericks, which is what I ended up doing. We had a couple days where I got towed into a few waves and I was thinking, â€œHoly shit, I’m surfing Mavericks, I can’t believe it!â€ It was maybe the coolest thing I’ve ever done.
That’s quite a quick ascent, from a beginner straight to towing Mavericks.
Oh yeah, and I learned surfing is a thing that consumes people’s lives. When I got into it, I understood why. These guys are the furthest thing away from â€œdudesâ€ or â€œfâ€”kheads,â€ they are so smart and down-to-earth. Maybe my favorite thing about the movie was the surfers I met and spent time with. Surfing is not a well-paid sport, and surfers give up a lot. I’m really glad that I had a chance to get involved. When I saw those surf scenes I thought, â€œMaybe people that aren’t close to the surfing world will understand and not think that I’m a little softy getting taken down by these waves and getting taken to the hospital.â€ When they see the waves in this movie, they’ll go, â€œNow I can understand why something like that would happen.â€