A lot of actors will go to extreme means to prepare and film for their roles. Tom Hanks lost 50 pounds for “Castaway,” and Robert De Niro gained 60 pounds for “Raging Bull.” Some actors learn to ride horses and even race cars. But on-the-job preparation can’t get much scarier than Gerard Butler’s recent hold down at one of the heaviest big wave surfing spots in the world.
The 42-year old actor from the hit action movie 300 was filming a new movie Of Men and Mavericks when a sneak set of 12 to 16 foot waves caught him off guard.
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According to reports, the Scottish-born actor was held underwater for nearly 40 seconds before being rescued by a jetski water patrolman while filming.
“It was probably the biggest set of the day,” Zack Wormhourdt, a Northern California-based big-wave surfer who was working with Butler, told the San Jose Mercury News.
“It was intense for myself and I’ve been through a lot out there,” added Wormhourdt, who, according to Surfer Magazine, was sitting outside the impact zone with Butler when the set washed through.
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Wormhoudt went on to say that they took a “conservative line” while paddling out to the lineup, and that everything Butler was doing was within reason. But all that went out the window when the huge set caught everyone off guard. “We took like four to five pretty big waves on the head. Basically there’s nothing you can do.”
Of Men And Mavericks is based on the story of big wave legend and waterman Jay Moriarity who surfed Mavericks at age 16 before dying in a free-diving accident in 2001.
The iconic cold-water. big wave spot, has claimed the lives of some of the best surfers in the world. Mark Foo died there in 1994 and big wave surfer Sion Miloski drowned at Maverick’s this past March.
Butler was taken by ambulance to Stanford Medical Center for observation, and then released. His rep said he was fine, that it was just “more scary than anything.”