Heavy Water Presented By Chasing Mavericks: Gerard Butler Interview
Catching Up With The Star Of Chasing Mavericks--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.--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 f--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 surfing--learning how to be on a board, do turns, get up on a wave… 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, "What the f--k have I got myself into?" 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, "Holy shit, I'm surfing Mavericks, I can't believe it!" 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 "dudes" or "f--kheads," 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, "Maybe 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." When they see the waves in this movie, they'll go, "Now I can understand why something like that would happen."
Above: Chasing Mavericks trailer.
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Chasing Mavericks October 26 in theaters everywhere.