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 Gerard Butler on his six-hour 300 workout, breaking his neck and near-death stunts

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PostSubject: Gerard Butler on his six-hour 300 workout, breaking his neck and near-death stunts   Fri Nov 25, 2016 5:19 am

http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/gerard-butler-300-workout


Gerard Butler on his six-hour 300 workout, breaking his neck and near-death stunts

In our exclusive interview, Gerard Butler talks to GQ about breaking his neck on set, six-hour work-outs for 300, beefing up for his next role and the time Pierce Brosnan nearly killed him

Wednesday 23 November 2016

GQ welcomed Hollywood super-star Gerard Butler into our boardroom for a frank and funny Facebook Live. Here is our pick of the best bits.
Watch the full interview with Gerard Butler

On his current work-out regime…
“Right now I’m training five times a week. It’s always a little harder when you’re on the road, unless you’re there for a while. I do a lot of cardio but I’m starting to lift heavy because in my next movie I’m supposed to be beefy, a big undercover cop in LA covered in tattoos – so it’s not big and cut, it’s just big! That’s a pain, it hurts.”

On 300 being the most macho cast ever assembled…
"I was surrounded by hundreds of stuntmen, who were amazing. Stuntmen are my favourite people on a film set, but I had this thing that really helped me get through, which was this thought in my head that, ‘If I can train in such a way that they’re actually going, “He is a badass…” – because I know stuntmen and they like actors but mostly they see them as wet blankets. [I wanted] to train in a way so they would actually take their hats off to me, and in a way so that you would believe that they would actually follow you. I was [working out] six hours a day: two hours with them, two hours doing the 300 work-out, two hours with my own bodybuilder… pumping 25 times before each take. But I was also surrounded by a lot of guys putting in a lot of effort. It was great having that unity of purpose both as an army and in terms of what we were trying to make in this movie and in terms of fitness, training and that warrior spirit. It was a very powerful place to be."

…And the most violent
“There was a time [on 300] when three nights in a row people were taken to hospital during the fights. One time I was supposed to turn and hit a guy with my sword and I turned to whack him and he was gone, and then I looked down and he was lying there going [grabs arm], 'Arrgghh,' and he’s broken his arm. And the night before a guy got a spear in his eye. He almost lost his eye; he had to get stitches. It was insane.”

On breaking his neck, literally, while filming
“Whenever I finish a movie I’m always beaten up afterwards, so I went to the doctor with a throat thing which, actually, was something to do with singing; and he looked down there and said, ‘You have something sticking out into your throat.’ At first he thought it might be a tumor and I went for some tests and they said, ‘You’ve broken a bone in your neck.’ And then I went for another test and they said you’ve actually broken two bones in your neck.’ They’d snapped and they still, to this day, stick out into my throat. That was when I was doing Olympus Has Fallen.”

On the time Pierce Brosnan nearly killed him, literally, while filming…
“I was in a car crash in another movie that really screwed my neck up. It wasn’t supposed to be [part of the movie]. Pierce Brosnan drove me right into a wall four stories up – it wasn’t really his fault. There was a cable that was supposed to hold the car, and he was supposed to apply the brakes and this cable was supposed to hold us. I got in the car and in the movie he’s like, losing his mind and it’s the one part in the movie where I have the upper hand on him, so the director says, ‘Get in and wind him up.’ But I get in and he’s already wound up, but I wind him up anyway. And they say, 'Action!' and he has to put his foot… and we’re only, maybe, 35 yards from the edge of the roof, we’re four stories up, there’s a wall perhaps three feet high and we’re going straight towards it with a cord holding us, this big cable. I think he was so crazy, I don’t think he applied the brakes in time and the cable didn’t hold us, so we smashed into the wall, on the edge of this building and the car goes up and then the cable pulls us back so we got double the whiplash. And then he continued to play the scene... When we cut, I crawled out of the car, I fell on to the ground and I have to say, the rest of that movie was a struggle."

On that time he nearly drowned, literally, while filming
“I surfed Mavericks [in California], which has one of the biggest waves in the world, and I’m not a surfer but I went out there and surfed it three times. But the next week I ended up going down and getting taken down by some waves and I almost drowned. I spent the night in hospital and the next day they had to give me the defibrillator to put my heart back in the right… It was intense.”

On filming in the most extreme locations
“I had to spend about eight hours in the Icelandic Sea. And this is November. It wasn’t good. There were technical difficulties with the camera, which there always are when you’re filming in these extreme locations, but you just have to sit there. But it took so long to get me in and tie me down to the bottom because I kept floating up – I had to be tethered to the bottom of the ocean and keep my head up like this [tilts chin], and I’m supposed to come up through the water but I kept floating up… So to get out was such a pain in the arse and you kept thinking they’re about to fix it and it just didn’t really happen. I remember saying, 'Guys, I’m leaking, I’m soaking and freezing,' and everybody was so exhausted, and I could tell they were like, 'This guy’s a pain in the arse, he's being such a prima donna,' and then finally I get out, I take my suit off and we turn it upside down and turn probably two buckets of water out of it. So that’s been all just sitting there. And [the costume designer] looked at me and she just started crying. It was hilarious. I don’t know if it was hilarious at the time..."

On meditating…
“I do it to try to cut down on my ADD. I’ll have my moments where I’ll mediate twice a day for months and then I’ll let it go. But when I do, one of my favourites is visualization – certain things I visualize are very powerful. [There are] certain breathing techniques, as well, that when I do them it’s amazing how invigorating it is. You’ve got to put the effort in but when you do it the pay-off is huge.”

On what’s next...
A script that I’ve been working on a long time is Robert Burns. It’s a difficult movie to pull off but we’re waiting for a fresh draft of the script and I’m excited by the prospect, It’s already getting to the stage where people would go, 'What age is Burns – what age are you?' But Mel Gibson pulled it off."
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