Gerard Butler: Near-Death Surfing Accident Was 'Close Call'

01/06/2012 at 10:30 AM EST

Gerard Butler: Near-Death Surfing Accident Was 'Close Call'
Gerard Butler
Sam Sharma/Pacific Coast News
Gerard Butler is battling an addiction – to surfing.

Butler, 42, says he wanted to get right back into the water after his near-death experience when he was pulled underwater and dragged over a reef in Northern California last month while filming the surf movie Of Men and Mavericks.

"I was going to go back that day," the 300 star said on the U.K.'s The Graham Norton Show. "I was actually in the ambulance and wanted to go back, which was a little crazy, but it’s pretty addictive."

Instead, Butler was taken to Stanford Medical Center, where he was evaluated and released.

Speaking about the incident, Butler tells Norton: "This was maybe one of the few times that the reports were not exaggerated. It was a pretty close call. ... [The waves] just took me and I couldn't get up. It was pretty hairy."

But if there's a silver lining to the incident, it's that it helped Butler get into his character, surf enthusiast Rick "Frosty" Hesson.

"In the movie, I put in a scene about a 'two wave hold down,' when you are down for so long that the next wave comes over before you get back up, and that's what happened to me," he said.

"They finally grabbed me just as another huge wave was coming in. It was just like a movie! In fact, everything I talked about happening in the movie happened to me."

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