Gerard Butler: 'Chasing Mavericks' is 'surprisingly emotional'

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PHOENIX -- Located in just north of Half Moon Bay in Northern California, Mavericks is a destination for big-wave surfers.

The conditions are hazardous at best, but for some thrill-seekers the risk is well worth it.

Jay Moriarty is one of those thrill seekers, determined to take on some of the biggest waves in the world. To do it, he needed the help of Frosty Hesson, a legend in his own right.

Their story is the basis for a new movie called "Chasing Mavericks."

Gerard Butler ("300," "How to Train Your Dragon," "RocknRolla") plays Hesson.

The Scottish actor gave Kaley O'Kelley the lowdown on the filming that nearly killed him.

"I made it out in the Mavericks. I convinced everybody to let me go out there," he said in his Scottish burr. "We thought it was doable, and I actually surfed a couple of waves there -- big, ya know like 20-footers. On the second week when I was in there, I got slammed down by a huge set of waves in the worst position. They held me down for a long time. ... Finally they got me out.
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"When you see the movie and you see the size of the waves, you start to get an understanding of it" he continued with a chuckle. "These aren't normal waves. They're very treacherous."

It wasn't just the surfing the drew Butler. It was the story, as well.

"You delve into it and you think, if you can even one-tenth of the way this movie describes surfing, big-wave riding and what those waves are, then it's going to be awesome," he said. "But what really got me is the humanity of the story -- how inspiring it was, how moving it was. It's all about facing your fears, having that dream, marching to the beat of your own drum. ... It's a surprisingly emotional movie."

"Chasing Mavericks" is rated PG. It opens Friday.