Movies

That Time Gerard Butler Sent Hilary Swank To The Hospital Filming P.S. I Love You: ‘I Almost Killed Her’

Romantic comedies: They’re not supposed to be dangerous! This isn’t Tom Cruise driving a motorcycle off of a European cliff so he can transition into a base jump. It’s Sandra Bullock having a meet-cute with Keanu Reeves, or Julia Roberts falling for Hugh Grant at a bookstore in Notting Hill. That’s what makes the list of the Best Romantic Comedies of all time. However, Gerard Butler will tell you a story about the time that he almost killed Hilary Swank while the two of them worked on a rom-com, proving that sometimes, blood has to be spilt in order to earn a loved one’s heart. 

The movie in question is P.S. I Love You, an otherwise forgettable romantic comedy from 2007. Gerard Butler plays a recently deceased man who has left behind a series of letters for his widow (Hilary Swank) to find, helping her through her grief. A very sweet premise. But while appearing on The Drew Barrymore Show to promote his action-thriller Plane, he told a story about a scene that went horribly awry, and sent Swank to the hospital. Butler said:

She’s so cool, and good to work with, that I almost killed her. The scene where I’m dancing and I have – what do you call them? – the suspenders. And I literally shot that scene for a day and a half. I had to dance like an idiot in the suspenders.

I searched online for the clip in question, and found one of Gerard Butler in suspenders, but there was no dancing. It also seemed relatively harmless, which is not how he remembered it. He went on to tell Drew Barrymore:

And then at one point, the clip, which was a crocodile clip, got stuck in the television as I’m crawling towards her. She’s right in front of me, and she’s laughing hysterically. This thing… the camera people had these plastic fronts to protect themselves from this crocodile, it was so dangerous. Because I had to ping it, and it would go past my face. And this time, I’m crawling towards the bed. It gets stuck. It releases, flies over my head, hits her in the head, slashes her head. I cut her open. You could even see the teeth [of the clip]. She has to get taken to the hospital.

Brutal. Totally unintentional! But still brutal. The movie didn’t really suffer from the devastation. We gave P.S. I Love You a decent grade in our official review. And Butler kept making movies, many of which are available to stream right now (though some of them, you might want to avoid). In the moment, however, Gerard Butler thought he was finished. He concluded to Barrymore, making her howl with laughter:

I’m just sitting there in my Irish boxer shorts and my boots and a pair of socks. And I just started crying. ‘I just scarred Hilary Swank, I almost took her eye out. And I just made a fool of myself for two days. And this is all I have to show for it! She’s off to the hospital.’

Making movies is really hard, folks. And occasionally dangerous, even on the ones that you don’t assume would be. Gerard Butler shared scarier stories from his time filming Plane, an action thriller that we’d assume causes bodily harm, at least according to the movie’s trailer. Then there was that time the actor ate raw chicken on a movie set. Never let it be said Butler can’t be Method. But in this case, an accident led to a bloody Hilary Swank, and Butler had a scary story to tell on daytime television. 

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