Gerard Butler Says He Almost Killed Hilary Swank

Gerard Butler says he almost severely injured P.S. I Love You co-star Hilary Swank when a "crocodile clip" hit her in the face.

By Lyndon Nicholas | Published

gerard butler hilary swank

Although many people think successful action movie star Gerard Butler is dangerously attractive, those on the set of P.S. I Love You might find him dangerous for another reason. According to a recent interview with Drew Barrymore on The Drew Barrymore Show, Butler details an incident on set that had crewmembers’ hearts pounding for all of the wrong reasons, saying that”She’s so cool, and good to work with, that I almost killed her.” It eventually led to his co-star Hilary Swank ending up in a hospital room.

The interview consists of Gerard Butler and host Drew Barrymore talking about some of his most memorable movie moments. The actor recounts happenings from the sets of movies like 300 and Phantom of the Opera, and what it was like to work with actors like Jennifer Aniston and Katherine Heigl. When it becomes time to talk about P.S. I Love You, Butler shares a behind-the-scenes experience that many viewers were not privy to.

Although the set of P.S. I Love You didn’t call for many action scenes like Gerard Butler’s role in 300, it did involve one dangerous item readers might not expect. Butler explains how the crocodile clip of his suspenders became infamous on set:

[T]he camera people had these plastic fronts to protect themselves from this crocodile [clip], it was so dangerous.

One person who wasn’t able to wear a plastic front was scene co-star Hilary Swank. In the scene, Butler performs a dance routine that involved him crawling toward Swank. During the scene, Butler notes that Swank was actually laughing hysterically at his outlandish moves.

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… Because I had to ping it, and it would go past my face. And this time, I’m crawling toward 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.

Despite the incident, there is no bad blood between the two actors. Butler was incredibly remorseful: “And I just started crying. ‘I just scarred Hilary Swank, I almost took her eye out.” The two were able to resume filming after the wound was taken care of.

P.S. I Love You was a 2007 romantic drama that many viewers may be aware of. Based on the 2004 novel of the same name by Cecelia Ahern, Gerard Butler stars alongside Hilary Swank as her recently deceased husband. The film centers on a set of letters that Butler’s character has left behind after suffering a brain tumor, and Swank’s processing of her grief due to the loss of her husband. 

Notably, there aren’t many action-heavy sequences throughout the film, with the focus being more on the psychological trauma and heartbreak of its main characters. Swank navigates feelings of loss, isolation, and eventually guilt as she begins to have feelings for a new romantic partner.

Neither actor is a stranger to dangerous, action-filled roles. Asides from starring in 300, an action film about the famous Battle of Thermopylae, Butler played the lead in the action thriller series Olympus Has Fallen along with its subsequent sequels. He also appeared in the action film Machine Gun Preacher and even alongside Angelina Jolie in the action film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life.

Hilary Swank is an accomplished actor with her fair share of roles in both action and drama films. Her best-known action-related film might be Million Dollar Baby, in which she plays a talented aspiring fighter from a working-class background. She also appeared in the sci-fi action film The Core and the thriller The Resident.

Luckily, both actors have been able to continue making films and enjoy subsequent success. Butler may want to avoid any action sequences involving suspenders moving forward.