gerard butlerMost people's first reaction to the news about Gerard Butler doing a stint at the Betty Ford Center was probably something like, "Whatever, another celeb in rehab, yawn." But Butler's story isn't the typical excess-driven Hollywood substance abuse saga: The actor's reported dependence on prescription pain meds was triggered by the physical demands of his role in 300, exacerbated by injuries sustained while filming the surfing movie Of Men and Mavericks.

Considering how many other actors (everyone from Brad Pitt and Russell Crowe to Halle Berry and Orlando Bloom, to name a few) have put themselves through similarly punishing regimes for films, Butler's situation begs the question: Is Hollywood making unrealistic physical demands of its stars?

For actors like Butler, on-the-job injuries aren't exactly on the level of paper cuts or even eye strain. This is how he described the state of his body post-300:

Afterwards I had tendinitis in almost every part of my body. I had a bad injury in my forearm, which still comes up if I go to the gym. I had a rotator cuff injury and I pulled my hip flexer. Then there was a lot of whacks. Whenever you're doing a lot of sword fighting you're always getting whacked in the head or punched.

Um ... ouch! Pass the pain meds, please. Then there was the Of Men and Mavericks incident: Butler was hospitalized while filming the movie about big-wave surfing legend Jay Moriarity in Northern California for an accident almost identical to the one that killed a pro surfer in the same spot earlier that year. (He wiped out and was held underwater for two waves before being hit in the head by four to five more.)

Pretty scary stuff. The substance abuse makes more and more sense (his addiction to painkillers allegedly led to problems with cocaine and alcohol abuse).

They still have stunt people in Hollywood, right? I don't get why actors are suddenly doing all this daredevil-ish stuff. Are studios/producers/directors demanding as much, or is it a question of personal pride and/or level of dedication?

Either way, sounds like Gerard Butler is lucky to be alive -- in rehab or not.

Do you think Hollywood expects actors to take too many physical risks?

 

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