Gerard Butler has never been one to shy away from putting his body on the line for his films. Plane adds another action thriller to his filmography, and in typical Butler fashion, the actor performed his own stunts. While you might think that the scene that set him ablaze was one of the many in which he and costar Mike Colter face off against an entire army, that’s not the case.
Butler recalled on Late Night with Seth Meyers that the heat and humidity of filming in Puerto Rico was unbearable and a simple take would leave him exhausted and sweating. They shot a scene where his character was trying to figure out what was wrong with the plane before they could flee the island. Eventually, his character deduces that it’s a problem with the plane’s brakes. Butler had to put his hands between the wheels and wet them with green liquid.
“I don’t know what that green liquid is, but we’re also shooting in Puerto Rico and I’m drenched in sweat,” the actor said. I rub my face and suddenly it’s in my throat, it’s in my mouth, it’s in my nose, it’s in my eyes… It turns out this is essentially phosphoric acid, and the airline pilots that there have watched [were like], ‘No!’ They’re trying to put water on my face. “Don’t give me water! It’s going to make it worse.” And I’m just burning alive.”
Butler said the incident left him burning for hours, but the scene in the film turned out great, leading him and Meyers to joke that he will do whatever is necessary for the job. Thankfully, the actor appears to be perfectly fine.