EXCLUSIVE: Gerard Butler has been set to star in Mavericks, the Curtis Hanson-directed fact-based drama for Walden Media. The film is based on the true story of Santa Cruz surf phenom Jay Moriarity and his quest to ride the treacherous Northern California breaks known as Mavericks, where winter swells create waves the size of five-story buildings. Butler will play Rick “Frosty” Hesson, the mentor who trained Moriarity for over a year and forged a close relationship with the surfer in the process. Though Moriarity survived those impossible waves, he died at 22 in a diving accident. But he remains an inspiration to surfers, who coined the phrase “Live like Jay.”
Hanson, who just directed the HBO financial crisis drama Too Big To Fail, is directing a script by Kario Salem and Brandon Hooper. Hanson is searching for a young actor to play Moriarity. Butler, who recently starred for director Marc Forster in Machine Gun Preacher and the Ralph Fiennes-directed Coriolanus, will hit the surf for Mavericks after he completes Playing The Field. That Gabriele Muccino-directed film is Shampoo set in the world of pee wee soccer, where a philandering former pro soccer player tries to reunite with his family by coaching his son’s team, only to put himself in dangerous scoring position with a gaggle of beautiful soccer moms. Butler is exec producing Mavericks with Alan Siegel, and Hanson, Hooper and Jim Meenaghan are producing. Michael Bostick and Amanda Morgan Palmer are overseeing for Walden. Lakeshore Entertainment is selling foreign on the film, which will begin shooting in October. Butler’s repped by CAA and Alan Siegel Entertainment. UTA reps Hanson.