Gerard Butler Thought He Was Going To Have A Heart Attack During Plane's One-Shot Fight Scene [Exclusive]

If you've gone to the movies over the past few months, you've likely seen a trailer for the new action-thriller "Plane." It inadvertently became a joke not because of anything in the preview per se, but because of its simplistic title revelation. But you know what? Having seen it, not only does the movie live up to its namesake, but it's a surprisingly fun throwback that makes great use of Gerard Butler ("Greenland") and Mike Colter ("Luke Cage").

When a flight to Tokyo in the film is forced to make an emergency landing on a remote island in the Philippines after lightning knocks out the control panels, it leaves Captain Brodie Torrance (Butler) and his flight crew to keep the shaken passengers calm until they can figure out a rescue plan. There's just one problem. Their impromptu runway is on Jolo, a remote island in the Philippines that just so happens to be controlled by a notoriously violent anti-government militia.

Because Brodie is the best pilot there is, he feels a responsibility to perform his own rescue mission, going so far as to recruit the help of Louis (Colter), a passenger who was being extradited for murder, to bring everyone back safely.

"Plane" manages to blend the suspense of an airliner disaster flick, with the traditional thrills of a late '90s action flick. Of the film's exciting action sequences, the one that grabbed my attention the most involves taking these characters from one movie to an even deadlier one, as Brodie finds himself in a brutal brawl that truly tests his strengths. As it would turn out, it tested Butler quite a bit while bringing it to fruition.

Butler didn't want to cut away from the action

While talking with /Film's Ben Pearson, Gerard Butler discussed the pivotal scene in which Brodie is abruptly attacked in an abandoned building by one of the militia's soldiers. The most notable detail about this brawl is that it's done in a single take. Both Butler and director Jean-Fran├žois Richet ("Blood Father") were onboard to make this challenging sequence happen no matter the logistical challenges. "You typically have to arrange a camera for every hit and break the fight down into six pieces. We did this in one shot," Butler explained.

The fight was considered a risk, especially since if there was just one wrong move, they had to start the whole process over again. But even with the folks in Butler's ear who were hesitant on doing a oner, the "Olympus Has Fallen" actor was more than gung-ho about getting it done and making it look good too:

"Even when we shot it, certain people said, 'No, let's break it down and cut back to the daughter.' It's like, 'No, this is a one-off. We never get this opportunity. Let's watch these guys go at it and just be so incredibly desperate and fighting tooth and nail for everything.' I'm very proud of what we pulled off in that scene."

A pulse-pounding fight that gave Butler the thrill of a lifetime

In the midst of making the fight look as intense as it could possibly be, which took over six takes to get right, Gerard Butler was nearly taken out by the sweltering heat:

"In the end, we did, I think, six. In 100% humidity and 105 degree heat on the heat index. And I literally, halfway through that fight, every time, I was like, "I can't [breathe]." I couldn't get any air in. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. It was perfect. [laughs]"

Butler's passion comes across clear as day. If you hadn't been clued in prior that "Plane" would become an action movie, this scene feels just as startling to you as it does to Brodie. Prior to the first punch, he's just trying to find any way of communication back to the mainland. But that all gets interrupted when the first of what ends up being many militiamen ambush him, resulting in an intense one-on-one that doesn't pull its punches.

Aside from getting it all in one go, the most impressive aspect of the fight is that it doesn't feel choreographed in the slightest. Unlike something as controlled as "John Wick," here the camera is right in their faces, as the two aggressively wrap their bodies around one another like pythons. You get to live in this uncomfortable moment where two large sweaty dudes are going into full-on survival mode, as the lack of a soundtrack forces you to confront the very present danger that faces our hero. What more could you ask for?

"Plane" is set to land in theaters on January 13, 2023.