Gerard Butler used his surfing accident to his advantage by avoiding household chores.

The Hollywood actor cheated death in December when he was thrown from his surfboard and hit by a series of 12-foot waves while filming 'Of Men and Mavericks' - and he joked that he was unable to wash dishes when he returned home to Scotland over the festive period as a result of what he'd been through.

Gerard - who recently admitted the accident was a "close call" - quipped: "I play it like that, but I don't really get away with it... Although I do feel that this year I was a little bit lazy.

"There were a couple of times when I saw people in the kitchen and I thought I could be doing a little bit more. 'Do you know what I've just been through? You're lucky I'm here. And you're going to ask me... it's washing up! It's water! I can't even see the water, any kind of foam - it's too much, what if I fall in?' "

The 42-year-old star's latest film 'Coriolanus' - a film adaption of Shakespeare's tragedy of the same name - sees him take a break from near-death experiences to star as Roman army commander Tullus Aufidius, and he hopes appearing in the movie will encourage people to read more of the playwright's work.

Speaking on ITV1's 'Lorraine', he added: "I was sent The Script - it was so filmic, it was just perfect and you really could immediately see yourself as that character and you could see Ralph as 'Coriolanus'. It's very accessible and easy to follow.

"You always have different reasons for choosing roles. Some are for fun and this came along and I thought, 'Well, you know what? I'm not exactly known for my Shakespeare!' "