If you are a famous actor, you probably have a seemingly endless supply of cash at your disposal. This happens to mean that a lot of these actors end up picking up some costly habits, such as an addiction to alcohol or other illicit substances. Normally, as long as it is not impacting their work, there aren’t a lot of people out there who would judge them.
But as you are about to find out, there are 15 prominent examples of celebrities who were openly impaired on set. The list ranges from candidates that you probably saw coming like Seth Rogen, to outside the box selections like a certain Wizard who battled an addiction to whiskey. You’ll even learn about a superhero that would sit in his tent all day in a cloud of smoke, and then only emerge for his close-ups. There was even a movie that literally had a budget for a certain white, powdery substance, so you can only imagine the antics that took place throughout filming.
While sometimes it was all meant for the role, certain actors on this list battled addiction off set and often brought their substances to work with them. Acting is not an easy job and requires some repetition, but that’s also why they give you fake products to consume while filming. Otherwise, as Jack Nicholson found out, you may find yourself in way over your head and still needing to deliver the correct lines.
Here are 15 proven accounts of celebrities who went to work under the influence.
15. Peter Dante – Grandma’s Boy
If you are filming a movie, it should not come as a shock to you that you’re not supposed to be consuming real narcotics. That must have been very disappointing to Peter Dante, who plays Dante, a pot dealer, in the stoner-comedy Grandma’s Boy. Co-Star Nick Swardson talked about how Dante came up to him after receiving the “fake green” and told him that instead he was going to use his personal stash. Little did Dante realize that they would have to do plenty of re-takes, leading to him getting much more intoxicated than he was probably anticipating.
15. Ethan Embry – Can’t Hardly Wait
Ethan was part of the cult-classic film Can’t Hardly Wait, but apparently he also could hardly wait to get his smoke on before they were done shooting. Ethan stated that “At the time, when we were shooting, I was the world’s biggest stoner…I remember the director came up to me and asked if I was ‘altered.’ But other than that, nothing sticks out because I was so stoned the entire time.”
Hardly what you want your main takeaway experience to be from one of the most memorable moments of your career. Ethan has also appeared in Once Upon a Time, Grace and Frankie and perhaps fittingly, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.
14. Carrie Fisher – Star Wars
There are a few stories out there about Carrie and her severe vices during the filming of the Star Wars trilogy. One story comes from during The Empire Strikes Back, and Carrie was renting out the home that belonged to Monty Python legend and musician, Eric Idle. Carrie recalled one night that she and Harrison stayed up all night partying with Idle and friends, but claimed that she was not hung over (hard to be hung over if you haven’t slept yet!).
When asked about her addiction, Carrie later admitted “I didn’t even like coke that much, it was just a case of getting on whatever train I needed to take to get high.”
13. John Belushi – The Blues Brothers
Do you want to know how much John Belushi loved his snow? When he was making the film The Blues Brothers alongside Dan Aykroyd, they literally had a budget set aside for just that worked into the film. While most of the actors would wait until the night to partake, Belushi allegedly loved to be on it all the time, and eventually had a bodyguard hired to help prevent him from indulging while on set. I guess it’s a good thing that the character wears sunglasses for most of the film!
12. Jack Nicholson – Easy Rider
There are a lot of celebrities out there who are pretty hush-hush about their use of illegal substances on set, and as a result, you won’t find them on this list. Jack had no issue bragging about the fact that around 150 joints were smoked during a campfire scene for the movie Easy Rider. I suppose when you are constantly having to roll a new one for every take, it only becomes harder and harder to get it right!
11. Eminem – 8 Mile
Eminem has had a very public battle with addiction, and has stated to Rolling Stone that there is about 5 years of his life that he does not remember because of his abuse.
“I don’t know if it sounds like I’m making excuses, but the absolute truth is a lot of my memory is gone. I don’t know if you’ve ever taken Ambien, but it’s kind of a memory-eraser. That s— wiped out five years of my life. People will tell me stories, and it’s like, ‘I did that?’ I saw myself doing this thing on BET recently, and I was like, ‘When was that?’”
Eminem allegedly got hooked on Ambien around the time of filming 8 Mile, which he stated was a high point for his addiction – claiming he would take between 40 to 60 valium per day as well as 20 to 30 Vicodin. When you have a drug problem that is so pronounced and are working long hours on a movie set, you can only imagine those problems overlapped.
10. Wesley Snipes – Blade 3
Wesley Snipes must be kicking himself that his Marvel franchise, Blade, came before this latest big push of awesome flicks. At least Blade is still a pretty awesome movie, although I’m not sure how much of it Snipes remembers.
Patton Oswalt stated that during the filming of the third movie, Wesley would spend the entire day in his trailer. Most of the movie was filmed with his stand-in and Wesley would only come to the set when they needed a close-up. Something tells me Ryan Reynolds had a lot more fun when he stepped onto the set to take his stab at a Marvel superhero.
9. Charlie Sheen – Two And A Half Men
Did Charlie Sheen indulge on set? I’m going to leave that up to you to decide. To Sheen’s credit, back in 2011, he claimed that he has “Never been drunk, never been high on the set once.” But he would often show up to work on very little sleep.
When Jon Cryer was asked about his performance during the last season, he stated Sheen looked “gaunt, pale, sallow, even sweaty occasionally. He started talking to himself. Most of all he just looked thinner, in a not-good way. His timing started to go off, too. He was rushing lines. Charlie just wasn’t hitting the jokes the way he used to. One time during rehearsals to choreograph the movement for a scene, he asked, ‘Can I just stand next to this couch?’ He wanted to hold on to it for the duration of the scene.”
If you need to be hanging onto furniture to keep yourself upright, I think people would agree you’re pretty far from sober.
8. John Leguizamo/Bob Hoskins – Super Mario Bros
If you were cast in a live-action version of the Super Mario Bros, you’d probably want to do some drinking too. The two lead actors were allegedly sloshed throughout the filming of the movie, as Leguizamo would constantly bring scotch to set for the pair to drink. Despite getting drunk the entire time, Hoskins still claimed that this movie was the biggest mistake of his life and the worst film that he had ever done. Yikes, imagine how much he would have hated it if he stayed sober the entire time.
7. Jackass Crew – Jackass: The Movie
When you take a look at the stunts performed during the Jackass movies, is it really any shock to think that the cast may be under some form of influence? Steve-O, one of the primary members of the cast, is recently clean and sober, and has opened up about how stunts are a little bit harder to do now that he cannot alter his mental state. Knoxville also opened up in the past about how there was not to be any alcohol on the set for the 3rd Jackass movie in order to show support for Steve-O. The fact that had to be a rule makes it pretty clear the actors were definitely altered during the first two films, but who would blame them?
6. Robert Shaw – Jaws
Robert Shaw got so drunk on the set of Jaws that he had to be carried onto the set, but as you can imagine in these instances, just because you are on set does not mean you are in any condition to act! Filming was called short for the day, but thankfully for Spielberg, Shaw was able to pull it together in order to still help deliver one of the best performances in the film. Though I cannot imagine having the balls to being able to work with a legendary director like Steven Spielberg and to show up to the set impaired!
5. Richard Burton – Raid on Rommel
There is no doubt that Richard Burton was a man who was not afraid to slam back some liquor. So much so, that in his diary back in 1989, he wrote,
“The thought of doing a whole day’s work with, for instance, John Colicos [fellow actor], which is my chore tomorrow, without at least half a bottle of vodka to ease back the yawns is like deliberately inciting a nightmare.”
Burton was married to Elizabeth Taylor and was nominated for seven Academy Awards, but never won the award.
4. Kevin Spacey – American Beauty
American Beauty is a tremendous film and was well deserving of its 5 Oscars. The film features a fantastic performance by Kevin Spacey whose character also has a tendency to consume the herb on occasion. Director Sam Mendes was asked about this characteristic in the past, and stated,
“There’s a scene in American Beauty where he and Wes Bentley’s character are getting stoned outside a real estate convention…There may or may not have been real pot available on that particular evening, I couldn’t comment.”
3. Brett Butler – Grace Under Fire
Brett Butler was an incredibly successful actress in the early 90s, but her television show Grace Under Fire got canceled after 5 seasons when her drug problem got increasingly more pronounced. Things started to escalate when she would be asked to leave the set because of her continued use.
Butler admitted back in 2011 that she was homeless, and that at the peak of her addiction she was into all kinds of substances, many of which she had obtained through her doctor.
The series ended up getting canceled as a result of her problems.
2. Seth Rogen – Zach and Miri Make A Porno
Kevin Smith is one of the most prominent advocates for marijuana out there, but he wouldn’t have gotten that way if not for Seth Rogen. While you can argue that Seth does enjoy a visit from Mary Jane on most of his movie sets, he definitely did for the movie Zach and Miri Make A Porno, and the habit was catchy enough that it helped get Smith hooked.
Smith opened up in an interview about how he was amazed at Rogen who was “a functioning stoner” — could toke up and not only make it to work on time but have “brilliant ideas” and be “constantly writing [and] productive.”
Smith went on to state that the last two years have been the most productive of his life, and he credits Seth, saying “That dude gave me the greatest gift I’ve had in the last five years,” Smith said. “The moment I start smoking, I start working.”
1. Daniel Radcliffe – Harry Potter
Wait, what? That’s right, Mr. Harry Potter himself opened up in an interview back in 2012 that he was having some serious problems with drinking towards the end of the series being filmed. Radcliffe stated, “I can honestly say I never drank at work on Harry Potter. I went into work still drunk, but I never drank at work. I can point to many scenes where I’m just gone. Dead behind the eyes.”
I don’t think the director of a franchise as big as Harry Potter would have accepted the excuse of “But dude, I stopped drinking at like 5am…what’s the problem?”
Radcliffe realized that he loved whiskey, as well as partying, but thankfully stopped drinking in 2010 before it became too pronounced of an issue.