Who would have thought nerdy wizard Harry Potter was off his face while he was racing around Hogwarts on his magical broom with Ron and Hermione?! Well, some of the time anyway.
Actor Daniel Radcliffe famously admitted turning up to work drunk on several occasions to shoot Harry Potter scenes after all-night partying. He told reporters his drinking binges during the Potter years became his way of coping with his growing fame.
Or maybe it was the ennui of being stuck with his “written in stone” contract for a few more movies, and consequently being forever typecast as the bespectacled hero. Whatever the case, this is just one of many examples of actors admitting boozing during film shoots.
The “showing up to work hammered from partying the night before” variety of boozing admitted by Radcliffe isn’t typically the reason for shooting movies under the influence.
Some actors playing boozy roles have justified it as “method acting,” a type of acting that typically draws upon personal memories and experiences to create a more realistic performance. Getting wasted on set to play “wasted” doesn’t exactly sound like any kind of acting though, does it?
Still others have pointed to a need to “loosen up” for some of those steamy love scenes. It might look easy throwing two (or three) beautiful people together for a hot bedroom romp, but the reality is that these scenes are dreaded by many actors. Sometimes a little liquid courage is just what’s needed to relax the co-stars enough to send them into the affected smoldering passion for the camera.
Whatever their reasons for tipping the bottle, these are twelve actors who have openly admitted to being under the influence during film shoots.
12. Margot Robbie in “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Little known before the “Wolf Street” role, the Aussie actress admitted she was a nervous wreck arriving onset for the first of many nude scenes. Robbie said a crew member noticed her jitters, took pity on her and offered her some tequila, which she grabbed to great effect. Three shots of tequila later and Robbie was comfortable enough to slip it all off that morning.
Robbie was possibly still unnerved from the excitement of her big break being picked for the Martin Scorsese film to begin with; she recently told Harper’s Bazaar UK she believes she got the coveted role playing Dicaprio’s sexpot, trophy wife by spontaneously slapping the actor in the face during her audition for the part.
At first worried the slap might lose her the job, Robbie believes the unscripted move helped make just the right impact to land her the role.
Robbie should write a book on how to make it in Hollywood for ambitious actresses everywhere; just slap your lead in the face, and as she told reporters, “Acting 101: three shots of tequila, and you’ll be fine!”
11. Neve Campbell, Denise Richards, and Matt Dillon in “Wild Things”
Everyone was talking about the steamy three-way scene in “Wild Things” when the seductive thriller hit theatres in 1998. At the time of its release, Neve Campbell told Entertainment Weekly in an interview that the steam in question didn’t come so easy.
Campbell admitted to sharing a bottle of tequila with co-stars Matt Dillon and Denise Richards to loosen up for the moment. The results certainly paid off, bringing the film plenty of notoriety. The gratuitous three-way was considered to be some of the most erotic content ever seen in a big budget mainstream film.
The film’s producers cashed in on the film’s sexy popularity, with the film spawning a slew of smutty direct-to-DVD sequels. No word on whether the actresses in the sequels also needed to get hammered to go full “smut.”
10. Daniel Radcliffe in “Harry Potter”
Who didn’t love Daniel Radcliffe playing Harry Potter alongside Hagrid, Dumbledore, and the gang at Hogwarts? It seems Radcliffe may not have, finding his own way to escape his Potter role during the runaway success of the wizarding film saga.
Turns out it wasn’t the mystical butter beer from the Leaky Cauldron pub, but the real stuff, making Harry Potter appear rather giddy during some scenes in the films.
In 2012, Radcliffe admitted to reporters that his partying got way out of control as he tried to grapple with his own growing fame and fears that he would never be taken seriously in the future as an actor.
Radcliffe stressed that he never drank at work, but that he would often turn up on set still drunk from all-night boozing sessions.
He told reporters, “I can point to many scenes where I’m just gone. Dead behind the eyes.” And to think, all that time audiences thought it was the actor’s gripping reaction to Voldemort.
Radcliffe was able to get his drinking under control on his own, and has been a teetotaller since 2010.
9. Shia LeBeouf in “Lawless”
Shia LeBeouf has admitted to getting loaded on film, all in the name of his dedication to intense method acting.
LeBeouf was reportedly so whacked out on moonshine during the 2012 shoot of “Lawless,” that co-star Mia Wasikowska almost left the film. The actor told Fox News that he was indeed intoxicated on moonshine during some scenes, the same substance being bootlegged by his criminal character in the film. He justified his onset drinking as the best way to capture the essence of the role during scenes in which his character was also supposed to be drunk on moonshine; he described the high from the substance as “rough” and similar to heroin.
LeBeouf admits he also dropped acid more than once in preparation for a role in the 2013 film, “The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman.” This time, however, LeBeouf says all the real tripping was done offscreen so that he could attempt to imitate his experience to play his baked character onscreen.
LeBeouf has gained notoriety for his intense bordering on bizarre approach to method acting, cutting his face open in Brad Pitt‘s war epic, “Fury” to produce more realistic war wounds, and getting fired off Broadway play “Orphans” for drunkenly butting heads with fellow hot-head co-star Alec Baldwin; and all in the name of staying in character.
8. Brat Pitt and Edward Norton in “Fight Club”
In reality, this scene was reportedly unscripted, and filmed for fun by director David Fincher, after the two actors got drunk together in real life, and then thought it would be fun to hit balls in the hopes of striking the catering van across the way. The director liked the footage so much he decided to include it in the finished product.
Spontaneity seemed to work well for the film; the first slug Norton gives Pitt in the face as Pitt’s character provokes him was in fact a real punch. It seems director Fincher suggested the idea to Norton to capture an authentic reaction from Pitt.
7. Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”
Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman are friends in real life, so sharing a kinky girl-on-girl scene in “Black Swan” must have felt more than a little weird to the actresses. Director Darren Aronofsky told the Hollywood Reporter the scene took a half day to film…and a good deal of tequila (again!) to get the girls comfy with their steamy scene.
Aronofsky caused controversy with his comments, offending some by suggesting booze was necessary to get the seasoned actresses to perform a lesbian tryst; and fanning the flames by telling reporters he felt guilty for putting the girls through the motions of the scene.
A couple of months later it became a “he said-she said” when Kunis told People that there was never any tequila at all, and that it was all just a rumour. About love scenes in general, she added, “they’re never comfortable, same-sex, opposite-sex, it’s never comfortable.”
You’ll have to make up your own mind who was telling the truth on this one!
6. Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and Peter O’Toole in “Under Milkwood”
In this film version of Welsh writer Dylan Thomas’ radio play, director Andrew Sinclair reportedly thought it a no brainer to cast Richard Burton, also a Welshman. Thrilled to be chosen for the role, Burton reportedly told the director, “I am not drinking on your film. That means only one bottle of vodka a day.”
In his time, actor Burton earned a reputation for his hard drinking both on and off filmshoots. In “Milkwood,” Burton’s then wife Elizabeth Taylor and actor Peter O’Toole were said to be “hellraising” right alongside him.
Sinclair recalls in a recent memoir that Taylor was so drunk on one particular day of filming, that both O’Toole and Burton had to hold her up while she said her lines. It seems the diva had been throwing a fit and was refusing to act that particular day (one of many hissy fits thrown by the diva during the shoot, according to Sinclair’s memoir). Sinclair recalls it was O’Toole who finally convinced Taylor to come back to the set over a “boozy lunch,” which led to the actress’ onset intoxication.
5. Robert Shaw in “Jaws”
Irish actor Robert Shaw will probably always be best remembered for helping make movie magic playing Quint in the classic “Jaws.” And just like the hard drinking, shark hating fishing captain he played in the film, Shaw sure enjoyed his tipple.
His love of drink probably inspired his suggestion to director Steven Spielberg that he have a couple of drinks to “get him in the mood” for a scene in which he gets drunk with co-stars Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss. Spielberg quickly learned you should never offer an Irishman a drink during the workday.
Shaw reportedly got so drunk that he blacked out while filming the famous scene where he talks about the torpedoed U.S.S. Indianapolis tragedy, delaying the shoot by a whole day.
Shaw was reportedly mortified by his behaviour, and apologized to the director for upsetting the film schedule. Spielberg clearly forgave him, as the very next day Shaw repented by acting out one of the most memorable speeches in movie history. Shaw even helped write the famous speech about the gruesome fate of the soldiers aboard the Indianapolis, known as the worst shark attack in history.
4. Anna Kendrick in “Drinking Buddies”
Anna Kendrick sings in real life for her singing roles in “Pitch Perfect”; so why wouldn’t she drink for her drinking role in “Drinking Buddies”?
Drink she did onset to the point of drunkenness, alongside onscreen boyfriend Joe Swanberg; although she says she didn’t know it until it was too late. Kendrick told “Vulture” she started playing a drinking game in a bar scene using fake beer, which was then replaced with the real thing. She said of the drinking game, “And so every time I lost, I was pounding beer, and I didn’t realize it until halfway through the take.”
Kendrick said a large part of the film was improv, which she found exciting, but that the improv drunkenness was simply… “uncomfortable.”
3. Billy Bob Thornton in “Bad Santa”
In the 2003 comedy box-office success “Bad Santa” Billy Bob Thornton plays a foul-mouthed booze-soaked mall Santa, who’s rude to children and ruder to adults. It seems the actor took full advantage of his dedication to method acting and boozing, for full effect.
He told Film4.com, “I’ve traditionally played really extreme characters, and even in a comedy, if you’re going to play a guy like this you can’t go halfway drunk, you know? And I wasn’t sort of drunk. You have to go completely into it.”
Not such a stretch for Thornton, perhaps, who’s admitted to “being known to have a drink or two” in his personal life.
2. John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in “The Blues Brothers”
Back in the 70’s and 80’s everyone knew rising comic superstar John Belushi had a drug problem. The actor’s substance abuse issues certainly weren’t helped along by a reported acceptance and even fostering of drug use on the set of the classic American musical comedy, “The Blues Brothers.”
Belushi’s co-star in the film and real life buddy, Dan Aykroyd, told Vanity Fair that in fact “everyone” was whacked out on cocaine during the making of the huge hit. He said, “we had a budget in the movie for cocaine night shoots.”
Aykroyd admitted he used the drug as well, but that everyone widely recognized Belushi increasingly getting out of control using the drug on and offset.
Reports have the troubled star equally high as a kite during his “Animal House” shoot that took place a few years prior.
Sadly, Belushi’s abuses caught up with him eventually; the comic famously died from a lethal overdose combination of cocaine and heroin in 1982, at the peak of his fame.
1. Martin Sheen in “Apocalypse Now”
Some of Charlie Sheen‘s drug mishaps may just have been inspired by his Dad, who turned out a classic wasted scene in the iconic, cinematic masterpiece “Apocalypse Now” playing Captain Willard. In the scene, a war torn Willard has arrived back to civilization after his third tour of duty in Vietnam, waiting to hear from senior officers about a new mission; to hunt down and kill rogue officer, Colonel Kurtz (played by the legendary Marlon Brando).
Left in his Saigon hotel room with nothing more than a ceiling fan, a bottle of booze, and his thoughts, Martin Sheen nailed the performance of a tortured, scotch-soaked soldier trying to cope with post traumatic stress disorder.
In this case, however, it was in fact a direct result of the finest “method acting” possible, with lots of real alcohol and personal matters in Sheen’s private life influencing his riveting performance, that actually took place on the actor’s 36th birthday. At one point in the scene, Sheen actually smashes a mirror, then woozily examines the real blood from the real gash in his hand. Sheen says director Francis Ford Coppola tried to stop the scene, but the actor insisted the cameras continue rolling.
Sheen has admitted he was an alcoholic at the time. At just 36, the actor famously suffered from a heart attack later on in the shoot, which he recovered from to complete filming.
mirror.co.uk, dailymail.co.uk, nytimes.com, imdb.com, people.com,
dailymail.co.uk, ew.com, nydailynews.com, foxnews.com,
telegraph.co.uk, film4.com,vanityfair.com, theguardian.com
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