Despite what you may hear, moviemaking is generally a pretty tame operation. Most actors and directors stay sober while they're working -- they just want to do their jobs and go back home to their gilded mansions, where they can do all the drugs they want during their off hours.
Some, however, would rather have fun on the job. Lots of fun. In fact, the shoots of a handful of classic movies were such raucous parties that it's a wonder the final products were even remotely watchable ...
Dazed and Confused, at its heart, is a movie about high school kids whining and being stoned for 90 minutes, and yet it still managed to become one of the biggest cult hits of the '90s and launched the careers of both Matthew McConaughey and Ben Affleck, which is a dubious but undeniable distinction. This is even more noteworthy considering that just about every member of the cast treated it like one extended teenage fuck party. And no, the cast of Dazed and Confused didn't bother to sober up once the cameras started rolling. They figured the best way for their characters to appear stoned was to actually be stoned, because when you're making a film about ultra-high teenagers, authenticity is everything.
Pictured: Not acting.
The craziness started before the movie even began filming, when McConaughey managed to get cast without even knowing he was auditioning. He just happened to run into the casting director at a bar, and the two got along so well that they wound up getting kicked out for being too loud and rowdy, officially marking the first time that people in a public setting became tired of Matthew McConaughey.
"This 'no shirts, no service' is some bullshit, man."
Those not fortunate enough to run into the casting director at a hotel bar had to earn their stripes at the "casting pizza party," a free-for-all where all the potential actors were gathered together to try out for just about every role. One part of the audition process involved pairing the actors off and having them make out with each other, because this is a critical part of the storytelling process. According to Jason London, who was eventually cast in the lead, he and every other guy got to make out with "like, three different girls each."
Once all of the unknown teenagers and 20-somethings were cast, it was time to cram them all into the same hotel for two months, where they spent most of their downtime drinking and smoking pot in the hotel lobby, along with having more sex than Olympic Village athletes. And when they weren't busy challenging the hotel's guest expulsion guidelines, the cast of Dazed and Confused were doing every single drug in the state of Texas while spending all night tubing in the Guadalupe River. The nightly mind expansion was so potent, it caused the then-16-year-old Milla Jovovich to run off to Vegas and marry one of her co-stars. Her mother had the marriage annulled, but unfortunately was not able to do the same years later when Jovovich married Luc Besson and the director of the Resident Evil movies.
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Paul W.S. Anderson (the "W.S." stands for "way shittier").
John Belushi was equal parts comedic genius and cocaine-possessed party demon, but the man was also a career performer and a reasonably talented actor. That means he at least made an effort to clean up for work, right?
Let's save both you and the universe some time by never asking that question ever again. As a general rule, John Belushi was destroyed when he was on set, perhaps no more so than when filming The Blues Brothers, his and Dan Aykroyd's tribute to doughy white people truffle-shuffling their way through blues standards. Everyone involved in that production did their share of drugs, especially cocaine, which was actually worked into the film's budget. But they all saved the brain-tickling moon dust for night shoots, because what maniac would load himself up in the middle of the day on the set of a multimillion-dollar movie?
It was originally set in winter, but he kept inhaling the fake snow.
John Belushi, that's who. Belushi treated drugs like his full-time job -- the movie was incidental. It didn't help that The Blues Brothers was filmed in his native Chicago, where every junkie in town wanted to say they got their hometown hero high. As a result, Belushi would routinely disappear for hours on end. Aykroyd had to go on numerous adventures simply to locate his sky-high co-star and carry him back to work. On one occasion, Aykroyd found Belushi sleeping on a couch in a complete stranger's house at 3 o'clock in the morning. Aykroyd just kind of shook Belushi into a state of semi-consciousness and dragged him back to filming. Presumably a portion of Belushi's scenes in The Blues Brothers were actually performed by Aykroyd manipulating Belushi's drug-slumbering body like the titular corpse puppet in Weekend at Bernie's.
"I paid Jim Henson 50 grand to help me jury rig pulleys to the steering wheel."
And if Belushi couldn't find any random enablers to party with, he'd host his own Miami Vice deleted scene all by himself. On one occasion, director John Landis walked into Belushi's trailer to find his lead actor perched behind a literal mountain of cocaine. Landis had to battle Belushi for about 15 seconds before the man finally apologized and agreed to allow his stash to be flushed safely down the toilet. Belushi got so out of control that he eventually hired a bodyguard whose sole job was to prevent him from doing any more drugs while they were still filming. He was essentially the Bruce Banner of that production, requiring constant care and vigilance to prevent him from hulking out, tearing his trailer in half, and reappearing four days later on a moped in a pair of hobo pants.
"That's my secret, Dan. I'm always high."
And while we're on the subject of Belushi ...
Before The Blues Brothers, John Landis had cast John Belushi in Animal House, one of the craziest films about college debauchery ever produced. It all but invented the R-rated booze-and-sex comedy genre, so you can only imagine the kind of Herculean mischief Belushi got himself into on the set of that film.
Actually, the answer is nothing. The rest of the cast, however, more than made up for it.
That's right -- while filming a movie about drunken fraternity sex goblins, Belushi didn't do a fucking thing. Improbably, his most famous role as a frenetic substance abuser went off without a hitch. The people in charge of Animal House had the amazing foresight to anticipate that Belushi's trademark Belushiness might cause a problem with production, so they stuck him in the suburbs with his wife, Judy, far away from everyone else. (For whatever reason, Landis forgot this powerful lesson when making The Blues Brothers years later.)
However, the rest of the cast apparently got together and decided to method act the shit out of this thing. Once shooting had wrapped at the end of each day, actor Bruce McGill's room became the nexus of recreational self-destruction, complete with loud music and "strange smoke" emanating at all hours. The loud music, by the way, came from a hotel piano that the cast had stolen from the lobby.
"Tom really wanted it."
In order to get into character as asshole frat boys, the cast decided to attend a real-life asshole frat party and mingle, because they somehow managed to convince the production team that this qualified as "research." The real-life fraternity members didn't appreciate these "Hollywood faggots" (that is a direct quote) taking up their precious drinking-and-sexual-assault space, so actor James Widdoes responded the only way he knew how -- by tossing a beer at the first jock he saw. This triggered a huge brawl that gave McGill a black eye and nearly cost Widdoes some of his teeth (to be fair, he had cruelly wasted an entire beer). When Belushi arrived on set the next day and heard about the fight, he had to be physically restrained from exploding into the fraternity house and teaching them exactly why an entire movie studio was keeping him annexed from the rest of the cast (see "John Belushi is the Hulk," above).
If only there were some inspiring words he could have said to get the crew on his side.