Artists are not exactly known to be D.A.R.E. poster children -- we owe half of our world's greatest achievements during the '60s and '70s to marijuana (and the other half to LSD). Fortunately, for every pop culture milestone that was clearly conceived while shitfaced, you can point to wholesome classics like Star Wars, It's A Wonderful Life, and that movie where Cuba Gooding Jr. inherits some sled dogs, all of which prove that you can create artistic masterpieces without drugs.
Yeah, uh, about that ...
6 The People Behind Star Wars Were Taking Acid, Doing Coke, And Getting Wasted With The Rolling Stones
It's kind of amazing that the original Star Wars movies turned out as well as they did, on a set where it was apparently no cause for concern for the boom mic operator to show up naked but for pink hot pants.
Due to budget constraints, that guy's butt also played an alien at the cantina.
You know the one.
Given that this was the '70s and he's only the seventh-weirdest-at-the-time thing in that picture, you might think that the cast and crew must have been blasted out of their minds half the time -- and not in the plasma-gun sense. You would be right, to the extent that character animator Phil Tippett thought nothing of nipping off for a little acid break during production of Return Of The Jedi. He felt fine, so he went back to work, where he realized he was so not fine, maaaaan. But he powered on, having received a vision for the Rancor pit monster, which he describes as "a cross between a bear and a potato."
At least this explains Tippett's future failure at dinosaur supervision. He was far from the only one "expanding his mind" while making these movies. It's hard to tell how much of what we see on-screen is the result of creative genius and how much is just drugs, but one thing's for sure: Once you notice Carrie Fisher's coke nail, you will never unsee it.
She confirmed it on Twitter, but we're just impressed she can remember that decade at all.
Thankfully, Fisher didn't let the infamous partying that once prompted John Belushi to tell her she had a problem affect her performance -- mostly. Have you ever noticed how Han and Leia are smiling when they arrive in Cloud City, a dangerous mission that they should be not at all happy to embark upon? That's because, according to Fisher, they were both up partying with The Rolling Stones and Monty Python the night before and arrived on set still wasted. To paraphrase Fisher: Look, when The Stones come over, you don't turn them away, early calls be damned. It's hard to say she was wrong.
Maybe the prequels would be a lot better if Natalie Portman and the other dude had partied with 'NSync.
5 Cool Runnings, Snow Dogs, Little Giants, And Parts Of Shrek Were All Written On Heroin
Tommy Swerdlow's life is like one of those '80s movies where a young rapscallion cons his way into a job for which he is woefully unqualified and soon finds himself in over his head, which makes it a real waste that he never wrote one of those. He did, along with partner Michael Goldberg, write some of the most famous family movies of the '90s and early '00s: Cool Runnings, Little Giants, Bushwhacked, and Snow Dogs. He also wrote the earliest outlines for Shrek. And he was high on heroin the entire time.
We would have figured him for a cocaine man.
How could a junkie write some of the best family entertainment of the past 25 years? The answer is, he didn't mean to.
It turns out that Cool Runnings, Swerdlow's and Goldberg's first movie, wasn't supposed to be family-friendly at all. Swerdlow's original draft featured that scrappy Jamaican bobsled team "fucking the Scandinavian ski team and smoking spliffs," according to him. Which would have been truer to the spirit of the Olympics, actually. But when Executive Producer Chris Meledandri saw the script, he took a deep breath, arranged his face into a model of straightness, and began to fix it, doling out notes to the writers little by little ... until they woke up one day and realized they had written a PG movie. After its success, Swerdlow and Goldberg became known as the guys you go to for a family film, and Swerdlow, at least, was hardly in a position to refuse. Heroin is expensive, y'all.
At one point, he and Goldberg were even hired to write the original Chris Farley version of Shrek. While the final product is very different from their outlines, Swerdlow says, he came up with the buddy-comedy angle -- basing Shrek and Donkey's friendship on Midnight Cowboy (so one's a con man who dies, and one's a gigolo).
Wonder how long it took him to realize he was writing a movie about a "donkey," not a "junkie."
This could have been a real Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead situation, but the odd couple of Goldberg and Swerdlow worked surprisingly well together. Goldberg was the "social mouthpiece" for the duo, so no one had to see Swerdlow nod out on the conference table. This left him free to write and shoot up in solitude, after which Goldberg would provide the invaluable criticism that turned those dope-soaked drafts into after-school outings. One can only imagine what those notes must have looked like. "No, Cuba cannot get the snow dogs stoned."