Paul W.S. Anderson (the "W.S." stands for "way shittier").
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.
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.
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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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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Slap Shot, the cult hit movie about a bunch of assholes playing hockey, was brought to life by a bunch of assholes drinking themselves into oblivion and then pretending to play hockey, the chief asshole being the film's star, Paul Newman.
Newman reportedly ordered a hundred cases of Coors beer, and would go through at least one case each day. Ashamed of this obvious shortcoming, the other guys in the cast would pick up Newman's slack and attempt to drink even more. Actually shooting the movie they had all been hired to make revolved around whatever time of day the crew was able to tear free from their booze-haze slumber and decide to start acting. This is a tactful way of saying "whenever Paul Newman could stop throwing up on himself long enough to recite his dialogue."
The behind-the-scenes lunacy didn't begin and end with mere drunkenness. The cast would routinely enter rental cars into impromptu demolition derbies, because alcoholism doesn't become hilarious until you're driving a car. Pranks were all the rage, ranging from the merely amusing (filling Newman's private sauna with popcorn) to the flat-out disturbing (duct taping a cast member to a bench and shaving his pubic hair). One time, Newman even staged a seemingly fatal car crash to punish the director for refusing to buy him any more beer that day.
The rest of the cast was made up of real-life hockey goons (including the legendary Hanson brothers), who had absolutely no interest in pursuing acting careers but were utterly delighted to get stone-cold shitfaced with Paul Newman every single night. They would intentionally screw up their scenes, sometimes by stripping naked and slapping their dongs around like stingy ketchup bottles, just to get a laugh from their co-stars. Finishing the movie and eventually getting an audience to laugh was nowhere on their agenda -- that was a happy accident.
Caddyshack was arguably the first great improvised comedy, paving the way for Will Ferrell to make millions of dollars screaming at things 20 years later. However, "improvised comedy" back in the 1970s was another way of saying "cocaine-misted sleepover with a half-assed script lying around for some reason." Director Harold Ramis had never directed before, Rodney Dangerfield had barely ever acted before, and getting toasted every night was both tolerated and highly encouraged. It wasn't so much a movie as an 11-week party whose hosts occasionally turned a camera on to film something.
Dangerfield set the tone very early on by whipping out a bag of cocaine and doing a couple of lines during his audition. It should be noted that at no point in the film does his character do drugs -- Rodney apparently just felt that the casting director should know he meant business. He then proceeded to make up just about every line of dialogue he had, not bothering with the "script" Ramis and a few others inexplicably decided to write.
And it wasn't just him -- pretty much the entire cast did all of the drugs for the entirety of the shoot. To wit, the whole film crew requested to be paid in cash, because drug dealers don't accept forwarded checks. And when you have to send one of your actresses to go searching for Bill Murray, only to find him sleeping in a sand trap, it's not just because "He's Bill Murray and he can do whatever he wants." It's because "Bill Murray is titanically wasted, and also can do whatever he wants."
Some of the cast would occasionally race golf carts in the dead of night in the pitch dark, destroying both the carts and the fairways on which they raced and nearly killing someone in the process, because comedy demands motorized cart sacrifice. Oh, and remember that climactic scene wherein Bill Murray's character blows up the golf course to try to kill a gopher? Not one bit of that was staged -- the cast and crew of Caddyshack decided to actually detonate a golf course without notifying anyone beforehand that they were going to do so. This led to someone mistakenly reporting the explosion as a plane crash. Why that person didn't use common sense to deduce that some drunken comedian was intentionally causing thousands of dollars' worth of damage to convincingly pretend to murder a puppet, nobody knows. By that point, didn't people just assume this sort of thing when a movie was filming nearby?
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Related Reading: Speaking of parties, have you read about the two times Andrew Jackson's shenanigans destroyed the White House? If you'd rather read about a party you AREN'T centuries too late to attend, check out this insane burning tar festival. If all this has you hankering for a shindig of your own, be sure to read these party hacks first.