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17 Movies Stars Who Were Drunk Or Stoned While Filming Classic Scenes

You'll never think of Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford in The Empire Strikes Back the same way again.

1. Ethan Embry was so stoned while shooting Can't Hardly Wait that the only thing he remembers about the experience is being asked by the director if he was "altered."

Ethan Embry smiling in Can't Hardly Wait

Embry confessed to the Hollywood Reporter, "At the time, when we were shooting, I was the world’s biggest stoner." He smoked so much pot, in fact, that costar Jennifer Love Hewitt once gave him 50 breath mints before she had to perform a scene with him.

2. John Candy filmed one of his most iconic scenes in Splash drunk after a run-in with Jack Nicholson.

John Candy in workout gear and holding a beer on a racquetball court

One of the nice things to come out of 2020 was Josh Gad's Reunited Apart, which reunited over Zoom the cast and crew of famous films. On the episode featuring the alum of Splash, the film's director, Ron Howard, told a story about how John Candy arrived late and drunk to shoot the famous racquetball court scene.

Howard says the normally very professional Candy apologized, bellowing, "Here's what happened, I'm telling you the truth. I'm at the bar and Jack Nicholson is at the bar. Jack Nicholson knew my name, Ron! And he starts buying me drinks. I said, ‘But I've got to go shoot.’ And he said, ‘You're going to be all right, kid. Don't worry about it.’ And he kept buying me drinks. I never went to bed, Ron. I never went to bed.”

3. Kirsten Dunst had no idea she was smoking a real joint while filming a scene in Woodshock.

An artsy image of Dunst's face looking fractured
A24 / Via A24

The movie featured the smoking of a lot of pot, which Dunst told Jimmy Kimmel was “movie pot,” i.e. fake pot made with herbal tobacco. However, after filming one scene, something felt...different. “I started to feel like I was losing my mind. I went to the director and said there’s something wrong with me, I think I need to go to the hospital. Like, there’s something seriously up. I’m shaking, I’m hot, I’m just flipping out.”

A producer on the film did some investigating and discovered that a real joint had gotten mixed in with the faux ones, and Dunst had smoked the whole thing on camera.

"I couldn't film anymore," Dunst said. "They sent me home."

4. Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo were so drunk on the set of Super Mario Bros. that Hoskins broke his finger.

Hoskins and Leguizamo is colorful outfits as the Mario Bros
Buena Vista Pictures

The big-screen adaptation of the classic video game ended up a critically panned box office disaster, and it seems everyone knew that would be its fate very early in production. So, according to Leguizamo's autobiography, the onscreen Mario and Luigi spent a lot of their days dipping into Hoskins' scotch to make the experience less interminable.

Unfortunately, during one take, an inebriated Leguizamo was behind the wheel of their characters' van (not a good idea!) when he hit the gas too fast and the door closed on Hoskins' hand, breaking his finger. If you look closely, you can see Hoskins wears a cast on his finger at times in the movie.

5. Billy Bob Thornton got rip-roaring drunk for a key scene while filming Bad Santa.

Thornton in his Santa clothes lays on the ground, drunk and with a cut on his face

Thornton's character was drunk for a lot of the movie, so maybe Thornton deserves credit for only method drinking a couple days.

Thornton told PeopleTV's Couch Surfing he was the most soused when he filmed the scene where his character drunkenly melts down at the mall and attacks a decorative Christmas donkey. He started his day by drinking three glasses of red wine, a vodka and cranberry juice, and then a few Bud Lights. "By the time I got to that scene there, I barely knew I was in a movie,” he said.

Later, when shooting the part where he rides an escalator in a drunken stupor, Thornton says he fell asleep standing up, and was jolted awake upon reaching the top — and that's the take that was used in the movie.

6. Margot Robbie found some liquid courage while filming The Wolf of Wall Street.

Robbie reclines in a fancy chair wearing a lacy bra

One of the first scenes Robbie shot required her to stand in a doorway totally naked, and she was petrified. She told the New York Times, "I’d come to work that morning and I was shaking, so scared, like, ‘I can’t do this.’ So, even though it was 9 a.m., a crew member hooked her up with some tequila. "I did three shots and then took my clothes off and did the scene and I was fine. It really helped stop my hands shaking, and gave me a little boost of confidence.”

7. The drunken breakdown Martin Sheen's character suffered at the start of Apocalypse Now was a real drunken breakdown.

United Artists

Sheen said during an interview at the Dubai International Film Festival that the scene was filmed on his 36th birthday, and that he'd been drinking all day in celebration. He added, "I'm an alcoholic, I got sober in 1989...and I was drinking very heavily at that time."

When it came time to shoot the scene, Sheen said, "I was so dangerously drunk I could hardly stand up." Still, he committed to the scene's objective, which was to establish his character, Captain Benjamin L. Willard, as dangerous and reckless. "I went very deep into my own personal pain and alcoholism and self-loathing and all of the things that make up a human being," he said.

The most famous part of the scene, of course, is when he punches the mirror, bloodying his hand. That, Sheen revealed, was a drunken mistake, as he was closer to the mirror than he realized. He said director Francis Ford Coppola wanted to stop the filming immediately, but he refused, wanting to continue wrestling the demon on camera. "And so I did and I just showed a completely broken, desperate guy, which was a reflection of who I was at the time."

8. Nicolas Cage incorporated drinking into some of his scenes as a deeply troubled alcoholic in Leaving Las Vegas.

Cage drunkenly leans back laughing at a card table
United Artists

Cage told James Lipton on Inside the Actor's Studio, "I never drink when I act, but I wanted to incorporate in some scenes actual drinking. So that scene in the casino when I'm freaking out, I'm really drunk."

In the scene, when security pulls Cage's character from the casino, Cage repeatedly screams, "I am his father!" This line was improvised by the actor. He told Lipton, "That was sort of a primal scream that came out of me that wasn't in the script."

9. Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock, Stockard Channing, and Diane Weist partied for real during a party scene in Practical Magic.

Channing and Weist smile while blending up margaritas
Warner Bros.

It was rumored that, when shooting the "midnight margaritas" scene, the actors drank actual margaritas to set the mood. When asked about it, Channing told Vulture, "I don’t know how drunk we were, but we decided to spiff it up with a drink. I think one of the hardest things to do is a fun, raucous party scene. By take 28, it is very hard to keep that up. I think it worked."

She went on to say that she didn't remember whose idea it was to introduce real tequila into the filming, but added, "I don't think any of us had any objections."

10. The Beatles smoked so much pot on the set of Help it was understood they wouldn't be able to film much after lunch.

The four Beatles look over a ledge in the snowy alps
United Artists

In The Beatles Anthology, Ringo Starr said “A hell of a lot of pot was being smoked while we were making the film," adding that their eyes were almost always red in pictures from the set.

In the same documentary, Paul McCartney remembered how being high could make even the simplest shot hard to get. “All we had to do was turn around and look amazed. But every time we’d turn 'round to the camera, there were tears streaming down our faces. It’s OK to get the giggles anywhere else but in films, because the technicians get pissed off with you.”

11. Jennifer Lawrence got "really, really drunk" before her sex scene with Chris Pratt in Passengers.

Lawrence and Pratt cuddle in a pool

Lawrence told the Hollywood Reporter she was hoping the alcohol would make the experience of kissing a married man on camera less bizarre, but unfortunately, she says, "that led to more anxiety."

12. Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford partied all night with the Rolling Stones and then showed up to film The Empire Strikes Back flying high.

Fisher as Princess Leia looks at Ford as Solo, who looks confused
20th Century Fox

Episode 5 was filming in England when, the day before an early call time, Monty Python's Eric Idle invited Fisher over to hang out with the Rolling Stones. As she told the Daily Beast, “I called Harrison and said, ‘Get over here! This is ridiculous!’ I wonder how he remembers it. I remember that we never went to sleep, so we weren’t hungover — we were still drunk when we arrived in Cloud City the next day. We don’t really smile a lot in the movie, but there we’re smiling.”

13. Jason Mewes was under the influence during the entire filming of Clerks.

Mewes as Jay pontificates with hands outstretched in front of the mini mart

Kevin Smith, the writer/director of Clerks, based the always high character of Jay on his childhood pal, Mewes, who also smoked a lot of pot. When it came time for Mewes to play Jay, he didn't change a thing.

“I was either drinking or smoking the whole time,” Mewes told Metro. ‘They had to send me home sometimes. I was drinking blackberry brandy — I passed out on the floor. I was so drunk I was slurring during a scene with Randal so they had to send me home.”

14. Jim Breuer filmed a scene high on the set of Half Baked.

Breuer wears a tie-dyed shirt and looks very stoned in the film

This one might not surprise you considering, A) Breuer, by his own admission, has a face that makes him look high all the time, and B) Half Baked is a stoner classic, but Breuer says he took the job seriously and was sober during the filming...except for one scene.

Breuer recounts a time when, after being told he was done filming for the day, he smoked a joint costar Dave Chappelle gave him and got super high...only to then be told he was needed back on set for one more scene. A very paranoid Breuer says he did not perform the scene well (Chappelle even said, "Come on, man! Get your act together!"), but he got through it. (If you re-watch the movie, it's the scene where Breuer says "Sucks to be you, man!")

15. Jack Nicholson didn't smoke 155 joints, as it has been rumored, during the filming of the UFO scene in Easy Rider, but he WAS smoking pot.

Nicholson holding a joint in Easy Rider

It is one of the quintessential stoner scenes in movie history — Nicholson and his costars smoking a joint around a campfire and discussing the existence of UFOs. Nicholson told Richard Luck, "The story about me smoking 155 joints — that’s a little exaggerated. But each time I did a take or an angle, it involved smoking almost an entire joint. After the first take or two, the acting job became reversed. Instead of being straight and having to act stoned at the end, I was now stoned at the beginning and having to act straight, and then gradually letting myself return to where I was — which was very stoned."

16. Olivia Wilde and Anna Kendrick were drunk on the set of Drinking Buddies.

Wilde and Kendrick drink beers in a scene from the movie
Magnolia Pictures

The 2013 movie about a craft brewery in Chicago featured a lot of scenes where the characters drink beer, and according to Wilde, they were often throwing back the real deal. Wilde revealed, “We were hammered the entire movie because it was real beer, because beer on that set was cheaper than water, because we were shooting in a brewery.”

Kendrick confirmed this, saying, "During a scene where I’m playing cards with Jake (Johnson), they gave me real beer, and I didn’t realize it! And so every time I lost, I was pounding beer, and I didn’t realize it was real until halfway through the take. I was like, ‘I’m super drunk right now!’ She went on to call the experience "uncomfortable," adding, "For some of the movie, it was fine, and it worked in the scene, and so it was helpful for them. But I mostly found it really unnerving."

17. And Seth Rogen was high while filming...everything.

Rogen, in The Pineapple Express, looks at a joint like its the love of his life

During an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Rogen said, "I do enjoy weed in my personal life and on film." Colbert replied, "So any movie we see you in, there's a fair chance you're high?" Rogen nodded, saying, "One hundred percent, yes." But we already knew that, right?

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