People get high for a lot of reasons. Some folks are trying to hide from their feelings; some people like to party; and some people are just super bored. High celebrities are no different. Actors who smoked on set did so for a variety of reasons, and the interesting thing that binds them all together is that none of them really feel bad about it. As much as there’s a culture of shame placed around drug use, the actors high on set that have been included on this list are very straight forward about what they did. Most of them realize that it’s probably not what they should have been doing while they were working, but they’re also not wringing their hands over their life decisions. After all, they’re famous movie stars, and this is how people expect them to act.
Some of the actors on this list are truly going to surprise you, mostly because they’re so darn affable. They’re leading men who are known for their multiple appearances in Disney films, and their strong jawlines. Basically, if they’re doing drugs, then that means anyone can do drugs. Obviously, getting high at work, whether you’re making a movie or teaching a class, isn’t the way you should be getting through the day, and all of these stars have definitely reeled things in since they were getting zonked out of their mind on set (well, most of them anyway). If you’re just dying to know which actors were high on set, put on some 311 and keep reading.
Jack Nicholson is the last real Hollywood wild man, so it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise that he’s been high while working on a film. While filming Easy Rider, Nicholson had to smoke a joint while filming the campfire scene, and you better believe that he smoked a bunch of legit joints.
In a retrospective of the film, Nicholson said, “We were all stoned the night we shot the campfire scene. The speech about the UFOs looks improvised, but it was actually almost verbatim from the script. 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.”
Oh no, you guys, can you believe that one of your favorite teen heartthrobs can’t remember filming one of the greatest high school movies of all time? In 2013, Embry revealed that not only was he smoking ALL the weed while filming Can’t Hardly Wait, but that he also doesn’t even know what the movie is about. “I was a smoker and the world’s biggest pot head and probably smelled like a walking ashtray. Maybe that’s what those weird people are saying. I haven’t seen the movie all the way through, and I was stoned. I never read the script.”
But what’s the movie about Ethan? “Uh, uh, uh… It’s about a party right? Underage kids drinking and smoking and having underage sex, right?” As long as he still remembers every moment of filming Empire Records, everything should be fine.
Matthew Perry has been pretty open about his drug use throughout the ’90s, but it’s still crazy to think about the fact that he doesn’t remember some of the best moments from Friends. He told Larry King that he spent most of the mid ’90s taking Vicodin “mostly just to not drink as much as I was.” YIKES! Reading that mostly explains why he forgot half the run of his hit show.
When asked what his favorite episode, he responded: “I think the answer is, I don’t remember three years of it, so none of those. I was a little out of it at the time. Somewhere between seasons three and six.” Not even the episode where you were stuck in a box?!
Gunnar Hansen has alluded to being high while swinging a chainsaw around on camera in multiple interviews, but he saved the actual story of what happened for his memoirs. In his wildly entertaining biography of the filming of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Chainsaw Confidential: How We Made the World’s Most Notorious Horror Movie, Hansen explains how he accidentally got so effing high on set.
Obviously things got weird when the set caterer brought weed brownies: “I know I ate a couple – or more. They were really good. Smoothed me right out. I don’t really know who was stoned. I know I was…”
In 2016, Josh Duhamel played hard-partying Bill “Spaceman” Lee in the biographical film, and while he knew he was going to be smoking a joint in one of the scenes, he didn’t know he’d be smoking a joint. “The truth is the first day, the first shot of the movie, I was rolling a joint. Normally they make fake weed, but nobody told me it was real weed. So I smoked it and for the next several hours I was high and wasn’t supposed to be.”
The late, great Carrie Fisher has been very open about her past drug use, and while it might bum some people out that Princess Leia was high while saving the galaxy, it makes total sense that someone in a position like Fisher’s would need to get high while appearing in the biggest film series ever. She said, “We did cocaine on the set of Empire, in the ice planet. I didn’t even like coke that much. It was just a case of getting on whatever train I needed to take to get high.”
But then her drug use started to get the best of her, and the only reason she survived is because it was so hard to get coke. “Slowly I realized I was doing a bit more drugs than other people and losing my choice in the matter. If I’d been addicted to booze I’d be dead now, because you just go out and get it.”
Hold the phone, the hunky (kind of terrible) dad from The Parent Trap was seduced by the white lady in the ’80s? Is nothing sacred? Wow. Quaid wrote about how his addiction almost ruined his career in Newsweek. “By the time I was doing The Big Easy, in the late 1980s, I was a mess. I was getting an hour of sleep a night. I had a reputation for being a ‘bad boy,” which seemed like a good thing, but basically I just had my head stuck up my ass. I’d wake up, snort a line, and swear I wasn’t going to do it again that day. But then 4 o’clock rolled around, and I’d be right back down the same road like a little squirrel on one of those treadmills.”
It’s probably not a surprise that Eminem, a man who once rapped: “I been to mushroom mountain once or twice but who’s counting/But nothing compares to these blue and yellow purple pills” was high on the set of his movie where he played himself. According to an interview with Rolling Stone, he was doing Ambien throughout the filming of the movie: “We were doing 16 hours on the set, and you had a certain window where you had to sleep. One day somebody gave me an Ambien, and it knocked me the f*ck out. I was like, ‘I need this all the time.’ So I got a prescription. After four or five months, your tolerance starts building. You start breaking off another piece of the pill that’s supposed to be for tomorrow.”
It must be weird to be Rupert Grint. Not only are you the third wheel on the Harry Potter fandom motorcycle (was there a wizard cycle?), but the one movie you do with Shia LeBeouf turns out to be a total mess because your very famous co-star is on a bunch of LSD throughout filming.
Grint said that LeBeouf, “smashed the place up, got naked and kept seeing this owl. If anything will make you not do drugs, it’s watching that.” Not the owl! Anything but that!
Robert Downey Jr. has had a storied history of being completely messed up on movie sets and in life in general, but he says that he didn’t start getting high on set until 1987’s Less Than Zero, where he played the junkie/future version of himself, Julian. He told The Guardian, “Until that movie, I took my drugs after work and on the weekends. Maybe I’d turn up hungover on the set, but no more so than the stuntman. That changed on Less Than Zero. I was playing this junkie-f*ggot guy and, for me, the role was like the ghost of Christmas future. The character was an exaggeration of myself. Then things changed and, in some ways, I became an exaggeration of the character. That lasted far longer than it needed to last.”
Do you guys remember that scene in True Romance where Christian Slater does a drug deal with Bronson Pinchot on a roller coaster? Well Michael Rappaport was in that scene, and he was high as hell. According to Rapaport, “I don’t like roller coasters. They had to convince me to ride it, and I threw up, so we had to reshoot it a week later. The second time, they sedated me. Some shots show me smiling because I’m drugged out of my mind, and some show me crying because I honestly thought I was going to crap.”
The film’s director, Tony Scott remembered the scene as being even more of a mess, “The roller-coaster scene was difficult. Pinchot was sh*tting himself, and Rapaport was so scared that he dropped a bunch of Quaaludes and couldn’t say his lines.”
Of course Wesley Snipes was high on the set of Blade III. Who wouldn’t need to be stoned out of their mind when they were filming the third in a series of samurai vampire movies? Patton Oswalt, who co-starred in the film, remembers Snipes as being so so so high. “Wesley [Snipes] was just f*cking crazy in a hilarious way. He wouldn’t come out of his trailer, and he would smoke weed all day. Which is fine with me, because I had all these DVDs that I wanted to catch up on. We were in Vancouver, and it was always raining. I kept the door to my trailer open to smell the evening rain while I was watching a movie.”
Sounds like a pretty good way to pay your rent.