After they land a role in a movie, actors always look for anything they can do to ensure they deliver the best performance they can. Whether it’s physical training, getting lost in a character’s psyche, or studying up on history, there are several methods they turn to. But sometimes, it’s as simple as getting a drink or two. Some of Hollywood’s biggest films feature sequences that involve intoxicated thespians. Here are 10 actors who got drunk to film their scenes.
Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis
In one of the most talked-about sequences in 2010, Portman and Kunis did a love scene together in the awards contender, Black Swan. It was new territory for the two actresses, and they needed a little liquid courage before filming. Director Darren Aronofsky has said that his stars shared a bottle of tequila to calm their nerves. Kunis has denied this claim, but others on-set have confirmed alcohol was involved. In the end, Portman won an Oscar for her performance, and Kunis received much acclaim, so it seems like it was worth it.
Shark hunter Quint is perhaps the most memorable character in Jaws thanks to his eccentric personality and one fantastic monologue he delivers while on board the Orca. Quint tells Brody and Hooper the story of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the horrifying shark attack the crew endured. Shaw thought it would be for the best to shoot the scene drunk, since it called for the characters to be drinking at night. However, he was too inebriated and as a result, nothing could be used from the takes. Regretting what transpired, Shaw asked Steven Spielberg for another try later that night, and delivered the speech as seen in the film.
Somewhat surprisingly, Andrews admitted that she was drunk while performing the “Do-Re-Mi” sequence in The Sound of Music. The farmer that owned the land near where they were filming brewed his own schnapps in a barn, which Andrews would frequent when she practiced her guitar. She kept taking shots as the day went on, and by the time it was ready to film, Andrews was fairly hammered. Not only does this add a whole new layer to a famous song, it also illustrates the actress’ supreme talent at her craft. Watching it, nobody can tell what’s going on.
Brad Pitt and Edward Norton
Some off set drinking led to a famous bit in Fight Club. During their downtime, Pitt and Norton got a little drunk and started hitting golf balls in an attempt to whack the catering truck. Director David Fincher began filming them and gave the two actors some lines to create a whole new scene for the movie. The result was a humorous moment that highlighted the pair’s chemistry and the character’s growing friendship. It wouldn’t be surprising if alcohol was used to capture some more of this drama’s best scenes, but this is the only reported instance.
Depp returned to the world of Hunter S. Thompson in The Rum Diary, and aptly made sure he had plenty of alcohol to do the job right. While filming the movie, Depp and his director Bruce Robinson kept a bottle of Chivas Regal close by. Apparently, Depp liked to treat himself to the drink rather liberally, which resulted in him being drunk for portions of the finished product. Though critics and audiences didn’t take too kindly to Rum Diary, the consensus was that Depp’s performance was typically great, so it’s safe to say the actor tried his best.
Billy Bob Thornton
Not your usual Christmas movie, Bad Santa earned itself a passionate following due to its extremely vulgar content. The star of the madness is Thornton as an alcoholic department store Santa, who clearly is not the right fit for the job. It shouldn’t come as a shock then, that Thornton has admitted he frequently got drunk during principal photography in an attempt to better portray the character. His methods worked, and Bad Santa went on to become a rude and crude holiday classic. With a sequel on the horizon, it’ll be interesting to see if Thornton gets hammered for Santa again.
The drama Lawless is set during the Prohibition era and focuses on three brothers running a bootlegging business, so alcohol played a heavy role in the narrative. It was also a major tool for star Shia LaBeaouf, who got drunk off of moonshine every day to get into character. Unfortunately, he got very intoxicated, and his behavior upset his co-stars. Mia Wasikowska took greatest offense, trying to quit the movie due to her discomfort. Maybe someone should have stepped in and told Shia that there are other ways to act drunk than to actually be plastered.
Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo
Super Mario Bros. is widely considered as one of the worst films ever made. That’s an opinion not lost on its two stars, who quickly realized that the quality was not up to par when they were filming. In an effort to make their job more fun, Hoskins and Leguizamo would drink scotch between takes and did some scenes drunk. One in particular caused harm to Hoskins. While driving a van, Leguizamo broke too hard and slammed the door on his co-star’s hand. As a result, Hoskins had to wear a cast for portions of production, which is visible in the film.
The troubled production of Apocalypse Now is well documented, and just reading about it can stress somebody out. For the people working on it, it was all kinds of hell and lead to heavy amounts of drinking. Star Sheen took part in this, most famously for the opening scene in the hotel room. He got drunk right before filming and told Francis Ford Copolla to roll the cameras. Sheen’s performance here set the tone for an intense ride, as he punched a mirror, started weeping, and almost attacked Copolla off-camera. It’s tough to watch at times, but there’s no denying it’s a great moment.
Robbie’s big breakthrough came as Naomi, Jordan Belfort’s wife in The Wolf of Wall Street. The film is a celebration of excess, and features a ton of explicit content – including numerous sex scenes. Robbie is in a few of these herself, and she was nervous to bare it all on camera to film with Leonardo DiCaprio. To calm herself down, Robbie said she took three shots of tequila before shooting the first one. It definitely paid off, as the actress stole the show and became a household name. The chemistry between her and Leo was electric and made Wolf stand out.