Ever thought that seeing actors smoke dirty old ciggies in movies, doesn’t quite match up with their detox-digging, yoga-loving Hollywood lifestyles?
Well you’d be right, because we all know that puffing on those lil’ white sticks of death ain’t cool, meaning that prop teams have had to come up with some ‘different’ ways of portraying smoking, as well as snorting, on screen.
Veteran prop master Jeff Butcher – who has worked on films like ‘Requiem for a Dream’, ‘The Wrestler’ and ‘Click’ – told Upvoted what’s actually real, and when the stars are “faking it”:
Obviously in years gone by when smoking was all trendy and that, actors used to puff on the real thing. Butcher says up until the 90s actors were general more than happy to smoke on screen, and cigarette companies were obviously super keen to get their brand on show.
But as smoking started to get a bad rep, actors started to light up less, and now tend to smoke nicotine-free, herbal cigarettes. In Non-Stop Liam Neeson, who was a former smoker, understandably refused to smoke, so Butcher ended up having to make hand rolled ciggies out of… chamomile tea leaves. Now that does sound more Hollywood.
Although some actors may be against getting high for real on screen, it turns out James Franco and Seth Rogen were all for it in the making of Pineapple Express. Well, if legal highs count… Butcher recalls that Franco recommended a product (apparently called wizard smoke):
“High grade, low priced legal bud. The stuff they used on Pineapple Express came from this place.”
Whatever they were smoking, they were pretty convincing:
Ray Liotta famously got sick of playing drug addicts in movies, specifically because of the amount of fake coke he had to snort:
“They used a laxative on Goodfells. I remember it was really sharp going down and it wasn’t at all pleasant. It really cleans you out.”
Not nice. In ‘Requiem for a Dream’ Jennifer Connelly and Jared Leto have the time of their lives snorting as much coke as their merry noses can handle… until it all goes harrowingly pear-shaped and his Mum starts talking to the fridge.
But what they’re actually snorting is a Vitamin B powder called ‘Inositol’, an all together different kind of hit, and something they apparently use when they’re cutting the real stuff. Butcher says they used the same thing – which reportedly gives a slight energy lift – in The Wrestler, causing Mickey Rourke to massively “freak out”:
“He was like, “I have anxiety issues – now you tell me?” He was truly upset, but he was okay a couple of minutes later.
Lesson learned: Do not spike Mickey Rourke with mystery vitamin powders.