Don Draper smells drowsy in Mad Men, Mark Renton did everything God has forbidden in Trainspotting 2 and the Marvel superheroes on Netflix drinking from the bottle all day long. They actually smoke, drink and sniff a lot in films and series.
Cigarettes in films and series
From the 1970s to the early 1990s cigarette manufacturers were eager to show their smoking goods in films. Actors smoked real cigarettes on the set at that time.
“You called a manufacturer, said you needed cigarettes for a movie and before you knew it you got a pair of slippers on the film set,” explains Jeff Butcher in an interview with Upvoted. He was a proprietor for, among other things, the films Click, The Wrestler and Requiem for a Dream. “For the film Mystery Train we received so many boxes from Silk Cigarettes that the whole crew could still smoke for months.”
Nowadays there are hardly any actors who really smoke in films and series. Take advertising man Don Draper from the Mad Men series. There are few scenes to think of in which he does not smoke a cigarette. But John Hamm, who plays Draper’s role, is anything but a smoker.
That’s why Ecstasy Smokes was smoked on the set of Mad Men. No, those are not cigarettes that you will cuddle on a dance floor. “There is no tar and nicotine in these cigarettes, so they are very healthy”, Hamm joked against Gothamist. It is indeed herbal cigarettes, made purely from non-addictive materials. Still slightly harmful, but not nearly as bad as real cigarettes.
Cocaine in films and series
You would think that actors in films do not really sniff, but they do blow a powder inside. In the past, milk powder was a popular replacement for coke, nowadays all actors are actually using inositol. This is a vitamin B powder that has almost exactly the same structure as cocaine. Inosotol is also cut with real cocaine to increase the volume.
The vitamin B powder also gives a slight energy boost. Micky Rourke was completely upset with the stuff during the recording of The Wrestler. “What the hell did you gave me,” he said. But a few minutes later he was ok again, “said Butcher, who had laid the inosotol for him.
About the genius Mafia film Scarface was long rumored that Al Pacino in his role as Tony Montana sniffed real cocaine, because after that film, he still suffered from his nose for a long time. But it really turned out to be milk powder. “Because it was milk powder, I still had problems with my nose for a long time. Years later I even found some kind of piece. I do not know what happened to my nose, but something has changed, “Al Pacino said in an interview.
Cannabis in films and series
In American films and series in which joints are run, the legal bud of International Oddities is often used. That company sells different types of fakeweed, which can not be distinguished from real. According to the company, you get a slight high from the legal bud, but not enough to make the work impossible.
Furthermore, they also use herbal tobacco, oregano or dried basil. Although this seems less like the real stuff. Nowadays, however, you have more and more proprietary companies such as Independent Studio Services, where you can also order kilos of fake weed.
Alcohol in films and series
Instead of clear spirits, water is simply used, dark drinks such as whiskey are usually replaced by lukewarm tea and beer by alcohol-free beer or iced tea with carbonic acid. Red wine is often replaced by cranberry juice.
Of course there are exceptions. For example, in the British series Coupling by Patrick – played by Ben Miles – Guinness is regularly drunk. This black beer is only so difficult to copy, that the director and actors decided to drink the real Guinness. And the story goes that Brad Pitt and Edward Norton were really drunk when they went night golfing in Fight Club.