Some Roles Can Be Deadly

What makes a great actor?  One important skill is the ability to believe the part.  Actors sometimes practice roles for months to make their performance more authentic.  However, what happens when an actor plays a drug addict?  What happens when they go  around trying to convince themselves they have a disease of the brain that can kill them?

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Philip Seymour Hoffman: In Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, he plays a drug addict embezzler.  He died of a heroin overdose soon after attending AA.

Robin Williams: In the TV series Crazy Ones, he plays an alcoholic advertising exec. “I’ve been to rehab in wine country.”  Killed himself a day after attending AA.

Corey Monteith: In McCanick he plays a drug addicted street hustler – anything for a $50 fix.  He had recently gotten out of rehab at Betty Ford and killed himself after attending an AA meeting.

River Phoenix: Drug addicted hustler in My Own Private Idaho.  Died of “acute multiple drug intoxication” including heroin and cocaine in 1993.

Heath Ledger: Played a heroin addict in Candy.  Died from a mix of drugs while playing the Joker in Batman.

Actors more than anyone have the ability to magnify a small craving into a monumental obsession.  They are especially vulnerable during rough patches in their life, if they feel angry or upset about something.  And then they start taking drugs and feel the need to overdo it.  It’s like watching yourself in a movie.  You are powerless to intervene.

Most of us experience setbacks, frustrations, and humiliations.  But we don’t think we’re powerless so we survive.

Odds are that a great actor playing a drug addict doesn’t have much time left.  Especially if they’ve been to AA/12 Steps ‘treatment’, as many of these actors had just before they self-destructed.

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6 thoughts on “Some Roles Can Be Deadly”

  1. Jared Leto – played the addict in Requiem for a Dream. Now he may be cast as the Joker in the next Batman. I hope someone tells him that ‘addiction’ isn’t a real disease!

  2. I am so confused to what the true story about the Hoffman, Williams and Monteith. Is there any story behind this incident? Actually, based on Alcohol Rehabilitation Program Services, there are medication to apply to those people experiencing this kind of conditions. If they attend different types of meeting like AA and then there was something happening to them, what is the real cause of it? I’m so sorry for this kind of question, I’m just only asking. Thanks!

    1. They say at the meeting: “You’re a drug addict and if you ever use drugs again that will trigger your cravings and that will make you overdose and die.” Well now imagine that you’re a really good actor, and really really believe it. And then someone offers you drugs after the meeting….

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  3. Thanks. I was wondering how fresh the corrupted premise promulgated by AA was in their thoughts: They had a brain disease with no cure and it is not their fault.

  4. Did Hoffman, Williams and Monteith actually kill themselves after an AA meeting? How do you define, ” after?”

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