Smoking is a disgusting, terrible habit. There is no reason why you should be smoking. With PSA aside, smoking doesn’t look amazing in movies. But, is burning in film real? TheCaptainCaptain, a Reddit user, asked the Explain Like I’m Five Community this question; “Do movie actors smoke, or is it some form of a trick?”
The answer is straightforward. Yes, movie actors smoke. And yes, some scenes involve tricks. So, let’s look at examples.
Actors Smoked Real Cigarettes in Movies
Between the 1970s and late 90s, marketers wanted to have tobacco products or cigarettes placed on big screens. Actors could call cigarette companies and say, “I am casting a movie, and I need cigarettes.” The company would send the caller a case right away. Jeff Butcher, a renowned prop master, used to work on films like Requiem for a Dream, Click, and The Wrestler. He says that he got a giant Silk Cut case of cigarettes for the Mystery Train movie. He adds that they smoked all of them.
But, things have changed with the best box mods replacing cigarettes in movie scenes. Today, many movies are featuring the best stars vaping. Thus, vaping is replacing smoking in movies. So, will it stop as smoking did after some time?
Smoking in the movies was a common habit until after state governments and big tobacco reached a settlement agreement in 1998. This agreement prohibited the placement of cigarette products in films. Additionally, health advocates launched smoke-free campaigns that have led to the removal of smoking scenes in films. Since this time, most movies, especially those rated as PG, G, and PG-13, are smoke-free. Here is a famous smoking scene of a 1989 film.
Modern Actors Go for Herbal, Nicotine-Free Cigarettes
Some movie actors are real-life smokers. However, they don’t want to smoke cigarettes throughout the day. As such, they go for herbal cigarettes. These do not have nicotine or tobacco. For instance, Butcher buys Ecstacy Cigarettes for his movie projects. The site indicates that cigarettes make of plant materials and non-addictive herbs.
Mad Men have probably smoked around 200,000 of them when casting their movie scenes. Thus, they are their preferred cigarettes.
Honeyrose is another renowned brand. It adds flavorings like honey, vanilla, and strawberry. Although herbal cigarettes could be an alternative, there is nothing like safe smoke, according to the Bureau of Consumer Affairs for the Federal Trade Commission.
For actors with special conditions or allergies, Butcher ensures that custom-made, herbal cigarettes order for them. He recounted when he was working with Liam Neeson on Non-Stop. Liam is a former smoker. Therefore, he didn’t want to smoke cigarettes. As such, getting never used by him vape mods, he remembers how they hand-rolled cigarettes they made with a machine and chamomile tea. Thus, they ended up smoking tea.
For Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power film, Butcher located a shop that hand-rolled chamomile cigars in Little Italy, Bronx. Therefore, he asked the shop to make some cigars for Mario Van Peebles.
More often, movie makers work around the needs of actors. Natalia Portman starred in the film Leon: The Professional, at the age of 12. The primary concern for her parents was that she would be involved in smoking scenes. Therefore, they entered a contract with Luc Besson, the director. This contractor said that Portman would have a maximum of five cigarettes throughout the film.
She was also not to be seen exhaling or inhaling smoke. Her character was to quit smoking during the film. Here is her interview.
By getting the right lengths for cigarettes, prop masters pay keen attention. Actors watch movie rehearsal and then time out what the director expects to happen. They work with script supervisors to ensure they are on the same page in terms of cigarette appearance.
Butcher notes that he ensures that cigarettes are cut with scissors to ensure their right size. He only lights cigarettes when sucking on it with a keyboard vacuum. He allows the cigarette to smoke for about a second. It creates the right ash amount on it before passing it to the actor.
Other Things Actors Smoke
You’ve probably seen actors with the best vape mods and thought they inhale nicotine. Well, some actors smoke other things in films. For instance, Butcher notes that he has bought fake marijuana from a company that delivers low priced, high-grade legal bud. He was connected to the company by James Franco. It is the stuff they used in the Pineapple Express film.
So, does using the legal bud make a person high? Well, the company says it provides users a multidimensional smoking experience that is different from what they’ve tried before.
Butcher smoked this stuff enormously in the Going the Distance film. He said that he tried to season his best box mod, but it didn’t feel anything. Nevertheless, Drew Barrymore, the scene actress, might have had a different experience.
In the middle of laughter, Butcher says that she started behaving silly after smoking it. The director approached Butcher in a panic, telling him to do something. He noted that the actress was so stoned, but Butcher thought she was acting the character.
In some cases, actors put what seems like stronger stuff in the best box mods. For instance, Butcher says the almost uses inositol always to depict cocaine. It is a vitamin B powder used as a cutting agent for cocaine. According to Butcher, this stuff can give an actor a slight lift of energy.
Mickey Rourke was not told this by the director while filming The Wrestler. Butcher says that he started freaking out on feeling something, saying that he had anxiety issues. Butcher notes that though he was upset, he was okay after some minutes.
Prop masters also use ingredients like powdered milk, baking soda, and powdered sugar as faux cocaine in the best mods. It is what you can call movie magic.