Platoon might be considered one of the best war movies ever made, but that doesn’t mean every day on set was plain sailing. In fact, one day on set, all the cast got so baked that they weren’t even able to film anything! This slightly-embarrassing story was told by Willem Dafoe back in 2002 as part of a making-of DVD featurette for the ‘80s movie.
Recalling the drama movie cast’s encounter with the devil’s lettuce, Dafoe explained, “Someone said ‘Hey, you know, let’s blow some grass,’ and we could feel Oliver [Stone, director] would disapprove, but he couldn’t know about it either. So, a bunch of people did, and got really high, and were all ready for the scene. But, of course, it takes time to set things up, so by the time we were ready to shoot everyone had come down, they weren’t high anymore, and everyone felt tired and terrible and useless!”
As it turns out, that wasn’t the only crazy thing to happen on set. In an interview with The Guardian, cast member Charlie Sheen revealed how Stone put the cast through an intensive military boot-camp to help them get in character.
“Oliver dumped us in the jungle and put us through a gruelling training course,” he recalled. “It was insane. You had to be treated according to your rank. Willem and Tom Berenger, playing two sergeants, were in command and I was an FNG – a ‘fucking new guy.’ It really felt as if I was expected to scrub latrines, which I actually ended up doing in the movie.”
He continued, “I thought we’d go out in the day then return to the hotel at night, but at sundown on the first day, there was no bus pulling up. I looked at Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker and said: ‘I guess we’re just staying here.’ It was a shock – but I don’t know if we could have captured the authenticity without that intense boot camp. Relationships that were forged there still exist to this day. We survived together.”
If you’re feeling nostalgic for Stone’s Vietnam War trilogy, check out Platoon on streaming service Paramount Plus. Otherwise, hang tight for the Oppenheimer release date: the new movie will be arriving in theatres in July.