Oliver Stone kicked his cocaine habit writing *the* coke movie, Scarface

Oliver Stone went to extreme lengths to focus on writing 1983’s Scarface, moving to Paris to kick his coke habit.

oliver stone scarface

In the 1980s, you would have been hard-pressed to find anybody who had access to cocaine not on cocaine. And that especially went for those in the world of entertainment. As such, it was only a matter of time before a movie would give it the spotlight…and that movie was 1983’s Scarface. Appropriately enough, Oliver Stone — then a serious lover of booger sugar — was tasked to write Scarface. All he needed to do was kick his habit…

In an excerpt from the new book “The World Is Yours: The Story of Scarface, Oliver Stone remembered being in serious need of a hit, having just helmed flop The Hand. At the time, he admitted, “I was on cocaine. I was doing cocaine, and I was really an addict, without knowing it.” He added, “I did all the research for Scarface on cocaine, in and out of the country. It was quite interesting because I understood that world better than if I had not done it. Al [Pacino] , on the contrary, had never done anything like that. He’d never even done cocaine. So, he didn’t know.” Nice flex, Oliver!

But to truly focus, he had to get rid of his habit, even going so far as to move to Paris to zero in on the writing. Why the City of Light? “Getting out of the country to a country where there was not much of it, there—in France, in the winter—it was perfect.” The tactic worked, with Stone able to successfully pull off the challenge of removing himself from addiction — at least the best an addict can.

What resulted was a nearly 170-page script that would lead to one of the wildest rises to cult fandom in the history of movies, lending to a culture in and of itself, inspiring filmmakers, rappers and even pro wrestlers, as Scott Hall modeled his Razor Ramon persona partly off of Tony Montana. As over the top as it can be, Scarface has marked itself as one of the essential gangster movies, especially for those who love cinematic violence and a once-recording-setting number of f bombs.

After Scarface, Oliver Stone turned it around in a huge way. OK, so Year of the Dragon was a tough sell as a post-Heaven’s Gate Michael Cimino film, but Salvador is stellar, Platoon took home Best Picture, Wall Street capitalized on the ethos of the ‘80s, Talk Radio is brilliant, and Born on the Fourth of July might be Stone’s masterpiece. See what happens when you ditch that nose candy, kids?

Source: GQ

About the Author

1832 Articles Published

Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with JoBlo.com periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.