“The best research for playing a drunk is being a British actor for 20 years,” says Michael Caine. That hasn’t stopped plenty of American actors from giving it a shot. This week, Johnny Depp appears in The Rum Diary, based on a typically boozy (not to mention druggy) book by Hunter Thompson. Even if you try to ignore the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Depp has had years of experience to hone his on-screen stagger. But he’s not the first – and definitely not the craziest – actor to bring the party to work. Below, we revisit some of the best drunken performances committed to film.
Johnny Depp – The Rum Diary
Hunter Thompson wrote this novel at 22, when he worked as journalist on Puerto Rico, just as the main character does. While the story probably is mostly fictional, you have to suspect there’s a grain of truth to the level of drinking involved. Depp and director Bruce Robinson honored that legacy on set, where a bottle of Chivas Regal and pack of Dunhills were set out in honor of the late author. Says Robinson: “Johnny and I would stick our fingers in (the Chivas Regal) and put the perfume of the whiskey behind our ears to celebrate Hunter.”