Melanie Griffith had to pay $80,000 (£60,000) to cover the cost of production delays caused by her showing up to the Working Girl set intoxicated.
The actress recalled how her battle with alcohol and drugs affected the production of the Mike Nichols-directed 1988 romantic comedy, which also starred Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver, for the new book, Life Isn’t Everything: Mike Nichols, as Remembered by 150 of His Closest Friends.
“There were a lot of things that happened on Working Girl that I did that were not right,” Griffith shared. “It was the late ’80s (and) there was a lot going on, party-wise, in New York. There was a lot of cocaine. There was a lot of temptation.”
One day, the 62-year-old got drunk as she played pool with her co-star Alec Baldwin and continued to drink alcohol in her motorhome once she had returned to set. She was subsequently unable to walk down some stairs in a scene with Baldwin.
“Mike got so mad at me, he wouldn’t talk to me. Mike Haley, the first AD (assistant director), just came up and said, ‘We’re shutting down. Go home’, and I knew I was in so much trouble.
“The next morning, he took me to breakfast and said, ‘Here’s what’s going to happen: You’re going to pay for last night out of your pocket. We’re not going to report you to the studio, but you have to pay for what it cost’, and it was $80,000. They wanted to get my attention – and they really did. It was a very humbling, embarrassing experience, but I learned a lot from it.”
Producer Douglas Wick added that Nichols, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 83, was “genuinely distressed” by the drama.
“I was surprised by how genuinely distressed he was, how in pain about it he was, how much he was traumatised by it, and I think the reason is that it made great work impossible,” he recalled.
Griffith checked into a rehab facility just a few weeks after the film wrapped. She ended up returning to rehab in 2000 and again in 2009.
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