Titanic movie: The night the cast and crew were hospitalised from PCP-spiked chowder

It wouldn’t be a wild exaggeration to say the most compelling part of Titanic’s story happened not on screen, but off.

And it had nothing to do with the feverish onscreen romance between Rose and Jack, or a ship splitting in two.

Because you can’t beat the eye-popping story of what happened on the Titanic set in Nova Scotia and the scores of cast and crew who ended up in a Canadian hospital in the middle of the night.

This week is the 25th anniversary of the release of Titanic, and that’s kicked off a round of reminiscences of a dramatic production.

Vulture spoke to two crew members about the infamous night when an unknown culprit spiked the clam chowder with PCP, a potent hallucinogenic drug.

According to Vulture, contemporaneous reports and recollections told to Vanity Fair, The Los Angeles Times and Vice in the years since the PCP incident, what happened erupted around midnight on August 9, 1996.

The production had been filming the modern-day sequences of the film, centred on an old Rose and the crew of deep-sea explorers led by Bill Paxton’s character.

Marilyn McAvoy, a standby painter, said things started to go haywire about 30 minutes after dinner. McAvoy said, “Everyone seemed confused. Everyone was having trouble getting their work done.”

An assistant director started to separate out the “bad crew” from the “good crew”, meaning those who appeared affected and those who were not.

Stream more entertainment news live & on demand with Flash. 25+ news channels in 1 place. New to Flash? Try 1 month free. Offer available for a limited time only >

According to Titanic crew member Jake Clarke, who hadn’t eaten the chowder because of a shellfish allergy, “We had a room for the grips and electricians, and one of the guys started talking really hyper.

“He’s a big guy, like six-four, and he says, ‘Do you guys feel OK? Because I don’t. I feel like I’m on something, and believe me, I would know.’

“He was just chattering on like that. And just as he was saying this, we saw James Cameron run by the door and this extra running behind him.

“He said, ‘There’s something in me! Get it out!.’”

By 1am, the cast and crew flooded into the nearby hospital, Dartmouth General Hospital. “They did not know what to do with us, it became pretty chaotic,” McAvoy said.

Estimates of between 50 and 80 people were in hospital that night, among them, Cameron and Paxton.

“Bill Paxton was a real sweetie,” set decorator Claude Roussel said. “He was sitting next to me in the hallway of the hospital, and he was kind of enjoying the buzz. Meanwhile, (crew) were going down the hallway doing wheelies in wheelchairs.”

Cameron himself recalled in 2009, “People are moaning and crying, wailing, collapsed on tables and gurneys. The (director of photography) Caleb Deschanel, is leading a number of crew down the hall in a highly vocal conga line. You can’t make this stuff up.”

Clarke said he remembered Cameron and Paxton strolling back on set about 4am. “Their eyes were beet-red, like unbelievably. Jim had a bottle of scotch and Bill Paxton had a bag of joints because he was a real stoner.

“I’m kind of laughing about it because I didn’t eat the chowder and then I’m in the trailer smoking a joint.”

The health department and the police had to become involved and testing showed the chowder had been laced with PCP, also known as angel dust.

A criminal investigation was started, but wrapped up two years later with no arrests and no answers.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *