The cocaine budget for the Blues Brothers was thought to be something of a joke by some. But quite honestly it was about as real as it got. Back in those days a lot of actors were snorting lines and taking other recreational drugs as a common habit, but few were doing nearly as much as John Belushi. It’d be fun to think that all of his bits in every movie he’d ever made were done without any influence from the white powder, but it seems like that would contradict the stories that have been told about how much he actually took in. Just from what director John Landis cited about finding a mountain of cocaine in Belushi’s trailer one day it seems like the star might have been on a quick downward spiral to the finish.
It’s too bad really since Belushi was one of the funniest comedians of his era and had only a few peers that could have easily matched him for his genius. By all accounts he was a difficult man to get to know at times but he was still a teddy bear for the most part. Outwardly he was a fun, carefree, very sensitive man. But he had his dark side as well, and many of his costars saw it more than once. Plus his drug problems had begun to impact his work in a big way by the time he got to the set of the Blues Brothers. With some people he was always on his best behavior but when it was time to get his snort on then there wasn’t a lot to stop him from going a little overboard with it.
The fact that Blues Brothers had run so far over budget and over its allotted time for filming didn’t help. The studio execs were constantly making life miserable for the director who had no choice but to track John down from day to day when he couldn’t be found for filming. In fact there were only two people that could reliably reign John in, and one of them tended to lose patience with him every now and again. No matter what though John’s wife Judy and his friend and costar Dan Akroyd didn’t give up on him. The problem was that they couldn’t stop him from doing his thing either.
Drugs were readily available at all times on the set or wherever John happened to be. People wanted to hang out with him, they wanted to provide drugs and get stoned with him, and they wanted to get to know him in any way they possibly could. Drugs were a huge part of this and as an addict, not just a recreational user but an addict, John was more than happy to oblige. The small mountain cocaine that John Landis found in his trailer was quickly flushed down the toilet much to Belushi’s chagrin, but he knew very well that if he didn’t straighten out eventually he was going to be dead in a few years.
The sad part about that is that his time was up just a couple of years later.