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Forever Starlet
Celebrating young actresses of yesterday and today
Smoking Scenes in Films 
11th-Oct-2009 05:15 pm
dropped jaw

Here's our great big breakdown of young actresses who smoked cigarettes (or rather, pretended to) on film or TV. Please let us know in comments if we've forgotten any.

 Tatum O'Neal in Paper Moon
Tatum O'Neal, Paper Moon (1973). Age: Turned 9 during filming. Tatum's character, Addie, in addition to being con-artist with a vocabulary full of swear words, also smokes in several scenes throughout the movie. It's obvious that she's a pro at it and doesn't intend to quit. Tatum wrote in her autobiography, "Peter [Bogdanovich, the director] wanted me to smoke in the movie, but the cigarettes were filled with lettuce, not tabacco. They glued sandpaper to my fingers so I could strike a match one-handed."

 Natalie Portman in Leon: The Professional
Natalie Portman, Leon: The Professional (1994). Age: Turned 12 during filming. Natalie's character, Mathilda, smokes in several scenes, but she quits toward the end of the film. In a documentary featured on the ten-year anniversary DVD, Natalie recalled, "One of the things my parents were particularly concerned about was the smoking in the movie. They had a very detailed agreement with Luc [Besson, the director] about what could be used. I was only allowed to have five cigarettes in my hand during the entire shooting of the film. I wasn't allowed to inhale, they weren't allowed to be real cigarettes. But you can actually see in the movie, you can see me putting them to my lips, but you never see me blowing out, or you just see me holding a cigarette. And then, the other thing was that she has to quit during the movie, which is also in there. You see her -- you see Leon scold Mathilda for smoking, and then later on, when she's alone, she just throws a cigarette away."

 Thora Birch in Now and Then
Thora Birch, Gaby Hoffmann, & Christina Ricci, Now and Then (1995). Ages: 13-15. Thora, Gaby, and Christina play 12-year-old best friends who briefly light up in an attempt to look cool, but they choke on their cigarettes almost immediately. None of the young actresses actually seem to inhale, with the possible exception of Christina, who at 15 was the oldest among them and appears to take a long drag. Gaby also smoked in the TV movie Freaky Friday, which she filmed around the same time.

 Dakota Fanning in Hounddog
Dakota Fanning, Hounddog (2007). Age: 12. Dakota's character, Lewellen, sticks an unlit cigarette in her mouth and pretends to puff on it while playing dress-up, but she never actually smokes.

 Kiernan Shipka on Mad Men
Kiernan Shipka, "Mountain King," a 2008 episode of Mad Men. Age: 9. Kiernan's character, Sally, wears this surprised expression when her mother finds her experimenting with a cigarette in the bathroom. When asked her favorite scene of the second season, Kiernan answered, "The smoking scene was pretty fun." Set in the 1960s, Mad Men is certainly one of the most smoking-heavy shows on TV, but don't worry: Every cigarette on the show, even those smoked by the adult actors, is an herbal fake that contains no tabacco or nicotine. 

 AnnaSophia Robb in Sleepwalking
AnnaSophia Robb, Sleepwalking (2008). Age: Turned 13 during filming. AnnaSophia's character, Tara, smokes in one scene, while lounging by a pool; she then jumps into the pool while fully-clothed and wearing roller skates. This and the smoking might have been to impress two young male onlookers. When asked in an interview if she really smoked, AnnaSophia said, "No, it's an herbal cigarette. Charlize [Theron, who played her mother] made me promise not to ever smoke, which I don't want to. I think it's really gross. I did have to learn and Charlize did teach me, but I only smoked probably two or three puffs. I never inhaled."

But while these young actresses all pretended to smoke and may have made it look glamorous, one young actress actually smoked in real life -- and it was anything but glamorous for her. Drew Barrymore doesn't often talk about what she went through as a kid, and to look at how successful, confident, and talented she is now, you'd never guess what a troubled past she has. The most shocking segment of her interview on Inside the Actor's Studio is behind the cut.

Host James Lipton: When did you smoke your first cigarette?
Drew Barrymore: When I was nine. [nervous laugh] I'm laughing 'cause it's so sick.
JL: What about alcohol? When did that start?
DB: I was at a party in North Carolina. I think I was doing Cat's Eye. Like, eleven -- nine, ten.
JL: And what did you drink?
DB: Champagne.
JL: What about grass?
DB: Uh, twelve. I really was like a bad drug commercial. One thing did lead to another.
JL: Did the drugs make you gain weight?
DB: Yeah, I got a lot of baby fat at a certain point. I was, you know, this chubby, stoned twelve-year-old kid. Not a pretty picture.
JL: How old were you when you tried coke?
DB: Thirteen. In club scenes in New York.
JL: Were people encouraging you? Were there enablers?
DB: They just allowed me to do it, you know? It was either cute and funny to them, or I seemed mature enough to handle it.
JL: When and how did you enter rehab?
DB: When I was thirteen. My mom put me in there.
JL: And what occasioned it?
DB: I came home drunk and, uh, trashed the house. Pretty.
JL: Where did she send you?
DB: She sent me to a lockdown facility in New York.
JL: And how long were you there?
DB: A year.
JL: How long?
DB: A year.
JL: My God, Drew, that's... impressive.
DB: Did you say impressive or depressive?
JL: It's impressive. It's impressive because I'm looking at you now, and I'm so impressed with you now. That's why it's impressive.
DB: Thank you.


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