25 years later, no one knows who created Titanic Soup

Photo: CBS via Getty Images

When the clock struck midnight on August 9, 1996, it appeared Titanic The group was erupting into chaos. Filming had already stopped for what, in the context of the late shoot, would have been considered lunch – in this case, the seafood chowder so tasty that some people ate three or four dishes. They didn’t know that this was a mistake. Sensing the group’s disorientation, an assistant director divided everyone into two groups: a “good cast” on one side, and a “bad cast” on the other. The debut had nothing to do with the quality of anyone’s work and everything to do with who was suddenly on a high level of PCP.

“We had room for knobs and electricians, and one of the guys started talking really hyper,” says crew member Jake Clark. “He’s a big guy, like a six and a four, and he’s like, ‘Are you guys feeling alright? ‘Cause I don’t. I feel like I’m on to something, and believe me, I’ll know. He was just chatty like that. And as he was saying this, we saw James Cameron running by the door.” And this extra one is running after him. He said: There is something in me! He brings it out!'”

At first, Cameron was suspicious of what’s known as “red tide,” a naturally occurring toxin that can make shellfish dangerous to eat. Actually, someone spiked this soup. Twenty-five years later, no one knows who and why. Even the police investigation could not find the culprit. Therefore, theories remain. Could it have been a disgruntled crew member who worked his way into drafting services after being fired up a storm by the famous manager? Was he a purveyor of their employment complaints? joke gone away? Maybe someone from the “Hollywood crowd,” as the CEO of the catering group puts it Entertainment Weekly At the time, he was trying to start a misleading “party thing” about what it was supposed to be TitanicLast night in Nova Scotia before moving production to Mexico?

Within an hour, the “Bad Crew” had slept. When the sober staff tried to keep the situation under control, the intoxicating group, which included Cameron and actor Bill Paxton, flocked to nearby Dartmouth General Hospital. Some were afraid. The others had a ball. “Bill Paxton was a true sweetheart,” says Claude Roussel, an interior designer who is less stoned than some of his colleagues. “He was sitting next to me in the hospital hallway, and he was kind of enjoying the commotion. Meanwhile, handlers were going down the hallway and I was doing wheelchair stunts.” Nurses handed out liquid charcoal, hoping to protect against what they initially thought was food poisoning. There was one person who ate four dishes until 10:00 the next morning, according to Clark, whose shellfish allergy kept him from chowder.

Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio were lucky they weren’t near Operation Halifax, home to TitanicThe contemporary framing device involving Paxton treasure hunter and elderly Rose DeWitt Bukater (86-year-old Gloria Stewart, who either ate half a bowl of clam chowder or dined at a restaurant that night, depending on which source you ask) . Then the most expensive movie ever made, Titanic He sometimes seemed as doomed as the ship he pictured. Cameron once said The New Yorker There was a feeling of “catastrophe about the whole production”. By the time post-production finished, the project was $100 million over budget and several months behind schedule. Obsessed with period details, Cameron poured money into real caviar and authentic Edwardian rugs. The meals on the set, Clark recalled, were as “over the top” as anything else.

The PCP incident became part of behind-the-scenes lore almost as soon as it happened, causing another headache for the suits at Paramount and Fox, which were co-financing the film. On August 27, the Nova Scotia Department of Health sent producer Jon Landau a letter saying that its examination confirmed that lobster soup contained PCP, a hallucinogen also known as angel dust. “I have handed this investigation over to the Halifax Regional Police Service, and I am sure they will be in touch with you,” health officer Meredith Blake wrote. The next day, the police issued a statement announcing the criminal investigation. Two weeks later, the ordeal was a headline EW. (Landau and Blake did not respond to Vulture’s requests for comment.)

“By the time we got back from eating, about 30 minutes later, I started to notice something was wrong,” Marilyn McAvoy, a standby illustrator who creates various tools, told Vice in 2017. Everyone was having a hard time getting their work done. … Collectively, we walked through those hospital doors at 1 AM. They didn’t know what to do with us. It became very chaotic.”

Somewhere between 50 and 80 people spent some or all of that night in Dartmouth. Eventually they were put into individual “compartments,” according to McAvoy’s description, but there was no stopping the agony. or Euphoria erupted. “People moaning and crying, sobbing, collapsing on tables and stretchers,” Cameron said. Vanity Fair In 2009. DP Caleb Deschanel leads a number of crew down the hall in a loud line-up. You can’t make these things up.”

Amidst the turmoil, Paxton gets her out of there. “I said, ‘Jim, I’m not going to hang out here.'” This is nonsense, he told the Los Angeles Times times in 2015. “‘I’m going to go back… wander back to the set and just drink a can of beer,’ which I did. It seemed to help.”

Back in the group, healthy people were essentially isolated. Clark remembers hanging out in Winnebago. Around 4 a.m., Cameron and Paxton walked in. “Their eyes were red like beets, incredibly,” Clark says. “Jim had a bottle of scotch, and Bill Paxton had a bag of knuckles because he was a real stoner. I kind of laugh about it because I didn’t eat clam chowder, and then I’m out there in the trailer smoking a knuckle.” Cameron was glad he was given an extra day of production to finish a scene that could not be completed due to all the stuttering.

As the sun rose, those who had been to the hospital descended from their highest levels. No one died or was poisoned. Most of them returned to their accommodation to sleep so they could return for additional night shoots. He grabbed his guitar with one fist and wrote a song about it all. “It was just a weird experience,” says Russell.

Canadian investigation intensified Titanic He spent months filming Kate-and-Leo’s ambitious flashback sequences in Rosarito, Mexico. News of the PCP debacle quickly traveled south, actor Billy Zane recalls. (“Those kids had all the fun,” he jokes.) Most of the Nova Scotia crew didn’t go to Rosarito, but at least one craft service worker did. It was rumored that he “was taken away at gunpoint by the Mexican police because someone else on the crew said, ‘Oh, I think it was him,'” says Clark. At least, “that’s the word I got.”

As suspicious accusations flew in, the espionage continued for two and a half years with no results. The case was officially closed in February 1999, which means that the perpetrator(s) are still at large.

Despite the unwanted drugs, the injuries put in, and boatloads of money spent, Titanic He went to — well, you know how the story ends. It was bigger than massive, which made the off-screen drama more or less worthwhile. Dancing a conga line while hallucinating in a Canadian hospital at 2am doesn’t necessarily sound like a rotten time, does it? If nothing else, it led to lasting memories and humorous memorabilia.

“One of the art department guys made T-shirts, and he recreated chowder on the corner of the T-shirt,” says Clark. He gave that to a group of local crew. Underneath it said, “Good crew, bad crew.”

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