Blues Brothers “had cocaine budget”

How John Belushi's drug habit nearly scuppered 1980 classic

Drug use was so widespread on the set of ‘The Blues Brothers’ that the film had its own budget for cocaine, according to Dan Aykroyd.

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In a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the 1980 comedy in Vanity Fair, the ‘Saturday Night Live’ star said: “We had a budget in the movie for cocaine for night shoots. Everyone did it, including me. Never to excess, and not ever to where I wanted to buy it or have it. But John [Belushi, his co-star], he just loved what it did. It sort of brought him alive at night - that superpower feeling where you start to talk and converse and figure you can solve all the world’s problems.”

Boys in blue... John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in comedy classic (Credit: Rex Features)

‘The Blues Brothers’ is a cult classic today, but was a troubled production that went way over budget, partly because of Belushi’s drug problems.

Director John Landis told Vanity Fair: “[Belushi] was f**ked up. It became a battle to keep him alive and to keep him working on the movie.”

Landis would tell new additions to the cast: “if you see John doing drugs, stop him” and describes finding a ‘Scarface’-sized quantity of cocaine in Belushi’s trailer.

Even after finally finishing the film, Landis said many cinema chains initially refused to show it. They told him: “’This is a black movie and white people won’t see it.’ Most of the prime houses wouldn’t book it.”

The film ended up making more than £70 million (from a budget of £18 million), but there would be no happy ending for Belushi, who died in 1982 after taking a speedball (cocaine and heroin injected at the same time).