From Carrie Fisher’s shirtless surprise for Japanese tourists to Gary Busey getting dosed by a co-star on set, these crazy trips are almost too wild to believe.
Cuddling with mountain lions while high on peyote? Getting beaten up by a TV star while tripping on LSD? Picking up hitchhiking show girls on a hallucinogen-fueled road trip? These aren’t scenes from Seth Rogen’s latest stoner comedy. They are celebrity psychedelic trips that these famous faces have shared publicly over the years.
Hallucinogens have quietly been a part of Hollywood for decades, but as the stigma surrounding LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, and ayahuasca continues to evaporate and the decriminalization movement gains momentum, many celebrities are for the first time speaking candidly about their own eye-opening psychedelic experiences. In addition to calling attention to the drugs’ mental, physical, and spiritual benefits, the stories they’re sharing are just plain wild. Here are the craziest A-list celebrity psychedelic trips we've ever heard.
Matthew McConaughey’s Mountain Lion
These days, a celebrity retreat seems incomplete without wild animals and a shaman-guided peyote trip, but when Matthew McConaughey visited Real de Catorce, Mexico, he took things to the extreme. In his 2020 memoir Greenlights, the Oscar-winning actor recalled hiking six miles at sunrise while high on peyote. His trip took an unexpected turn after he arrived at his shaman’s house and came face-to-face with a mountain lion in a cage.
“I went up to the edge of the cage and started to get the idea that I’m going to get on the same frequency as this mountain lion,” McConaughey told Howard Stern while promoting his tell-all. He said he spent a few minutes bonding with the big cat before getting the “bright idea” to climb into its cage. The ferocious beast growled at him as he drew nearer, but he approached the animal slowly and they eventually grew comfortable with one another.
“I’m like, ‘Keep it cool. Stay on the frequency here,'” McConaughey recalled thinking. “Cut to two hours later, that son of a bitch was laying in my lap, purring.”
Ultimately, the actor emerged unscathed. While he recalled being somewhat fearful of being eaten alive, he was betting the shaman had already fed it a complete breakfast. “I was smart enough to know that lion was not starving,” McConaughey said.
Carrie Fisher Catches Fire with Paul Simon
Late Star Wars icon Carrie Fisher famously experimented with a variety of drugs throughout much of her life. Though she wished she’d never stumbled across “stronger” opiates like heroin, the actress spoke highly of her experiences with psychedelics until the very end.
“I loved LSD. That was fantastic,” Fisher told Rolling Stone in a 2016 interview before opening up about her all-time favorite trip, which took place in the desert with her eventual husband, Paul Simon. “My coat caught fire. We laughed at the flames,” she said. “I had a lot of fun on acid and mushrooms and all that stuff. It was a part of my life when I was very young.”
In another wild acid adventure, which she recounted in the 2020 Netflix documentary Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics, Fisher didn’t need to worry about her clothes catching fire because she wasn’t wearing any.
While vacationing in the Seychelles at the height of her Star Wars fame, she recalled taking LSD on a desolate, picturesque beach. “I'm there with my Super 8 movie camera and I'm filming my friend,” Fisher said in the doc. “Suddenly, I sense that there's been a ‘disturbance in The Force,' and I turn around — and, by the way, I'm topless — and there are busloads of Japanese folk.”
“It turns out where we are is where they bring all the tourists to have lunch from the hotels,” she continued. “I am, I believe at that time, Princess Leia in a profound way, and I am not clothed.”
Shia LaBeouf Goes Method
Movie star Shia LaBeouf took method acting to an ill-advised extreme while shooting the 2013 crime drama Charlie Countryman, directed by Fredrik Bond. In the film, Shia’s character travels to Europe, finds romance, runs afoul of the law, and, at one point, gets unwittingly dosed with ecstasy. To better understand his character’s journey, LaBeouf purposefully dosed himself with LSD while filming some scenes.
Of all these celebrity psychedelic trips, this one may have gone the most awry. LaBeouf and his director already weren’t seeing eye-to-eye before drugs were introduced, and things got physical after LaBeouf started tripping.
“Right after that acid trip, I was choking him,” LaBeouf told Interview Magazine. “My trainer had to pull me off him.”
“[Bond] almost walked off that movie. He wanted to break for lunch while I was tripping on drugs. I was like, ‘We can’t break for lunch, I’m on f–king drugs,'” LaBeouf continued. “And that turned into madness.”
Gary Busey's Grapefruit Juice
Longtime Hollywood stalwart Gary Busey has openly discussed his drugs experiences for decades. He’s penned an op-ed about the consequences of addiction, appeared as a counselor on the reality series Celebrity Rehab, and revealed he once spent 25 minutes snorting cocaine off his own dog. During a 2017 interview with Howard Stern, Busey also shared one of his more humorous celebrity psychedelic trips from the early '70s in which he accidentally took hallucinogens while guest starring on an episode of Kung Fu.
Busey recalled feeling dehydrated ahead of a big martial arts scene, so the show’s star David Carradine graciously offered him grapefruit juice. “I took a hit of grapefruit juice and I said, ‘What’s in that?'” Busey recalled. “And he said, '21 hits of Clearlight [LSD].'”
While Busey wasn’t angry at Carradine for spiking his drink, the acid did affect his ability to act. “I felt like a butterfly in a wet suit,” he told Stern, explaining he felt like he was moving and speaking in slow motion while peaking. Thankfully, the action scene was being shot in slow motion, too.
“Carradine’s really kicking us and hitting us,” Busey recalled. “He said, ‘That’s gonna look good in slow motion.' And I said, ‘I’m in slow motion now!'”
Anthony Bourdain's Hitchhikers
“My name’s Anthony Bourdain and, uh, I like LSD a lot,” celebrity-chef-turned-TV-travel-guide Anthony Bourdain says during his posthumous appearance in Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics.
Bourdain, who passed away in 2018, told cameras he’d taken “like 500 trips” over the years. One of the earliest he recalled involved a road trip, a friend with a learner’s permit, and a car filled with drugs. “We acquired … a lot of acid, some weed, some Lebanese hash, Gordon’s gin, two cases of [beer], and also—this is important—some Quaaludes,” Bourdain said. “We proceeded to take a lot of the drugs, including the LSD.”
Shortly after dropping acid and setting out on the open road, the duo came across two young, female hitchhikers. The women, who apparently worked as exotic dancers, hopped into their car without a second thought and invited Bourdain and his buddy to party back in their hotel room.
“Things went wrong very quickly,” Bourdain recounted, explaining the foursome ingested every substance in their arsenal and it didn’t take long for the drugs to catch up with one of the hitchhikers, Panama Red, who’d begun modeling outfits from her days working as a Las Vegas show girl.
“Suddenly, Panama—mid-stride—her eyes roll up in her head. She keels over stone-dead on the f–king floor,” Bourdain said.
Unsurprisingly, that’s when Bourdain’s trip quickly went south. “She’s dead, and we’ve given her the drugs that’ve killed her,” he recalled thinking while worrying about eventual police involvement. But Panama Red wasn’t really dead. She’d merely gone dormant for a few minutes and Anthony’s drug-affected mind tricked him into fearing the worst.
Despite that particular trip taking a terrifying turn, Bourdain never regretted experimenting with psychedelics.
“Did it make me smarter? Did I become enlightened? I don’t know, but I think it enabled me early on to imagine another point of view, another perspective. I think it made me a better person, both creatively and in every other way,” the late chef concluded. “I’d rather be a person who’s had that in his past than someone who missed it.”