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Is This Year's Sundance Festival on Drugs?

Many of this year's films are drug-themed, which makes method acting a trip.

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Michael Cera tried mescaline to get into
his role. Photo via

By Valerie Tejeda

01/22/13

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Drugs are emerging as a central theme of this year's Sundance Film Festival, which is running in Utah until January 27. And actor Michael Cera says he even tried out hallucinogenics to prep for his role. In Crystal Fairy, his character embarks on a road trip through the Chilean desert in search of the San Pedro cactus—known for containing mescaline, which produces hallucinogenic effects. "We cooked the cactus for the movie and drank it, but it didn't work," says Cera, 24. "We had this plan to do it and not film because that was going to be overwhelming for everyone. We ended up drinking it and shooting that day, and everyone was fine and nobody felt anything.” His character in the film learns "compassion" from the drug, but the actor learned a different lesson altogether: drugs are bad, or at least, they taste  bad. "It's a very kind of acrid, earthy, terrible taste," says Cera. "It's almost like a wheatgrass shot, that terrible taste that keeps revisiting you. It shouldn't be eaten. Nature didn't want you to eat it." Other drug-themed films at this year's festival include Kill Your Darlings, which stars a post-Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe as a college-age Allen Ginsburg. The film explores the sexual and creative exploits of the beat generation, filtered through copious amounts of alcohol and benzedrine. And in Touchy Feely, Rosemarie Dewitt plays a massage therapist coping with depression and anxiety, who finds a "cure" in the hallucinogenic party drug ecstasy.

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