Melanie Griffith Was Fined $80,000 for Arriving on Set Drunk
She went to rehab three weeks later.
Director Mike Nichols passed away in 2014, but the stories from his sets are still rolling in. Some of the highlights have been collected in Ash Carter and Sam Kashner's new book, Life Isn’t Everything: Mike Nichols as Remembered by 150 of His Closest Friends, including one from Melanie Griffith, who explained that she had to pay a fine of $80,000 for arriving on set for Working Girl drunk and delaying the production.
"Mike got so mad at me, he wouldn’t talk to me. Mike Haley, the first AD, just came up and said, 'We're shutting down. Go home,' and I knew I was in so much trouble," Griffith says in the book. "The next morning, he took me to breakfast and said, 'Here's what's going to happen. You're going to pay for last night out of your pocket. We're not going to report you to the studio, but you have to pay for what it cost,' and it was $80,000. They wanted to get my attention and they really did. It was a very humbling, embarrassing experience, but I learned a lot from it."
Peoplenotes that Griffith says the incident made her reevaluate her entire life. She adds that it was a defining moment for her and was one of the catalysts for her to check into rehab in 1988.
"There were a lot of things that happened on Working Girl that I did that were not right," Griffith added. "It was the late '80s. There was a lot going on party-wise in New York. There was a lot of cocaine. There was a lot of temptation."
Though things were tense between Nichols and Griffith, the rest of the cast could see that there was something special about her. Producer Douglas Wick described her as "enchanting" and fought for her to play the lead role of Tess McGill.
"From the first reading, we all got a giant crush on Melanie's talent," Wick told Carter and Kashner. "She incarnated Tess, and there was no great version of the movie without her. But it was challenging."
Griffith also talked about the set of Working Girl in a Vanity Fair interview. In 1994, she said that she struggled with drugs and alcohol since she was a teenager.
"I was never loved unconditionally," she said. "Coke, booze give you a feeling, a physical sensation ... a buzz inside your body that takes the place of something you should have had when you were a child. I was medicating myself so I could escape my pain and insecurities."
She would go on to have two more stints in rehab, People notes, in 2000 and 2009. It wasn't just her career that was affected. She told Porter that her marriages also suffered. While exes Don Johnson and Antonio Banderas were supportive, she says that the relationships couldn't withstand her addiction.
"I think part of the reason my marriage to Antonio fell apart was because I was stuck; nobody else is to blame," Griffith said. "It's just that I personally got stuck and I won't let that happen again, I want to enjoy life, I want to do whatever I want to do."