Michael Cera tries drugs, fails

He thinks he might have got the wrong cactus. 

Michael Cera and his castmates on Crystal Fairy - a film premiering at Sundance about a road trip in the Chilean desert in search of a cactus with hallucinogenic properties - decided to boil a legendary San Pedro cactus and drink the broth, which would supposedly be full of mescaline-y goodness. The mission: to experience the psychedelic trip their characters take. (I believe they call this 'method acting'.)

But the mescaline had no effect, Cera told the Huffington Post in an interview on Friday alongside the film’s writer-director, Sebastian Silva. “We cooked the cactus for the movie and drank it, but it didn’t work,” he said.

“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.

"Maybe it was because we were working or something. We were all in work mode...Maybe we got the wrong cactus. Is that possible?" Cera asked Silva.

"No, I think that was really San Pedro," Silva said.

Silva would know – he has experimented with mescaline several times. “My personal experience with it has always been in nature. It just makes you feel personally that I'm a human, like, breathing being standing on a rounded planet floating in space," said Silva, who has a second film starring Cera at Sundance, the horror story Magic Magic.

"It really grounds you in a great way that you really sort of, like, get out of your own little problems that are not even problems, and you really see the big picture. It's easy to forget that you're standing on a planet."

We know the feeling.

Cera stars in Crystal Fairy as Jamie, a domineering American who hits the road with three Chilean brothers (played by Silva’s own siblings, Juan Andres, Jose Miguel and Augustin Silva). Joining their quest along the way is an American girl played by Gaby Hoffman, pictured above with Cera, who calls herself Crystal Fairy, and becomes the object of Jamie’s scorn with her blissed-out hippie ways.

Their experiment with drugs changes perspectives for both of them.

Cera might not know what a full-bore mescaline trip feels like but he can describe the taste of cactus with good authority: “acrid”, “earthy” and downright “terrible”.

"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."

N.B.: drugs are bad, kids, don’t try this at home.

profile of Eliza Goetze