Melanie Griffith says 'Working Girl' director made her pay $80,000 for being drunk on set

Ben Arnold
Contributor

Melanie Griffith has revealed that she was fined for coming to work on Working Girl while under the influence.

In a new book about the late director Mike Nichols, Life Isn’t Everything, friends and colleagues share stories about the man who directed Griffith in the 1988 hit. Nichols died in 2014.

For her part, Griffith explained that the New York party scene at the time of making Working Girl, which also starred Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver, proved too distracting.

“There were a lot of things that happened on Working Girl that I did that were not right,” she explained in the book (via People).

“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.”

Producer Douglas Wick, also interviewed in the book, added that he'd received a call from a “distressed” Nichols from the movie’s set, because Griffith was “clearly high” and had been having drugs delivered to work.

Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver on the set of Working Girl. (Photo: Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

On one occasion, Griffith says that she was so drunk, after playing pool with co-star Alec Baldwin — though Baldwin was sober at the time — that they had to shut down production for the evening.

“Mike got so mad at me, he wouldn’t talk to me. Mike Haley, the first AD [assistant director], just came up and said, ‘We’re shutting down. Go home,’ and I knew I was in so much trouble,” Griffith shared.

“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.”

It was a costly lesson: $80,000 in 1988 would amount to an eye-popping $173,600 in today's money, accounting for inflation.

Griffith, the daughter of actress Tippi Hedren, went into rehab soon after making the movie, to deal with her issues with alcohol and cocaine.

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