Woody Harrelson is 56 now, delivering mature, nuanced performances in lauded motion pictures together with “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “LBJ,” the forms of roles one would possibly go together with Tommy Lee Jones or the overdue Sam Shepard. And, in fact, he stopped smoking pot.
That was once the scoop remaining yr, anyway, when Mr. Harrelson, a hashish evangelist at the stage of Snoop Dogg, informed newshounds that he had damaged off a long-term marriage together with his intoxicant of selection. “It was keeping me from being emotionally available,” he informed New York magazine.
So it was once a somber new Woody I anticipated once I dropped in on his Maui house remaining month to speak about his position in “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” Ron Howard’s splashy new movie, which opened on Friday.
That was once now not the Woody I were given.
It was once an overcast Thursday morning, and I used to be seated on the kitchen desk of certainly one of Mr. Harrelson’s two properties on Maui. The glassy living is perched a number of thousand toes up the slopes of the Haleakala volcano, with sweeping perspectives of Maui’s northeast sea coast within the distance.
The plan was once to hike the densely wooded belongings. As I waited for Mr. Harrelson to descend from upstairs, his spouse, Laura Louie, dressed in a blue fleece vest, was once within the kitchen making ready a late-morning snack of clean fruit smeared with spirulina and almond butter. Ten mins later, the sound of footsteps.
“Dude!” Mr. Harrelson mentioned, in that acquainted bad-boy drawl. He was once dressed in white seashore pants, his yoga-toned torso draped in a well-worn “Free Willie” T-shirt with an previous mug shot of Willie Nelson.
It was once now not simply his apparel that made him appear to be a 1990s slacker. He strikes with the lackadaisical ease of a person part his age. He ambles greater than he strides, unfastened limbed and carefree, like a stressed teen searching for mischief.
As he slumped right into a wood chair and planted his elbows at the desk, we traded battle tales from the afternoon earlier than, when Mr. Harrelson lured me right into a pickup football recreation. It was once a major recreation. I lasted 20 mins and mangled my knee within the procedure. He went the space.
“You almost got a goal, though,” he mentioned within the paternal tones of a Little League trainer consoling a strikeout sufferer. Yeah, I mentioned with a shrug. I hit the crossbar and neglected by means of an inch. “A millimeter!” he mentioned.
After a short lived trade of pleasantries, he reached into his pocket, pulled out two hashish cartridge pens and slapped them onto the kitchen desk.
“I was 20 months off of this, 20 months!” he mentioned, glancing down on the pens as though they had been long-lost pals. “And then, Willie happened.”
Willie Nelson, Ultimate Enabler
Taking a deep draw on a vape pen, Mr. Harrelson introduced into the tale about his breakup and reunion with marijuana.
It began in 2016, a couple of weeks earlier than he was once to shoot “Billboards” close to Asheville, N.C. Wanting to get the partying out of his device, he launched into a “friendship tour” in Los Angeles, Houston and New York. “That’s the nice way of putting it,” he mentioned. “It’s better than calling it a ‘you’re-going-to-host-me-at-your-house-while-I-have-a-bender tour.”
The plan was once to dry out in Asheville, but it surely seems that the picturesque town “has, like, one microbrewery per person,” he mentioned, so he saved partying, “drinking a ton of beer, smoking one reefer after another.”
It took a toll. One night time, a “really weird” sensation took over his frame, he mentioned, “a crazy restlessness, unable to sleep, my lungs burning.”
He seemed up the indicators and self-diagnosed it as adrenal exhaustion. He took the next day to come off, then every other, then every other. “By Thursday, it’s four days” he mentioned. “This is like a record!”
It went on for a yr and a part.
Some had been glad for him; Willie Nelson was once now not. The two are poker pals on Maui with Owen Wilson and Don Nelson, the Hall of Fame basketball trainer, and Willie didn’t take kindly to a weed-free Woody.
It was once “a slap in the face,” Mr. Harrelson mentioned. “It just unnerved him. He’d keep offering it to me, and I’d say, ‘Willie, you know I don’t smoke anymore.’ He’d always act like it was the first time he’d heard it.”
Then, over one recreation, Mr. Nelson broke out a different mix he known as Willie’s Reserve. “That’s not fair because the only way I’m going to taste the Willie’s Reserve is if I smoke it,” Mr. Harrelson mentioned. So after successful an enormous hand, he caved.
“I take a big draw on it, and Willie says, ‘Welcome home, son,’” he mentioned.
Spying the pens at the desk, Mr. Harrelson grabbed a small blue one and presented it to me for my swollen knee. “This is just a CBD pen,” he mentioned, regarding cannabidiol oil, a non-psychoactive extract this is mentioned to relieve ache. “There’s no THC in this. It’s good for calming and stuff.”
‘Teeing Up a Lollygag’
Mr. Nelson was once now not the one one that concept that order have been restored to the universe.
For 3 a long time operating, Mr. Harrelson’s extra has been a part of his attraction. He is Hollywood’s cosmic cowboy: a uncooked meals gastronaut, hashish gourmet and eco-warrior who turns out intent to see at existence via kaleidoscope goggles.
As a Hollywood actor, he’s a extremely bankable male lead. But as an concept, he stays a reminder to the remainder of us loan holders and 401(ok) planners: Maybe you don’t have to move mild into that excellent night time; possibly you’ll birthday party, birthday party towards the loss of life of the sunshine.
We are the image. He is Dorian Gray.
After our snack, Woody slipped on an indica inexperienced fleece and led me out on a hike round his lush belongings.
His recognition as Hollywood’s haute hippie is easily deserved. He wore a white Armani tuxedo made of hemp to the 1997 Golden Globes, weaves references to Paramahansa Yogananda’s “Autobiography of a Yogi” into informal dialog and says he spent most effective $500 on his 2008 wedding to Ms. Louie. (They were in combination for the reason that “Cheers” days within the 1980s and feature 3 youngsters: Deni, 25; Zoe, 21; and Makani, 12.)
So how did an astral voyager arrange to claw his option to the highest of a cutthroat trade? Mr. Harrelson turns out not sure himself. “I’m a good little worker, a hard worker,” he mentioned. “But I’m also a world-class lollygagger. I really would prefer nutso to do.”
We headed down a steep street from his area. At that altitude, you’re feeling little of Maui’s hang-loose beachiness. With a low fog striking simply above the loquat bushes, Norfolk pine and plush ferns, the valuables appeared vaguely mystical, like a scene from Tolkien.
The gentle mist was once turning the street slick, so Mr. Harrelson padded moderately in a couple of grey Allbirds shoes, the similar sort he were given for his fellow Lone Star psychonaut Matthew McConaughey. “He was like, ‘ya put these on, ya ain’t gonna wanna take ’em off,’” Mr. Harrelson mentioned, imitating Mr. McConaughey’s lazy drawl.
Being lazy is sufficient of an artwork for the 2 of them, Mr. Harrelson mentioned, that they warped the English language to fit their shared style for dawdling. Instead of “planning a vacation,” for instance, they got here up with “teeing up a lollygag.”
But if Mr. Harrelson’s final purpose is to do “nutso” (Woody-ese for doing not anything), his lifetime of overdue is a gloomy failure. Mr. Harrelson has been reeling off 5 – 6 films a yr, whilst fellow marquee stars like Brad Pitt and Robert Downey Jr., no slouches, are excellent for possibly a pair.
This yr, he lollygagged his option to a very best supporting actor Oscar nod for “Billboards,” qualifying as soon as once more as a scene stealer, even in a movie for which his fellow stars Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell took house statues. (Mr. Harrelson was once nominated in the similar class in 2010, for the army drama “The Messenger,” and for very best actor in 1997, for “The People vs. Larry Flynt.”)
It isn’t exhausting to peer the attraction. Whether he’s taking part in a lovelorn misanthrope in remaining yr’s quirky indie “Wilson” or an intergalactic desperado in “Solo,” an innate likability, a folksy decency, shines via. Basically, he has develop into a stoner Jimmy Stewart.
That isn’t to mention he craves the highlight. Mr. Harrelson mentioned he was once initially attracted to Maui partially for its distance from Hollywood. “It’s where Lindbergh moved to, because it was so remote, and he was like the world’s first mega-superstar,” Mr. Harrelson mentioned. “He just wanted privacy.”
As we walked, his lively black-and-white combined breed, Monkee, bolted into the comb of a neighbor’s belongings, inflicting a violent rustle. “Monkee!” Mr. Harrelson shouted. “I hope it’s not someone’s chickens.”
Bird homicide it seems that avoided, we endured alongside the street, speaking about his upbringing. His father, Charles Voyde Harrelson, went to jail for the homicide of a grain broker, so Woody was once raised as a scripture-quoting Christian by means of his mom, Diane Lou Oswald. The first time he considered appearing was once in highschool, when a gaggle of soccer gamers goaded him into doing an Elvis Presley impersonation within the faculty library.
As we strolled down the trail, Mr. Harrelson, hands swinging merrily, unexpectedly broke right into a throaty rendition of “All Shook Up.” “A well’a bless my soul/What’sa wrong with me. …”
“I just got louder and louder,” he mentioned, “and then the people started gathering around and clapping along. My inner performer came out.” A lady named Robin Rogers invited him to enroll in the drama membership. “I was like, ‘Well, if Robin Rogers wants me to do a play, I’m going to do a play.’”
And now, 4 a long time later, he was once about to embark on a marathon exposure excursion for “Solo,” with red-carpet premieres in Los Angeles and New York, and appearances on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
“It’s part of the job, but after that,” he mentioned with an audible exhale, “I’m going to tee up a monster lollygag.”
No to ‘Star Wars’
After the hike, we settled again on the kitchen desk for lunch: a beneficiant bowl of quinoa, sprouts, hijiki seaweed and avocado. Despite rising up within the barbeque belt (Texas and, later, Ohio), Mr. Harrelson says he’s “philosophically, a raw foodist.”
His quest for gastronomic purity is infectious. As I munched on uncooked crackers smeared with macadamia nut butter, the considered devouring, say, a cheeseburger appeared as unsuitable as munching on thumbtacks. Having lately dropped 35 kilos on a longer cleanse, Mr. Harrelson prompt a three-day mini-cleanse for me.
“You might go through a healing crisis that might be a little bit tough,” he mentioned. “I luckily never go through those anymore, because I eat really clean.”
Realizing he was once proselytizing, he stuck himself.
“Laura looked up my name in a name book once,” Mr. Harrelson mentioned. “It means ‘sentimental sermonizer.’ I thought, ‘Oh, that’s ridiculous.’” But then he heard his circle of relatives guffawing, “which can only mean that they thought it’s totally accurate,” he added.
That quest for larger which means extends to his movie occupation. Despite secure paintings in blockbuster franchises together with “The Hunger Games,” he loves artwork area fare. “With any indie, there’s a 99 percentile chance that people won’t be seeing it,” he mentioned. “But you’re like, ‘Damn, it’s good.’”
Even he appeared to be stunned to be presented a significant position in “Solo.” Mr. Harrelson performs Tobias Beckett, a grizzled interstellar bandit who adopts the younger Han Solo into his outlaw group.
Once once more, Mr. Harrelson proves the scene stealer, allotting folksy wisecracks and sly threats in a gunfighter drawl that by some means shrinks the light-years between Tatooine and El Paso.
In an international brimming with “Star Wars” obsessives, Mr. Harrelson would now not appear to be one. When he was once presented the position, he mentioned, “I used to be roughly psyched, like, ‘Oh, geez, that is in point of fact cool, be in a “Star Wars” film.’ Unexpected.” But he grew to become it down.
He would possibly now not have authorized if it weren’t for the movie’s manufacturer Allison Shearmur, who additionally produced the “Hunger Games” motion pictures he starred in. “It’s sad Alli Shearmur died,” he mentioned, regarding the manufacturer’s death from lung cancer in January at age 54. “That really broke my heart.”
“She was the one,” he mentioned. “I turned down ‘Hunger Games’ twice, she wouldn’t take ‘no.’ I turned this one down, believe it or not. She wouldn’t take ‘no.’”
Once he was once on set at Pinewood Studios in London, brandishing his blaster, Mr. Harrelson had no drawback connecting to his personality. “He’s a criminal,” Mr. Harrelson mentioned. “And honestly, if I hadn’t run into Robin Rogers that day in the library, I probably would’ve become a criminal, too.”
Filming a Bender
A movie that turns out to lie so much nearer to his middle is “Lost in London,” which may be being launched this weekend, on Hulu and iTunes.
A cinematic identical of primal scream remedy, the movie is Woody at his maximum Woody, a brutally truthful mea culpa wrapped up in an experimental black comedy that he wrote, directed and stars in, recreating a terrible night time in 2002 when he ended up in prison.
At the time, his occupation was once in a lull and he was once starring in a West End play, when one night time, two girls approached him, providing a “walk on the wild side.” They had been joined by means of a 3rd. News of his ménage à quatre was once splashed throughout a British tabloid.
Mr. Harrelson spoke back with an epic bender. After tossing again beverages at a Soho nightclub with Leonardo DiCaprio, he ended up inebriated in a taxi. An ashtray was once smashed. A door maintain damaged. Mr. Harrelson led police on a foot chase, were given arrested and spent the night time in prison.
“I’ve been pretty lucky in life, but that was the time where just everything seemed to be going bad,” he mentioned. His movie occupation was once tanking, he was once a tabloid laughingstock, and his long-term courting was once in danger. “All the obstacles seemed so insurmountable,” he mentioned.
The guilt from that night time lingered. “I would have wanted the story just to completely die,” he mentioned, however “it wouldn’t leave my consciousness.”
Years later, he made up our minds to figure out his unhealthy recollections together with his maximum private and bold movie but. Changing only some main points (like swapping out Mr. DiCaprio with Owen Wilson), he tried to recreate that night time in actual time, capturing all the movie in one take throughout 14 places in London, and streaming it are living to 500 theaters all over the world.
It can have been a crisis (The Guardian known as it a “miraculous oddity”), however, whats up, that will were a part of the adventure, too.
In the top, Mr. Harrelson mentioned that he was once thinking about the honesty of portraying himself as an antihero searching for redemption (in addition to a couple of laughs). Would the target audience forgive his excesses, like his spouse had?
“I mean, she’s the most understanding woman I’ve ever met,” he mentioned. “She’d have to be. Just imagine living with me for almost 30 years.”
The movie is also a warts-and-all self-portrait, but it surely additionally turns out to seize a deeper fact about its writer: People be expecting Woody to be available in the market, checking out barriers. They would now not need it some other approach.
That level was once pushed house to me the day earlier than, after our football fit. With the sunlight fading, Mr. Harrelson and some of the guys hung round, collecting in a circle alongside the sidelines. One of them toted over a chess set, striking it within the grass between himself and Mr. Harrelson, a talented participant.
As they began a nerve-racking spherical of velocity chess, pipes had been handed and the scent of hashish wafted into the humid air. Mr. Harrelson took a deep hit whilst staring carefully on the board, unaware that his spouse and youngest daughter, Makani, had pulled into the car parking zone to ferry him house.
“Daddy, you’re not supposed to be doing that!” his daughter mentioned. A glance of guilt flashed throughout his face. Then she threw her hands round his shoulders, embracing him in an extended hug.