“It’s a battle for survival for millions of people around the world, and some of them are battling silently by themselves and no one else knows it.”
Actor Jack Black said that he gained new perspectives about addiction and recovery filming “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot.”
The film, which was released last week, tells the story of real-life artist John Callahan, who became famous for his cartoons. Callahan was a heavy drinker who nearly died after a night of partying when he was involved in a car accident that left him paralyzed and in a wheelchair.
After the accident he entered treatment for alcoholism and started drawing, eventually gaining a following.
Black, who plays a supporting role in the movie, said that being on set and learning what the real Callahan went through renewed his empathy for people in recovery.
“Whether it’s alcohol or heroin or food or sex or whatever is it, people can get stuck in a hole and it can take all of your energy and powers and spiritual awakenings to get out and survive,” Black said, according to USA Today.
He noted that you can’t always tell from the outside who is struggling with substance abuse.
“It’s a battle for survival for millions of people around the world, and some of them are battling silently by themselves and no one else knows it. They seem to be perfectly fine on the outside,” he said. “And some people are visibly heading down a dark path.”
He hopes that people will find hope from the film, which is based on a memoir that Callahan wrote.
“This is just one man’s journey on his way back to living a healthy happy life,” Black said. “It’s a cool story and a cool way to experience that in a small way.”
Black didn’t mention his own substance abuse in relation to the movie, but in the past he has admitted to using cocaine as a teenager growing up in Los Angeles.
“I remember just lots of turmoil from that time period,” he said in 2015. “I was having a lot of troubles with cocaine … I was hanging out with some pretty rough characters. I was scared to go to school [because] one of them wanted to kill me. I wanted to get out of there.”
Ultimately, his mother put him in an alternative school that helped him address his cocaine problem.
“It was a huge release and a huge relief,” he said. “I left feeling euphoric, like an enormous weight had been lifted from me. It changed me.”