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John Candy 'Overdid It' with Jack Nicholson the Night Before Shooting “Splash” Racquetball Scene, Recalls Producer

"John Candy had a lot of endurance, I mean really, a lot of endurance," Brian Grazer said of the late actor

<p>Everett, Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty </p> John Candy in

Everett, Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty

John Candy in 'Splash' and Jack Nicholson

John Candy filmed a memorable scene in 1984's Splash on very little sleep, a producer on the film has revealed.

Longtime Hollywood producer Brian Grazer shared some memories of the late Candy, who died at age 43 in 1994, during an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show to promote his new sports docuseries about the New England Patriots. During the episode, host Eisen, 54, asked specifically whether stories that Candy "was hungover for the racquetball scene" were true.

"Yes. For real, he stayed out with Jack Nicholson until like four or five in the morning and then he went right to work," Grazer, 72, said. "John Candy had a lot of endurance, I mean really, a lot of endurance."


"The night with Nicholson, I think he overdid it, so he literally ran into the ball that hit him in the head," the producer recalled. "That was real — we anticipated, we knew we'd have to shoot it in two shots, because the minute he hit that ball, it hit him right in the head, he couldn't get out of the way of it."

Related: Catherine O’Hara Recalls Her ‘Crush’ on Friend John Candy: ‘He Was Always Really Lovely’ (Exclusive)

<p>Touchstone/Kobal/Shutterstock</p> Tom Hanks and John Candy in 1984's Splash


Tom Hanks and John Candy in 1984's Splash

Candy costarred alongside Tom Hanks in Splash, a romantic comedy with fantasy elements that follows a man named Allen (Hanks) who falls in love with a woman who is secretly a mermaid (Daryl Hannah). Candy played Hanks on-screen brother, Freddie.

Released on March 9, Splash went on to become the 11th highest-grossing movie of 1984 at the domestic box office and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay at the 57th Oscars.

During Grazer's appearance on Eisen's show, he also recalled witnessing Candy drink "17 small rum and cokes" while meeting with the actor to determine if he would take part in the movie. "But he drank 'em like one after the next and he lit up and was fun and never got sloppy, he just kept going," the producer said.

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<p>Moviestore/Shutterstock</p> Eugene Levy, Daryl Hannah, Tom Hanks and John Candy in 1984's Splash


Eugene Levy, Daryl Hannah, Tom Hanks and John Candy in 1984's Splash

The story of the late Candy arriving late and hungover to Splash's set in order to shoot that scene has bounced around for some time. Grazer, Hanks, Hannah, costar Eugene Levy and the movie's director Ron Howard shared the same story during an appearance on Josh Gad's Reunited Apart YouTube series in 2020, including that Candy managed to make the racquet ball hit him in the head on a rebound on his very first attempt.

“John, totally professional guy, but he’s late one day... and John finally pulls up and rolls out of the car and he says, ‘Ron, I’m so sorry.’ I said, ‘It’s OK. You’re late, but we’ll get going.’ He said, ‘No, no, no. Look, I’m drunk,' " Howard recalled of interacting with Candy that day.

Related: John Candy's Children Remember Icon on 29th Anniversary of His Death: 'Loss Is Never Easy'

<p>Moviestore/Shutterstock</p> Eugene Levy, Tom Hanks and John Candy in 1984's Splash


Eugene Levy, Tom Hanks and John Candy in 1984's Splash

"Here’s what happened — I’m telling you the truth — I’m at the bar and Jack Nicholson is at the bar,' " he recalled Candy saying. "'Jack Nicholson knew my name, Ron! And he starts buying me drinks. [Candy] said, 'But I’ve got to go shoot.' And [Nicholson] said, 'You’re going to be all right, kid. Don’t worry about it.' "

Howard also said that Candy told him he "never went to bed" before arriving to shoot the scene.

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