How many cartons of cigarettes does it take?
June 1, 2010 7:48 AM   Subscribe

How many cartons of cigarettes were smoked during the filming of Guns and Roses' November Rain video? I'm talking cast and crew, not just by the band.

Humorous estimates are appreciated, but I'm looking for actual numbers here.
posted by BishopFistwick to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Well a heavy smoker can easily go through two packs a day. Three if there is some coke involved.

Cast and crew of 25 people, 30 days to do the filming, and you're looking at 1500 packs, or 150 cartons. 225 if the cocaine is good. Fewer if some of the smokes don't come from cartons.
posted by three blind mice at 8:05 AM on June 1, 2010

Mod note: The question is in principle answerable, even if it doesn't seem all that likely to get answered. Please skip the humorous estimates and side chatter.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:35 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Have you *seen* the video? The number of cast and crew was much larger than 30.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:46 AM on June 1, 2010

Does anyone have any hard data on what percentage of the crew and cast would actually smoke in the first place, simply from known statistics (for that time)? I'd expec that that would be crucial.. not everyone smokes.
posted by herbplarfegan at 11:11 AM on June 1, 2010

--and by "statistics" I mean percentage of population that smokes,.. or, perhaps, percentage of folks in that industry, really.
posted by herbplarfegan at 11:12 AM on June 1, 2010

Best answer: Alright, this seems fun, and it's been a while since I watched that video, I'd forgotten how fantastic it (and the song itself) was.

As far as cigarettes smoked onscreen I counted thirteen watching through it and tallying everytime I saw a new person smoking. Probably missed a couple. Let's break it down further:

:00 Video starts with Axl extinguishing a cigarette in bed: that's number 1

:25 first shot of Axl at the grand piano onstage. There's a cigarette, lighter, and ashtray on top of it, but I don't believe we ever see him smoke onstage so that's going to remain uncounted for now.

:54 shot of a smoking cigarette in Slash's hand as he's playing guitar onstage: 2

2:10 Slash with cigarette in mouth onstage, exhaling: 3

2:20 First shot at the Rainbow (although the shot of the preachers hand immediately before looks like he's got a cig between his fingers but it's just a ring). Most of the smoking occurs here.

2:23 crowd shot, but the only cigarette I see is in Slash's lips at the table: 4

2:28 another angle of Slash at the table smoking, I think I will count this as it's a second shot and probably a second cigarette: 5

2:30 cigarette smoking in Slash's hands: 6

2:31 The Bride has her cigarette lit: 7

2:33 Axl has his cigarette lit (same flame!): 8

2:35 Slash again, exhaling at the table: 9

2:38 Slash again, in the hand: 10

2:39 Guy calling for a drink with smoke in hand. I don't recognize him, so we'll call him the Roadie: 11

2:41 Slash again: 12

2:45 Smoke in someones hand in the foreground while Axl and the Bride kiss: 13

2:49 That's the same smoke, not counting it.

3:05 Cigarette in Slash's mouth as he's looking for the ring: 14

3:07 Second shot as Duff shows Slash the ring's on his finger! Not sure if this counts, I'm leaving it off for now until someone with more experience with filmmaking can tell me if how likely it is that that's a second shot

3:18 Smoke in Slash's mouth as he brings up the ring: 15

4:12 SOLO! There's a lot of different shots, but the cigarette in Slash's mouth doesn't appear to be smoking so I'm just counting it as one: 16

4:55 Actually, I'm pretty sure there's spots in the solo where there's no cigarette in his mouth, and there's definitely one in this frame, so I'm adding another to the tally. Two cigarette guitar solo!: 17

6:17 Smoke in Duffs hand as they clink champagne flutes: 18

6:23 The Bride smoking as Duff looks to be about to go in for a kiss: 19

6:30 Duff smoking while dancing: 20

7:00 Dude jumps through the wedding cake to escape the rain!

7:42 Cigarette in Slash's hand as they walk down the aisle at the funeral: 21

So barely a pack smoked onscreen, and if you consider that a couple of were probably the same cigarette over two shots I'd call it an even pack. Pretty dissappointing, actually, I was hoping for more.

13 cigarettes were smoked by Slash, 2 by Axl, 2 by the Bride, and 2 by Duff, with 1 each by the Roadie and Foreground Hand.

Slash smokes about 60% of the cigarettes shown onscreen. If we figure out how many packs a day Slash smoked on average in 1992 we can extrapolate how many were smoked by the other people who appear onscreen. (extrapolation occurs below)

The stage shots in the theatre appear to have been shot in a single day from what I can tell from Wikipedia. They say it ran late into the night. Maybe 10 hours for easy math? Apparently there were 1500 extras involved in the shoot.

According to the CDC 22.5% of the adult population of the US were daily smokers in 2002. Taking that back ten years and given that these were rock n' roll type extras I think we can safely say that 25% of the 1500 were smokers. That's about 338 smokers in the audience on that day.

From the same page at the CDC, the mean number of cigarettes per day for smokers in 1993 was about 20. So we could probably safely say that on that day 338 packs or roughly 34 cartons of cigarettes were consumed by people involved in the film.

The only other pertinent info I saw in Wikipedia said that multiple crews worked 24 hours straight building and dressing the church set. If we say 100 people total, that's another 25 packs, bringing us to about 36 cartons.

Again someone more familiar with filmmaking would need to chime in for me to take as guess as to how much smoking is generally going on during shooting and what sized crew that video would likely have.

For the band we see three of them smoking. If we assume that Axl is an average smoker then he, the Bride, and Duff each smoked a pack a day. Slash smokes about six times as much as anyone else in the video so we'll say he's a half carton a day kind of guy. Assumed a week? of actual filming days, that gives us 21 packs for those three and three and a half cartons for Slash. I think, assuming the rest of the band smokes a bit off camera we can safely say six cartons smoked by the main performers in the video.

Say a crew of 100 on average during that week of filming would give us 175 more packs, we'll say 18 cartons. Extras for the wedding are bar scenes are probably another 100 people so we'll throw in 18 more cartons for them.

That gives us 34 cartons for extras in the theatre, 2 for the set building crew, 6 for the band, 18 for the crew, and 18 for the extras bringing us to 78 packs consumed assuming a week of shooting. Round that up to 80 to give us a nice even number and considering I was lowballing some of those estimates I would say that 80-100 cartons of cigarettes were consumed by the cast and crew during the filming of November Rain.
posted by Jawn at 11:16 AM on June 1, 2010 [15 favorites]

Best answer: Actually that week of shooting with a static cast and crew is a pretty weak estimate. Let's break it down by shots, I'll leave it to someone else to figure the numbers.

Axl in bed at the beginning and ending of the video: 1 day of shooting, 1 performer, pretty minimal crew (a dozen maybe?)

Theatre scenes: 1 day of shooting, 1500 extras, 5 band members 3 backup singers, maybe 50 in the orchestra, 50? person crew for the shoot?

Wedding: 1-2 days of shooting, 100 extras, 5 band members, 50 person crew? (really not my area of expertise, these numbers are straight out my ass)

Rainbow: 1 day of shooting, 30 extras, 5 band members, 30 crew

Reception: 1 day of shooting 100 extras, 5 band members, 80 crew

Funeral: 1 day of shooting, 30 extras, 5 band members, 40 crew

Burial: 1 day of shooting (same day?) 30 extras, 5 band members, 40 crew

Axl crying at the grave: Axl, 12 crew

Hmm, looks like about a week of shooting afterall. But I've probably way underestimated the crew size.

That's all I've got.
posted by Jawn at 11:40 AM on June 1, 2010

Ah, forgot the scene of Axl walking at night, alone. And the solo, which was probably a day of shooting in itself.
posted by Jawn at 11:41 AM on June 1, 2010

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