Almost 20 years after the film’s release, former drug trafficker George Jung attended a special screening and Q&A of the late Ted Demme’s final film Blow on Monday night at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatre in Hollywood, where the production company G2C Productions celebrated Jung’s 76th birthday.
The pic, starring Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz, chronicles Jung’s cocaine-dusted crimes and his personal life’s subsequent disintegration.
Though Jung played an integral part in the development of Blow and spent many hours with both Demme and Depp in preproduction, his 60-year prison sentence kept him from seeing the final product.
After seeing the film, Jung praised Demme for staying true to his story, despite incentives to follow a more traditional “Hollywood fantasy” route. He expressed additional gratitude for leading man Depp, who was adamant about maintaining the integrity of the narrative.
Jung said that upon hearing the film would be glamorized, “Johnny got angry and said, ‘The guy’s right here, he’s still alive, so if you can’t do it right, then you can take your money and shove it up your ass.'”
Before this, Jung was hesitant to be portrayed by Depp. “Ted told me Johnny played a narc in 21 Jump Street and a half-human, androgynous barber in Edward Scissorhands, so I thought, ‘This isn’t going to work,'” Jung revealed.
In a Q&A session with audience members following the screening, Jung commented on Demme’s legacy. “This is Demme,” he said in reference to Blow. “He was able to get inside my head and capture my being.”
Demme’s business partner and producer of Blow, Joel Stillerman, spoke of his partner’s character and potential. “Ted Demme lives up to the hype in every way,” he said. “He was the life of the party, but he was also intensely loyal, fiercely creative, and there was nobody better to lead a set than him.”
As Jung exited the white (naturally) carpet for the special screening, he asserted, “I’m the high priest of cocaine. I know there’s a spirit world and Ted is here tonight.”