'Savages': Oliver Stone's Stoner Fake-Out

When Universal nixed real pot on set, production designer Tomas Voth created faux plants using "trial and error" to achieve authentic look.

This article first appeared in the May 11 issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

Oliver Stone's upcoming Universal film Savages has an all-star cast -- John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Blake Lively, Benicio Del Toro and Salma Hayek as the overlord of a Mexican drug cartel -- but the real star? Pot. And lots of it. When Stone and crew brought in large quantities of marijuana and plants for the film about pot growers, the studio balked.

"It wasn't so much about legality," says one source on the film, "but then again, it was about legality. And about storage, insurance and perishability."

When Universal demanded fake pot, production designer Tomas Voth created faux plants, buds and twigs in all varietals. How did he make it look authentic? Says the source, "Trial and error."

Turns out, fake pot in movies and on tv shows like Weeds is a pretty common practice, and there are L.A. prop houses who have experts in this area - and materials to emulate the real weed, so much so it could fake out the most trained eye.

Stone had no comment, and Universal claims it has no knowledge of this.