Filmmaker Paul Schrader Seeks Acid "Spiritual Guide" Amid Pandemic

Paul Schrader
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Filmmaker Paul Schrader has never shied from shining a light on grittier parts of life whether that be on screen in films like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull or American Gigolo. Or in his personal life.

“My cocaine use had spiraled," he once told GQ of living in L.A. early on in his career. "In the early and mid-seventies there was this whole thing that it wasn't addictive. And you could actually go to parties and it would be there. And there was a restaurant here on the Sunset Strip where they had mirrored tables so you could cut it on the table. But it was addictive. And so I ruined a relationship and had an episode with a gun.”

That was decades ago and Schrader, now 74, is ready to tackle a new substance: LSD.

He took to Facebook in late August detailing that he was ready to go on an acid trip amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “When I was in college and after I refused to take LSD because I was so full of suicidal anger I feared the drug would unleash self-destruction. That, of course, was media propaganda,” posted Schrader, who also once told Vulture in 2019 that he was considering a film about mind-bending ayahuasca. “But now at 74 with little left to lose, I would like to take a trip. Is it safe at my age? Where can I safely access it?”

The request was met with hundreds of comments and shares, and more than 1,200 likes, among them one from Oliver Stone whose reply Schrader later posted for his 20,292 followers: “If you do this, you might want to be 30 years old again. But any time is better than no time, in my opinion. Unfortunately, the people I’ve done this with on a responsible basis, which was a few times in my life, are all basically retired or dead. These were older people, some psychiatrists, some shaman types, now scattered to the winds. The best thing I can suggest is, find two or three people you trust and go for it. You seem very stable and not at all the suicidal type. I wouldn’t worry.”

Reached by The Hollywood Reporter for a status update on his LSD search, Schrader confirmed that he’s still hot on acid’s trail. “Still seeking spiritual guide.”

This story first appeared in the Sept. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.