Street Fighter Director Claims Jean-Claude Van Damme Was “Coked Out of His Mind” During Filming

Every self-respecting game fan has seen Steven E. de Souza’s 1994 Street Fighter film. The film is something of a cult classic. It’s not a great movie by any stretch, but it has earned a place in the hearts of many. Its ridiculously camp nature and comedy provide a good laugh. A lengthy interview recently published, however, has brought out many interesting tidbits regarding the work that went on behind-the-scenes. The most noteworthy aspect of the entire article is that Jean-Claude Van Damme was supposedly “coked out of his mind” whilst filming.

The revelation was part of a tell-all of the film’s difficult production from The Guardian. It’s a must-read for fans of the film. It goes into details regarding just about everything to do with the Street Fighter film. It didn’t have an easy ride, with it being filmed on a modest budget, in a ten-week shoot in extreme conditions, and with Capcom reportedly meddling during production. To top it all off, de Souza had to work with an uninterested, seemingly high and drunk Van Damme. “I couldn’t talk about it at the time, but I can now: Jean-Claude was coked out of his mind”, reminisces de Souza.

“The studio had hired a wrangler to take care of him, but unfortunately the wrangler himself was a bad influence. Jean-Claude was calling in sick so much I had to keep looking through the script to find something else to film; I couldn’t just sit around for hours waiting for him. On two occasions, the producers allowed him to go to Hong Kong, and both occasions he came back late – on Mondays he just wasn’t there at all.”

Keith Heygate (first assistant director) claims too, that Van Damme was “extremely hard to work with.” Recalling that one day when JCVD was in his trailer, “quite pissed”, his assistant “couldn’t get him out.” Eventually, he did enter the set, but clad “with a bottle of champagne.” The Street Fighter movie had a very troubled production, but we’re glad it pulled through. By all accounts, it’s a bad film, but we love it here at GameRevolution.