“I don’t think psychedelics are the answers to the world’s problems,” Sting shares in the trailer for the new Netflix documentary Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics. “But they could be a start.”
The film, out on May 11, dives into the history of psychedelics and celebrates their cultural impact while pondering hallucinogens’ powerful role in treating mental health. A star-studded cast of actors, comedians and musicians includes Ad-Rock, Anthony Bourdain, Bill Kruetzmann, Natasha Lyonne and Sarah Silverman recounting their own personal experiences with acid, mushrooms, peyote and ayahuasca. Nick Offerman narrates, playing a mad scientist, while many of the celebrity trips are reenacted in comedic scripted scenes with trippy animation scattered throughout.
Made over the course of a decade by Emmy winner Donick Cary, whose credits include Late Night with David Letterman, The Simpsons and Parks and Recreation, the idea for his debut documentary was conceived in his hometown of Nantucket Island following a conversation with Ben Stiller and Fisher Stevens at the 2009 Nantucket Film Festival. Slated to premiere at SXSW in March, Netflix Originals has brought it straight to streaming following the film festival’s coronavirus cancellation.
Ahead of the film’s release, I went behind the scenes with Cary via email to talk about how he got so many celebrities to open up, advocating for psychedelics and why he’s hopeful we’ll all be able to hug again soon.
Katie Shapiro: Why tackle the subject of tripping? And why now?
Donick Cary: A serendipitous encounter on Nantucket Island at the Nantucket Film Festival 11 years ago with Ben Stiller and Fisher Stevens. We were all sharing stories about hallucinogens…funny, crazy, scary, enlightening…and I thought “hey it’d be cool if a whole bunch of people told these kind of stories and then we could bring them to life with animation and re-enactments.” Seemed like a fun version of a movie — kind of like a long extended dinner party where everyone shares what their brain revealed to them when they took