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Howard Marks got Rhys Ifans into character with large benders

by Andy Johnson. Published Mon 27 Sep 2010 16:28, last updated: 31/05/13

Dope legend Howard has told how Harry Potter star Rhys Ifans begged to play him in a biopic before the pair embarked on huge weed and coke binges to get in character.

At the height of his smuggling empire Howard had 43 aliases each with their own passport, 89 phone lines, and 25 companies trading throughout the world.

The author, now 63, was dubbed 'Mr Nice' for his charming nature by the CIA when he controlled about 10 per cent of the world's hash supply.

Unsurprisingly chief cainer Rhys struck up an instant friendship with Hash King Howard after they met at a Super Furry Animals gig and begged to play him.

The BBC bought the rights to his best-selling autoboigraphy Mr Nice shortly afterwards and to keep the ageing hippy happy they gave him a cameo as a stoner Dutch coffee shop owner.

Rhys is due to play cross-eyed wizard Xenophilus Lovegood in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but has enjoyed a long standing relationship with drug legalisation campaigner Howard.

Speaking on the balcony of the exclusive Vincent Hotel in Southport, Howard said he couldn't refuse a marathon session with lanky star Rhys, 40, and getting off their heads was good for the film.

He said: "I met Rhys before he acted in anything and before I wrote the book.

"We met at a Super Furry Animals gig and he said 'If you ever do your life story please let me play you when I grow up?’

"I didn't think he would ever become an actor - he was just a chancer sleeping on the the Super Furry's drummer's floor at the time.

"But we've become good friends over the years and I kept my word.

"It's amazing that his cousin taped our first meeting back stage and there's a dubious scene where you see us agreeing to do the film.

"Rhys is great - he's one of those method actors you know, he really lives the part.

"So he wanted to go on some real big benders with me to see how I am when I'm really off my head.

"I tried to tell him he doesn't need to study me much, we've know each other ages and go out at least once a year together.

"But he loves a bender see and told me he really wanted to get inside my mind and my speech patterns - who am I to refuse?

"We went on a really heavy coke and weed session on one of his days off and I think it took his toll - but it'll probably look great in the film.

"He was brilliant in Not Only But Also as Peter Cook, so I'm thrilled and can't wait to see how the film turns out and my cameo in it as a Dutch coffee shop owner."

Howard added: "Writing the book was a thrill. It brought back a lot of memories and I never expected it to take off the way it did.

"I wrote with ageing hippies like myself in mind, but it was their kids who went out and bought it and that was a real surprise.

"I'm thrilled to have a cameo in the film as a Dutch coffee shop owner and can't wait to see the final edit."



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