Woody Harrelson Says He Drank Snake Blood With Michael J. Fox

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At the 2022 Governors Awards, Woody Harrelson honored his old friend Michael J. Fox, and told a story about the pair doing cobra blood shots together in Thailand.

By Sean Thiessen
| Published

Woody Harrelson honored Michael J. Fox Saturday at the 2022 Governors Awards in Los Angeles, presenting his long-time friend with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. Harrelson gave a heartfelt speech about Fox, lauding the Back to the Future star’s decades-long advocacy for those fighting Parkinson’s disease. Page Six reported a wild story Harrelson told during the ceremony that detailed Harrelson and Fox’s journey to taking snake blood shots one night in Thailand.

The Zombieland actor started by detailing his first encounter with Fox, in which Harrelson saw Fox on television at a party and was immediately astonished at the actor’s ability and the spell he cast on everyone in the room. The actors met later at a Cheers Christmas party in the 1980s, during which Fox played his guitar solo from Back to the Future for the entire crowd. The two have been friends ever since.

One night in 1989, Woody Harrelson visited his pal Michael J. Fox in Thailand. Fox was there filming The Casualties of War, and the pair got up to some serious shenanigans when they stumbled upon a young boy antagonizing a group of cobras.

According to Harrelson, the boy pestered the cobras fearlessly, picked the meanest, most riled up one, and threw it in a cage with a mongoose. The White Men Can’t Jump actor regarded the ensuing battle as, “…the craziest fight I’ve ever seen between any animals other than studio executives,” a joke that landed nicely with the entertainment industry crowd.

Woody Harrelson and Michael J. Fox in their only feature film together, Doc Hollywood (1991)

The brutal brawl ended in victory for the mongoose, and the cobra’s blood was drained into shot glasses. Harrelson explains drinking the blood of a cobra makes one brothers with the snake. The glasses of blood were topped off with Thai whiskey, and Harrelson and Fox went bottoms up with the lunatic concoction.

Woody Harrelson, ever the gentlemen, commended Michael J. Fox as someone who could hold his liquor before revealing that his friend immediately vomited the mixture. “He never could hold his snake blood,” Harrelson joked.

Two years later, Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a brain disorder that gradually tolls the nervous system. Since then, Fox has made the best out of his situation. While the disease certainly derailed the actor’s career, Fox has continued to take part in a variety of film and television projects.

Michael J. Fox, Woody Harrelson, and Richard Kind in “Meet Tommy Dugan” – Season 1, Episode 9 of Spin City

More notably, the actor has used his fame to become an advocate for Parkinson’s patients. Since 2000, The Michael J. Fox Foundation has raised over $1 billion for Parkinson’s research. Harrelson’s snake blood shot anecdote teed him up to celebrate Fox’s activism and attitude.

Harrelson commended Fox for not giving into despair, despite such a grim diagnosis at a young age. He exalted Fox for a life of achievement under cruel circumstances, noting his friend as, “Vulnerable, yes. A victim, never. An inspiration, always.”

Woody Harrelson and Michael J. Fox have been buddies for decades, and that friendship was on beautiful display Saturday night. Michael J. Fox’s beloved career and admirable activism will converge in a documentary about the actor, helmed by An Inconvenient Truth director Davis Guggenheim and said to be narrated by Fox himself. Though Michael J. Fox’s life took an unexpected turn, he continues to set an example for people everywhere about how to live life to fullest, no matter the circumstances.