In “Flight,” which hits theaters this Friday, John Goodman plays Harling Mays. Mays is a friend/drug dealer of Whip Whitaker’s (Denzel Washington), an airline pilot whose alcoholism has him embroiled in a scandal. Throughout the movie, Whitaker faces the constant internal struggle of whether he should or shouldn’t drink — a reality Goodman is familiar with from his own life.

“I’d have the shakes so bad I’d have to have a drink to get through [a] show. I’m lucky I never got fired,” Goodman tells New York. (The actor has been sober since 2007.) “It was terrible for my family… If I’d picture in my mind a drink — usually straight out of the ­bottle — I couldn’t not do it.” Today, he tries to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting every morning.

Goodman recently sat down for the latest edition of Moviefone’s Unscripted, where he made an alcohol-related joke after asking co-star Denzel Washington what he does to stay calm. “When I am acting, I try and take 40 breaths before every take,” Washington said. “I just like that number, 40. Ali Babba and the 40 Thieves, rained for 40 days and 40 nights …” to which Goodman jokingly added “40 ounces,” a statement that got a hearty laugh out of everyone on set.

You can read more about Goodman’s struggles with alcoholism, and roles in his upcoming films, over on NYMag.com. Make sure to check out more about the new film in our full Unscripted up above. “Flight,” starring Goodman, Washington and Don Cheadle, hits theaters on Friday.

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