By the time he started filming “Almost Heroes” (which opened Friday) with Chris Farley, Matthew Perry had heard about the late comedian’s self-destructive tendencies. But according to the “Friends” star, Farley was on his best behavior for the entire production. “He was actually completely straight while making this movie,” recalls Perry. “It was a relatively healthy time for him.” A film schedule without booze and drugs didn’t come easily, though: People involved with the project reportedly were forced to bring in a sobriety counselor to keep an eye on Farley. “Heroes” finished filming in the fall of ’96. More than a year later, on Dec. 18, 33-year-old Farley was found dead in his luxury Chicago apartment after a four-day drinking and drug binge.
“Almost Heroes,” in which Farley and Perry star as bumbling explorers trying to beat Lewis & Clark to the Pacific Coast, doesn’t break new ground for Farley: As in his other films (“Tommy Boy,” “Beverly Hills Ninja”), the oversize actor bellows most of his lines. The movie will be scrutinized, however, because it’s the first time fans get to see Farley since his death. Perry says he’s glad he had the chance to befriend the former SNL comedian while he could: “I continue to miss him. I was amazed that when I started to get to know him, I learned how smart and how caring a guy he was. You would see him across the room and just want to hug him.”