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Unscripted: Whoops...Well, Let's Just Keep It Anyway

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I heard soon after the movie came out that the scene in The Dark Knight Rises when The Joker is walking away from the hospital and he pushes the button to blow it up, the pyro didn't go off as expected so Ledger's reaction to turn around and slap the remote was unscripted.  It made me smile because his performance in that movie was so fantastic and it never occurred to me that wasn't actually how it was supposed to go.  Which I guess is what causes an unscripted moment to end up in a movie to begin with.

 

I just recently found out that the slow clapping in the police station when Gordon gets promoted was also unscripted.  Which is one of the things that creeped me out the most in his performance.  That and the tongue thing....gah!

 

One that always made me laugh to hear about was when Rose drops her robe and stands naked in front of Jack in Titanic.  Leo's reaction of stammering through "Over there on the bed....the couch...." always made me crack up.  You'd have thought he'd never seen a naked woman before.

 

ETA:  Need the title fixed.  Ooops....LOL

Edited by CaughtOnTape

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These are always fun! Here are a few that I'm aware of:

 

"We're going to need a bigger boat." was ad libbed by Roy Scheider in Jaws

 

In Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts was having a bad day emotionally and it was the same day they had to film the scene where she's getting ready for the opera.  So, Gary pulled Richard Gere aside and told him to snap the box lid down on her fingers when she went to touch the necklace.  It was only meant to lighten her up a little, but her reaction was so great, he left it in.

 

In Midnight Cowboy, the "I'm walking here!" scene wasn't scripted--the road was blocked off and only certain cars driven by people in production were allowed through. But, one driver decided he didn't like that, pushed his way around the blockade and almost hit Dustin Hoffman as he stepped into the street.  Dustin went with it and the ad lib worked.

 

In Ocean's Eleven, when Danny was telling Rusty why it was important to him to do the Vegas job, Brad thought that it was getting a bit boring, so he ad libbed the line about whether or not Danny had rehearsed that speech a lot and George's response was so natural, they kept it.

 

In Caddyshack, Carl's running commentary while pretending to play golf (smacking the flowers), was 100% ad libbed.  One actual "oops!" was when they realized that they had two of the biggest comedians of the time, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray, and their characters never had a scene together.  So, the scene in Carl's home was written quickly and late in the filming. 

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Animal House: The guitar in in the infamous guitar smashing scene was a breakaway that was supposed to shatter after one hit to the wall.  It didn't, so John Belushi frantically bashing it over and over on the wall until it's in pieces was all adlibbed.

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In a recent example, apparently Barkhad Abdi adlibbed "Look at me! I am the captain now", which is pretty damn great.  And in a similar vein, Tommy Lee Jones adlibbed "I don't care" in The Fugitive.  

 

Madeline Khan adlibbed the whole "Flames...flames!  On the side of my face!", which is my favorite part of Clue.

 

David Duchovney's adlib to Ben Stiller accidentally repeating "But why male models" in Zoolander always cracks me up.  "Are you kidding?  I just told you a minute ago"

 

My all-time favorite adlib is probably Robin Williams' story about his wife's farting in Good Will Hunting.  Seeing Matt Damon laugh so hard that he's crying, yet still trying to keep it together for the scene is fantastic.

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When Harry Met Sally-When Billy Crystal asks Meg Ryan out, I believe the commentary said the whole accent part of it was ad libbed. At one point she laughs and looks away. Rob Reiner said she was actually looking to him for help and he just motioned for her to play along.
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One that always made me laugh to hear about was when Rose drops her robe and stands naked in front of Jack in Titanic.  Leo's reaction of stammering through "Over there on the bed....the couch...." always made me crack up.  You'd have thought he'd never seen a naked woman before.

 

Was she not supposed to be nude?

 

Two from Harrison Ford come to mind. The bit from Raiders of the Lost Ark where he shoots that guy with the sword, and his "I know" in response to Princess Leia's "I love you."

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Heh, I love stuff like this, so this will probably be one of my favorite threads.  A few I can think of at the moment:

 

In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Uhura and Chekov are asking the woman where the "nuclear wessels" are, originally, the character wasn't suppose to actually say anything, but the extra improvised the line about it being in Alameda, and they ended up keeping it in the film.

 

In Walking Tall, (2004 version), when The Rock smashes the taillights of Neal McDonough's Porsche, he actually wasn't suppose to do it to the real car; I'm guessing they were planning on building a fake taillight, and shoot it later.  But he actually did that to the car, and they kept the take.  I did notice that Neal and Cobie Smulders' startled reactions were really good, so maybe it wasn't all acting (and Cobie looked like she was trying not to laugh at one point.)

 

Bill Paxton apparently ad-libbed the "Game over, man!  Game over!" part of Hudson's freak-out in Aliens.

 

Finally (for now), in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, when Merry and Pippin are taking by the Orcs, and Aragorn kicks the helmet and screams, the scream was actually really because Viggo Mortensen kicked the helmet so hard, he broke two of his toes.  Additional Viggo bonus: in The Fellowship of the Ring, when the orc, Lurtz, threw that dagger that Aragorn deflected, apparently it was suppose to hit a tree behind Viggo, but the stuntman/actor accidentally threw it right at Viggo, and that deflect was just unscripted combination of luck and Viggo's badassery.

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Two from Harrison Ford come to mind. The bit from Raiders of the Lost Ark where he shoots that guy with the sword, and his "I know" in response to Princess Leia's "I love you."

 

Ford talked about this an interview. He says most of his stuff is not truly ad-libbed, and he discusses things with the director before the shot. He told Lucas "I know" would be more in character so the latter agreed.

 

Roman Holiday: Audrey Hepburn's reactions in the hand scene are real. I think Wyler wanted her to being genuinely scared.

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Was she not supposed to be nude?

I think the story is that she was always supposed to be nude, but he got so nervous actually seeing her naked that he messed up the line.

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The bit from Raiders of the Lost Ark where he shoots that guy with the sword

If I'm not mistaken, they went with this when Harrison showed up on set really sick and couldn't do the action involved and shooting a gun was quick.  When they tried it, it worked so well, they left it.

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In a recent example, apparently Barkhad Abdi adlibbed "Look at me! I am the captain now", which is pretty damn great.

Also pretty damn lucky for him because that's the main (only?) reason he got nominated for an Oscar.

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Here's a nice assortment, some of which have already been mentioned here: 

 

One of the most often quoted lines may actually be a misquote: I can't quite tell if Roy Scheider in Jaws says "We're going to need a bigger boat" or "You're going to need..."

 

If we're talking about lines the actors ad-libbed as opposed to things that weren't supposed to happen during the shooting but worked out nicely anyway, we could add many, many more examples. A lot of the dialogue in Robert Altman's M*A*S*H  was ad-libbed, for example.

 

And then there was the "giant boulder chasing Harrison Ford" in Raiders of the Lost Ark, which would have been quite different if Ford hadn't had dysentery.

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And then there was the "giant boulder chasing Harrison Ford" in Raiders of the Lost Ark, which would have been quite different if Ford hadn't had dysentery.

 

I think you mean the scene where Indy faces off against the Arab swordsman. Originally they planned a fight where Indy uses his whip against him but Ford had dysentary so they decided to have Indy shoot him.

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In Monty Python's The Life of Brian, the scene where Brian tells the crowd "You're all individuals" and the crowd replies "Yes, we're all individuals", the line "I'm not!" was improvised by one of the extras.

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The "flames on the side of my face" line from Clue was an ad lib.

 

In Dirty Dancing the scene where Jennifer Grey can't stop giggling in the Hungry Eyes montage was genuine and the director decided to use it in the film.

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Peggy Carter going to touch Steve's chest after his transformation in Captain America: The First Avenger was an unscripted move on Hayley Atwell's part.

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Peggy Carter going to touch Steve's chest after his transformation in Captain America: The First Avenger was an unscripted move on Hayley Atwell's part.

I laugh at that every single time, because, really, how could one resist? To hear it was essentially ad-libbed makes my day.

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I've always loved this little moment, in Almost Famous, where Patrick Fugit breaks character to ask Kate Hudson to repeat her line:

 

 

It really captures the warmth of the movie, and of their relationship, and Cameron Crowe liked the moment so much he kept it in.

Edited by Danny Franks
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In Clueless, Alicia mis-pronouced Haitians while giving Cher's "party with the Haitians" speech. It was so perfect for the character that they kept it in.

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In The Godfather when Luca Brasi pays homage to Don Corleone at his daughter's wedding, the actor was so nervous acting in front of Marlon Brando that he kept fumbling his lines and he couldn't get it right. Finally director Francis Ford Coppola decided to use it and later shot the scene that comes earlier of him by himself at the wedding rehearsing the lines: "Don Corleone, I am honored and grateful that you have invited me to your home on the wedding day of your daughter. And may their first child be a masculine child." That way whe Luca messes it up later it becomes payoff of a joke!

Edited by VCRTracking
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Apparently, Eddie is a master at Improv. Most comedians are.

 

In the movie "Daddy's Little Girls," China Anne McClain's older sister complains that then 7-year old China pees in the bed. China's line was "No I don't!" But then she ad-libbed "Don't be putting my business in the street." And the line was kept in the movie. Not bad for a 7 year-old.

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This line by Little Bill;"My wife has an a** in her c***" was a mistake left in. hope its not too dirty to post. If so I apologize.

 

 

Also wasn't Crissy's screaming "It hurts!" at the beginning of Jaws, when the shark is spinning her around in the water, because the mechanism was actually hurting the actress? 

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In Fellowship of the Ring, when Gandalf turns away from Bilbo after he takes the wizard's staff in Bag End, Ian McKellen whacked his head on the door beam because he forgot to bend over to go through the door. Since he stayed in character, they kept it in.

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In School Daze, the Fellas and the Gamma Dogs weren't supposed to fight in that homecoming pep rally scene. The Fellas were just supposed to walk off to the boo's of the Gammas and their sorostitutes. But Spike Lee, in an attempt to build up animosity between the "Wannabees" and "Jiggaboos", housed the "W"'s in much nicer housing than the J's, and it worked. They broke into a fight and Spike kept the cameras rolling.

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R. Lee Ermy's performance in Full Metal Jacket. Initially turned down for the part (too old), Stanley Kubrick kept him on as technical advisor. He eventually replaced the actor cast to play GySgt Hartman and was given approval by Kubrick to re-write/improvise many of his own lines drawing from his experience as an actual Marine Drill Instructor.    

Edited by Snowprince
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It's always rankled me that Kubrick was able to overcome his perfectionism and allow Ermy to improvise, but drove Scatman Crothers to tears with endlessly repeated takes during filming of The Shining.

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John Belushi tossing the cigarette lighter out of the Bluesmobile in The Blues Brothers was unscripted.  That doesn't shock me; it sounded like the sort of thing he'd do in real life.

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Since it was just the 4th of July, I'll say James Cagney's impromptu tap dance down the stairs at the end of Yankee Doodle Dandy.

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In The Princess Diaries, after Mia has been outed as a princess and is pacing in the bleachers Anne Hathaway actually tripped and fell.  The friend (name forgotten, sorry) asked if she was okay and Anne laughed it off and they left it in.

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In the English version of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo there's a shot where Mikael (Daniel Craig) walks into the kitchen, puts something into the fridge, steps away, sees a bottle falling off the top of the fridge, steps back, catches the falling bottle and replaces it on top of the fridge and then carries on.  That just happened and the director thought it was so delightfully graceful that he left it in.

 

In The Rundown the entire bit about "thunder and lightning" that Seann Williams Scott does was just an on-set joke but they thought it was so funny they wrote it in.

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In the "let's form a group and save the universe" scene in Guardians of the Galaxy (the one where the Guardians are sitting in a circle) Sean Gunn (brother of director James and on-set stand in for Rocket) ad libbed the line "bunch of jackasses standing in a circle."  It ended up staying in the movie.

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The heel breaking off Susan's shoe in Bringing Up Baby wasn't supposed to happen, and her "I was born on the side of a hill" routine in response was a Katharine Hepburn ad-lib that Howard Hawks left in because it was so funny and so perfectly in keeping with Susan's character.

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Not sure if this qualifies, but I didn't know where else to put it. In Tombstone when Curly Bill accidentally shoots and kills Fred the Marshall, there's a weird curved object sticking out of Fred's chest. WTF is it???

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I watched the movie Reminiscence on HBO Max and part of the plot is the main female character leaves behind a pair of earrings and that gives the main male character a reason to find her and return said earrings. Is it weird that it bothers me so much that every time they do a close-up of the main female character's ears there are no holes for earrings. I am becoming obsessed. How was she wearing the earrings, were they hanging the same way you hang Christmas Ornaments on a Christmas Tree?

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