An actor’s job is to follow the script in movies, but on rare occasions, actors take it upon themselves to add some lines for their characters. A few of these lines have become iconic in cinematographic history to be remembered forever. Take a look at some of the lines…
The Devil Wears Prada
Meryl Streep’s take on the magazine editor, Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada received rave reviews everywhere. Streep’s masterstroke in the lines of “Everybody wants to be us” was not even in the script. No matter, it essentially captured Streep’s character.
One of Whoopi Goldberg’s best roles would have to be in the Ghost movies. In 1991, she received the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for this. Whoopi played a charlatan psychic who comes into contact with the ghost of Patrick Swayze’s character, Sam. When he realized that his murderer was still alive, he asks her to inform his girlfriend, Molly, played by Demi Moore. But Goldberg added the unforgettable line, “Molly, you in trouble, girl,” which was not in her script.
A Few Good Men
A Few Good Men had multiple superstars in its cast with the likes of Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, and Kevin Bacon. The movie was basically about working to clamp down on Marines who had been charged with murdering a fellow marine. Jack Nicholson’s character became a crucial element in the movie. Getting infuriated in the court after being asked to speak the truth, Colonel Nathan R. Jessup replies, “you can’t handle the truth!”
On a hectic journey where Harrison Ford is on the run for being wrongly accused of murder, Tommy Lee Jones is hot on his tail. He later tracks him down in a sewer where Ford’s character, pointing the gun at Jones says aloud “I didn’t kill my wife,” the pursuer’s lines were supposed to be “that isn’t my problem.” But when Tommy forgot the line, answering with a simple, “I don’t care!”
When Harry Met Sally
In the iconic rom-com, Rob Reiner’s 1989 classic When Harry Met Sally. everybody got to know what it takes to make a beautiful piece of romantic cinema. However, Billy Crystal came up with the line, “I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie,” Meg Ryan couldn’t help but crack up at her acting buddy’s sheer audacity.
There can be external reasons why unexpected lines have been used in movies. In the Midnight Cowboy, for example, Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman walked across the road and an actual taxi driver made his way into the scene. Since he did not notice the“street closed for filming” sign, the driver nearly ran the two actors over. But Hoffman stayed in character and expressed his road rage screaming “I’m walking here!”
In the mother of all mafia movies, The Godfather, actor Richard Castellano did an extreme improvisation in his acting. After Paulie Gatto (Johnny Martino) attempts to kill Don Corleone, two of Don’s henchmen take revenge on the traitor and kill him. After the murder took place, Castellano’s lines were simply “leave the gun.” But in a moment of pure genius, he added the wonderful, “take the cannoli.”
In the second installment of Aliens, Sigourney Weaver’s wakes up from hyper-sleep. Aliens are agreed by many as being better than the first movie. Director James Cameron forcibly pulled off the same rare feat with Terminator 2 is considered better than the original by many. Bill Paxton plays Private Hudson. Paxton revealed that the majority of his lines were improvised including the iconic, “Game over, man! Game over!” Paxton went on to win the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor.
The film casts John Voigt and Burt Reynolds. It tells the story of a bunch of friends that go off in the wilderness that ultimately turns into an incredibly traumatic test of survival skills. In a horrific scene from the movie, one of the main characters gets attacked by a gang of hillbillies. When one of the assailants yells the line “squeal like a pig”, he starts squealing and the whole thing was on the spot improvisation.
Good Will Hunting
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon experienced rave reviews for their drama, Good Will Hunting. However, Robin Williams was the main attention in the movie which shows his serious acting side as psychiatrist Sean Maguire. In one of the final scenes, he reads a letter that Damon’s wrote to him. One of the lines was “I gotta see about a girl.” In true Robin Williams fashion, he added an improvised line “son of a b*tch. He stole my line.”
Being John Malkovich
Being John Malkovich is a film filled with twists and unpredictable turns. There should be no surprise that there was an unscripted line coming its way. Take for example, when a drunk threw a can at John Malkovich’s head and called “Hey, Malkovich! Think fast!” They were pleased with the outcome so they kept it in the final cut although the director never asked the actor to blurt out such words.
Many claims that this movie is as good as The Godfather, to be one of the greatest gangster movies of all time, directed by Martin Scorcese’s. This film is full of scenes that are decorated with golden improvisation. Each scene was special mainly due to Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Ray Liotta’s excellent camaraderie.
The Silence Of The Lambs
Anthony Hopkins found worldwide fame when he portrayed the evil Hannibal Lecter in the thriller The Silence of the Lambs. Towards the end of the movie, Hannibal delivers a monologue to Jodie Foster about eating human liver with “fava beans and a nice Chianti.” During the rehearsals, Hopkins had added his own sound effect to enhance the horrific dimension of the scene. He invented the Hannibal Lecter’s iconic hissing sound.
“You talkin’ to me?” may be one of the most memorable lines in movie history. The line is from Martin Scorcese’s classic Taxi Driver. All that Robert De Niro was instructed to do in the now iconic scene with mirror. The script just said, Shocking to find out that it was never included in the script right? All that Robert De Niro was instructed to do in the now iconic scene with mirror. The script just said, “Bickle speaks to himself in the mirror.” It was all his doing.
Who could have guessed that in a movie with Harrison Ford, another actor would overshadow him in the final scene? In Blade Runner, this happened when Rutger Hauer played the android antagonist and recited the first few lines of David Peoples’ script. The emotional monologue was tweaked by the actor. This became the iconic “tears of rain” speech and also one of the most recognized speeches in the film.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Gene Wilder reportedly agreed to this film if he was allowed a surprise entrance. Willy Wonka’s iconic entrance was explained later on as “From that time on, no one will know if I’m lying or telling the truth.” Wilder also changed various aspects of the movies, for example, the design of Wonka’s outfit
After Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) received a whooping from RoboCop he was taken into custody. He then went on to spit blood onto the paperwork in front of him on the desk. Smith and director Paul Verhoeven discussed adding a line in “Give me my f***in’ phone call!” All the extras and actors were all baffled and their plan was indeed successful.
A Clockwork Orange
Stanley Kubrick’s chilling thriller is indeed a tricky one. During the scene where Alex (Malcolm McDowell) and his cronies tried attacking a woman, Kubrick was not happy with a number of takes. Finally, he decided to tell McDowell “Just do whatever you want”. In a moment of brilliant improvisation, he went into the scene singing Singing in the Rain while doing his acting adding to the creepy feel of the whole scene.
Saving Private Ryan
Steven Spielberg’s super emotional war movie Saving Private Ryan superbly showcased the horrors that soldiers had to go through during World War II. In the midst of an argument, Tom Hanks’ Captain Miller and Matt Damon’s Private Ryan sit down and think about their lives back home. In such a small scene, Matt Damon ended up completely making up an anecdote about his character catching his brother kissing a girl giving substance to the scene.
The other name for this movie was How I Learned To Stop Worrying About The Bomb, Dr. Strangelove. It is an eccentric satire that consists of the paranoia surrounding the threat of nuclear war. The movie was designed through a retro-script, which meant that the script was made up from a collection of ad-libs put together over time. A notable scene is Peter Sellers’ Dr. Strangelove’s inability to control his right arm retorting to Nazi salute.
Derek Zoolander is undoubtedly one of Ben Stiller’s most iconic roles ever. During an interview with David Duchovny’s character J.P. Prewitt, there was a true moment of unscripted comedic gold. After Duchovny delivers a long soliloquy, Stiller asks “Why male models?” a couple of times. It was not the intention of the actor to do so but this cinematic faux pas turned out to indirectly enhance Zoolander’s idiotic persona. Duchovny went with it and the rest was history.
Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining is truly movie gold. Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson, looks after the haunted hotel with him slowly turning mad. While shooting the scene where he breaks open the door with the help of an axe, he went against the script and screamed, “Here’s Johnny!”
The Empire Strikes Back
In case you have not seen this improvisation scene in The Empire Strikes Back, you’ve probably been living under a rock. In the climactic scene of the Star Wars sequel, Han Solo and Princess Leia are break off by Darth Vader. Leia kisses Han and says, “I love you.” Harrison went with his guts and replied with a short “I know.” The ad-lib completely blew director Irwin Kirshner away.
When Marty Feldman took on the classic role of Igor in 1974’s Young Frankenstein, he added flavor to his character with his weird behavior. The assistant to Dr. Frederick Frankenstein included the line “what hump?” into the dialogue and would amusingly move the hump on his back. The directors felt that it should be in the script although it was not pre-planned.
Dumb and Dumber
This iconic comedy hit form the 90’s follows Harry and Lloyd on their ill-fated road trip to Aspen to deliver a suitcase left by love interest Mary Swanson in an airport. In the road trip scene, where Harry and Lloyd play “tag” and bicker like children, Lloyd bellows to demonstrate one of the most irritating sounds ever and it was indeed improvised. 15% of the whole film is ad-libbed, actually.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
When Harry joins the Weasley family for dinner, the parents Arthur and Molly Weasley have trouble deciding on how to discipline the boys Molly admonishes them for taking out their fascinated magical car, while Arthur sounds like he wanted to be part of the fun as well. The next line was done in many times, and every time it was something else,” according to Chris Rankin. The final line that made the cut was, however, this: “what exactly is the function of a rubber duck?”
Rick Moranis plays the annoying, nerdy neighbor in Ghostbusters, later playing a sinister role. Rick must have mastered the art of improvisation on the Second City Television, a show with Chicago improvisers who learned from the legendary Del Close.
Knocked Up is a 2007 comedy following Seth Rogan’s character, where he played a guy who is incredibly unprepared for his impending role as a father. Since Rogan had been doing comedy since he was just 12, and also under the guidance of comedy guru Judd Apatow, who has made some of the biggest comedy hits of the 2000’s.
In 2005, Apatow’s first feature film The 40-Year-Old Virgin cast Steve Carell for its leading role. The director was only getting started. Carell mastered his portrayal of a grown man who was about to lose his virginity. Carell actually had his chest waxed in 40-Year-Old Virgin. All the swearing was legit because this was his first time getting waxed.
The 2013 Disney blockbuster hit Frozen took home two Academy Awards for Original Song and Animated Feature. Frozen is the most famous animated film ever and drove little girls everywhere to beg for Anna and Elsa toys and costumes. Josh Gad provided comic relief as Olaf the snowman. Gad is good-humored and absorbing and makes a great impression during Olaf’s introduction. The scene was actually made up on the spot, then and there.
The Dark Knight
Heath Ledger took on the role of the legendary villain The Joker, he took matters into his own hands in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Although Ledger’s inclusion on this list isn’t the result of an ad-libbed line, his actions were not scripted. When Commissioner Gordon was promoted, the crazy criminal just gave the policeman some sarcastic claps.
The Usual Suspects
This movie has one of the best plots in the history of cinema. It was crucial that Brian Singer’s The Usual Suspects was executed meticulously to the script. But in the interrogation scene that makes the movie memorable, the actors were virtually given carte-blanche to do as they pleased to give the scene some comic levity. One example is when Benicio Del Toro slurred his words, the cop cheekily said, “in English please.”
When you think of Julia Roberts, you think Pretty Woman. Richard Gere’s Edward Lewis bursts onto the scene to turn Vivian into a classy love interest. But it’s the little moment when Lewis shows her a necklace. She gets thrown off guard when he suddenly shuts the box after she reaches for it. This was actually a joke which results in Roberts giving out her adorable genuine laugh.
The famous line “My name is Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump.” is indeed popular. It seems Tom Hanks completely ad-libbed the whole scene with Bubba. The director of the film, Robert Zemeckis, loved it so much he decided to include it in the movie. Hanks won Best Actor award for his performance in the films. Forrest Gump also won Best Picture.