Improvised Movie & TV Moments That Unwittingly Stole The Show
Just rolling with the punches
Movies and television shows would get nowhere without their screenwriters. Who else would think of the story, develop the characters and give us lines that we endlessly quote and laugh about? But while their jobs cannot be diminished in any way, there’s no denying that some actors take the cake with their improvised lines, too.
Fast & Furious 6
Dwayne Johnson’s iconic burn in Fast Six was inspired by Ludacris, who told him to play a joke on Tyrese Gibson. The result? Ludacris’s very real reaction of spitting his drink out.
Most people that didn’t know Hugh Laurie before House, MD were surprised to learn that he was British. But for the people that worked with him, particularly Robert Sean Leonard, he was as English as English people could get. Which is why, when Laurie said “Look, I know you’re friends with her, but there’s a code! Bros before hoes, man!” Leonard couldn’t help but laugh a little.
This famous scene from Midnight Cowboy was filmed in real traffic and (understandably) required quite a number of takes. But just as Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight were getting it right, a cab got in the way. Must have been frustrating at the time, but we did get one of the film industry’s most recognizable lines from it.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin
This scene? All. Real. Steve Carell really did get his chest waxed and every word that came out of his mouth was a real reaction to the pain. If you watch the scene closely, you can even see the waxing esthetician get a little uncomfortable and unsure.
The Dark Knight
By now we all know that Heath Ledger totally internalized The Joker, which took a toll on his personal life but led to one amazing performance. But it seems, even without intent, Ledger was on as proven by his creepy slow clap—an improvised moment which Christopher Nolan spontaneously decided to keep shooting.
The Walking Dead
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Off-set chemistry between cast members can be a thing, largely because it will undoubtedly spill over on screen, too. Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride really hit it off and Daryl’s unscripted dig at Carol in this scene is proof of that.
Parks And Recreation
Chris Pratt is a comedic genius and he got to warm up his talent on Parks and Recreation, where the cast was not only allowed to improvise, but were encouraged to do so. His line in the above scene, which is so innocent and simple, is a fan favorite and has even been called the “funniest line ever spoken on [the show]” by creator Mike Schur.
A serious moment can oftentimes be made more realistic when something unexpectedly hilarious happens. And Richard Gere’s snap of the necklace box was completely unplanned—and Julia Robert’s reaction is 100 percent genuine.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Originally, Han Solo was supposed to tell Princess Leia that he loved her, too. But realizing that his character wouldn’t say something like that in the moment, Harrison Ford went with something stronger and worked better for the scene: “I know.”
Sometimes, rolling with the punches can get you further than if you planned it.