11 Unscripted Improv Movie Moments You Probably Never Noticed

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For an actor Improv is important. It demonstrates an actor’s ability to understand the character role and quickly create unscripted actions and lines to a movie.

Here are 11 Unscripted Movie Moments that you probably never noticed:

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Originally, R. Lee Ermey wasn’t even cast in the role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman but after Ermey submitted a tape of himself spewing insults at group of Royal Marines for 15 minutes straight, Kubrick cast him immediately

Ermey wrote 150 pages of insults and Kubrick estimated that 50% of the character’s dialog was improvised by the former drill instructor.

The Shining (1980)

As Jack Torrance in the 1980 horror film “The Shining,” Jack Nicholson rips his way through the Overlook Hotel in pursuit of his movie wife, played by Shelley Duvall. In the movie’s most quoted moment, Torrance chops a hole in a bathroom door, announcing to his terrified spouse — “Here’s Johnny!” The famous line was Nicholson’s own creation.

Nicholson was actually mimicking the catchphrase used by Ed McMahon to introduce Johnny Carson on The Johnny Carson Show (a hugely popular show at the time).

Silence Of The Lambs (1992)

“A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.” He then hisses and sucks at Starling in a truly revolting and disturbing manner, forever putting an entire generation off that particular variety of wine.

Hollywood rumour says that this hissing was just a joke thrown in by Hopkins. He never intended it to be so frightening, not to mention appearing in the final cut and becoming so utterly conspicuous.

Jaws (1975)

Jaws (1975)

While chumming the waters in an attempt to lure the deadly great white shark within range, Police Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) gets his first look at exactly how massive the killer shark truly is.

Stunned, startled and filled with fear he stands up and utters the now famous line to Orca Captain Quint (Robert Shaw) completely off-script, “We’re going to need a bigger boat.”

The Godfather (1972)

The Godfather (1972)

The cat was never part of the original script. Some reports say that Coppola plopped the feline into Brando’s lap just before filming began. Other reports say Brando found “il gatto” roaming around the set, picked him and gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

The Usual Suspects (1995)

The lineup of ‘felons’ in this Bryan Singer movie was almost cut out the script, because there wasn’t much weight to it. Upon shooting, the actors were told to improvise their own delivery of the line “Give me the fucking keys”, and the result was so funny it was kept in.

The writer(McQuarrie) actually plays the cop speaking with the suspects and both his line to Fred Fenster (Benicio Del Toro) “In English please?” and Del Toro’s reaction were unscripted.

Taxi Driver (1976)

Taxi Driver (1976)

It’s one of the most famous lines in cinema. It also never appeared in the script for the 1976 Robert De Niro movie “Taxi Driver.” According to screenwriter Paul Schrader, the script simply said “Travis speaks to himself in the mirror,” and De Niro improvised the classic dialogue.

Dumb and Dumber (1994)

Dumb and Dumber (1994)

There are many scenes in the film that show how moronic and simple-minded best friends Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) can be but this one showed how annoying they can be on car trips – and it was entirely unscripted.

Even hitman Joe Mentalino’s (Mike Starr) hissy fit reaction to the scene was unscripted, which makes the scene that much funnier.

Aliens (1986)

Aliens (1986)

Private Hudson (Bill Paxton) – ever the pessimist – laments “That’s it man, game over man, game over! What are we going to do now?” The original line didn’t include the “game over” part and was ad libbed by Paxton.

Tootsie (1982)

Tootsie (1982)

During this scene, aspiring playwright Jeff Slater (Bill Murray) was required to appear to be talking throughout the entire party; however, there was no dialog written for the character.

As a natural entertainer and comedian, Murray improvised the entire scene.

The Dark Knight (2008)

The Dark Knight (2008)

As the Joker (Heath Ledger) waits quietly alone in jail after having been arrested by Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman), Mayor Garcia (Nestor Carbonell) shows up to look over Gotham’s latest scourge. While there he also promotes Gordon to the position of Commissioner.

As the officers in the room applaud the announcement Ledger begins, unscripted, to slowly clap – never changing his facial expression. It was just a simple improvisation but one that was unsettling and darkly brilliant.

 

Another of Ledger’s unscripted performances occurred during the hospital explosion scene. The pause in the explosions was scripted, but Heath Ledger’s actions while it was stopped were unscripted.