From the one-liners that have made a mark in cinematic history to the charming scenes that captured viewer’s hearts, some of film’s most iconic scenes are totally improvised and end up being the making of an incredible movie. From Jack Nicholson’s ‘Here’s Johnny’, in The Shining, to Anthony Hopkins revolting ‘hissss’ in The Silence of The Lambs, represent memorable scenes that might never have been…
The adapted Steven King novel The Shining, produced by Stanley Kubrick, is one of the world’s most classic horror movies with its eerie directing style and characteristic jumpy twists.
Even those who have not watched the film will be familiar with the most famous line ‘Heeeeere’s Johnny!’ which follows after Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) bursts through the bathroom door in attempt to kill his wife.
This frightening line, which references the introduction of Johnny Carsen on The Tonight Show, now remains the most memorable scene of the whole film.
On the topic of Jack Nicholson, The Departed is another one of his movies that marks his use of intense improvisation to create an unforgettable moment.
Frank Costello (Nicholson) pulls out a gun on Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) during a heated discussion. The scene had the actor completely unprepared as DiCaprio performed a legitimate surprised and uneasy reaction. In an interview with The Telegraph he said this unscripted moment ‘changed the whole dynamic of the scene, and that’s what he does – he makes you so much better and he makes you react as an actor, and you take more chances because your character is reacting to this homicidal maniac.’
Probably the most heart-throbbing and endearing scene in the classic love story, of Pretty Woman, is when Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) presents Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) with a divine necklace.
Whilst admiring the gift, before Julia can take it, Richard snaps the box shut which left the actress in hysterics. This was a completely natural reaction and, as Director Gary Marshall revealed in a interview with The American film Institute, it was intended for the blooper’s reel. But as the reaction was so legitimate and heart warming, how could they resist putting it in?!
Everyone is familiar with the famous line “You talking to me?” (More than likely through imitations in our own mirrors!) but what is most surprising is that this classic line was not part of the script. This line was introduced into the movie whilst Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) was talking to himself in the mirror. Paul Schrader, the Director, openly does not take credit for this memorable line as the script only read “Travis talks to himself in the mirror”. De Niro created the dialogue on the spot which in fact defines the truest portrayal of his character; an isolated and troubled man who stimulates the world in the way he sees it.
Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory
Taking it back to the 1970’s, Willy Wonka’s infamous boat scene reflects one of Gene Wilder’s greatest surprises. Paris Themmen, who played Mike Teevee, is an energetic 11-year-old kid for the majority of the movie, however Wilder’s unexpected boat ride performance created a daunting journey that made him visibly uncomfortable and quite frankly, frightened as he was not prepared.
Not only this but, in the DVD’s featurette, Peter Ostrum (Charlie) reveals that he and Jack Albertson (Grampa Joe) were also not aware of the actors’ intentions. They were not warned that Wilder would be yelling at them in the ending office scene. Wilder rehearsed the scene in a much calmer tone. This was done to create an honest, startled and shocking reaction, from both characters, during filming.
These two legendary moments were set to be improvised in order to emphasise Willy Wonka’s crazy and frantic persona that director Mel Stuart wanted to achieve.
Did you know these moments were improvised?
Text: Ella Buxton
Images: Youtube, The Telegraph, ocregister.com, LA Times