As polished or hilarious as a movie script might be, it usually pays to let talented actors flex their muscles in front of the camera. Whether it’s on-the-spot jokes, or in-the-moment drama and action, the most memorable movie moments come when the script is tossed out the window. Here are Screen Rant’s 20 Greatest Unscripted Movie Moments.
As witty as writer/director Joss Whedon was when it came to the script of The Avengers, Robert Downey, Jr. did him one better. When the script called for Iron Man to call Thor “Shakespeare in the Park,” Downey got the idea, delivering one of the movie’s biggest laughs, right off the top of his head
Hugh Jackman may have been called in to play a live-action Wolverine at the last minute, but he made his mark on the cast immediately. While filming his first scenes in Xavier mansion, he decided to take an unscripted shot at Professor X They probably knew then that he already had Logan’s characters perfectly formed, – humor and all.
There’s no limit to Emma Stone’s charm, which means that even when she accidentally calls her superhero boyfriend by his REAL name the cameras keep rolling. She was supposed to say Spider-Man, and her reaction was completely genuine, but perfect for the character.
No portrayal will likely match Jack Nicholson’s version of the Joker – a villain so weird, you can’t help but love him. Most of his lines were in the script, but Nicholson has admitted that his strange raspberry blow, flying bird exit from Vicki Vale’s apartment was complete improv, making us wonder where the script ended, and the real Joker began.
It’s hard to forget the opening battle of Ridley Scott’s Roman epic, but both he and star Russell Crowe knew that a quieter moment for Maximus was needed before the action started. The problem was, none had been written. While trying to come up with a solution, a bird decided to hop its way through the set. So Scott rolled the cameras, Crowe gave his reactions, and the rest is history.
The Lion King
It isn’t just live-action actors who get to improvise, either. When the time comes for Timon to cause a distraction to help Simba return to Pride Rock, actor Nathan Lane decided to add a joke suggestion of his own It turned out that was a better idea than what had actually been planned, meaning Timon wound up doing exactly that.
Ridley Scott wasn’t afraid to use tough love in getting the best from Sigourney Weaver, making sure her co-stars really did slap her instead of faking it. But to truly put her on edge, he instructed actor Yaphet Kotto to interrupt all of her lines. By the scene following Dallas’ death, she’d had enough, telling her co- star, not the character to “SHUT UP!”
The Dark Knight Rises
The villain Bane may have been terrifying, but you can’t say he didn’t have a sense of humor – or a softer side But Bane’s description of the young boy singing the national anthem at a Gotham football game was actually actor Tom Hardy’s, improvised on the spot.