Here are some behind-the-scenes facts about some of the most memorable moments in movie history:
In The Silence of the LambsJodie Foster said that Anthony Hopkins improvised Hannibal Lecter’s mocking of Clarice’s accent — which was Foster’s own accent.
In a DVD featurette, she said: “There’s a moment in the movie where Hannibal says, ‘You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes?…’ I can’t think of anything more hurtful than somebody standing there, saying, ‘I really feel sorry for you. You’re really pathetic.’ He started imitating my accent. He would say, ‘Your problem, Clarice, is you need to get a little more fuhn out of life.’ And suddenly, I just — it upset me so much! It, like, struck a really bad chord in me. Anthony is the nicest man I’ve worked with in a long time, and the difference between that, of course, and the fury and passion of Hannibal Lecter is very interesting.”
In E.T. the Extra-TerrestrialSteven Spielberg enlisted real doctors from USC Medical Center to play the doctors who try to save E.T., because Spielberg “felt that actors talking about technical medical matters didn’t seem natural.”
According to Allison Williams, the scene in Get Out where her character Rose has her Froot Loops and milk separately was added last minute while they were already on set filming.
“I can’t remember who came up with the idea to split them up, but Jordan and I brainstormed about what would be interesting, and it was decided to make the milk separate from the Froot Loops,” she elaborated. “I know my contribution were the tiny sips and tiny little bites.”
The look of pain on Billy’s face in Scream is very, very real. It’s explained in the DVD commentary that Skeet Ulrich had open-heart surgery when he was a kid and that, while filming the scene when Sidney attacks Billy with an umbrella, the umbrella missed the protective vest Ulrich was wearing and hit him right in the old surgery wound.
There’s a deleted scene from Love Actually that shows that Sam was originally written to be a “brilliant gymnast” in the film. I think we can all be honest here about how weird of a subplot that would have been.
In the original script, Sam was a “brilliant gymnast,” and his skills were put on full display as he races through the airport to catch Joanna before her flight. According to director Richard Curtis, ” casually saw him when he was very sad doing double twists and turns and not getting any joy out of it at all. So, when it came to the airport…he brought his gymnastic prowess into play, and this is a very rough edit of how he would have been the Nadia Comăneci [or] Olga Korbut of the movie.”
In Monty Python and the Holy GrailEric Idle can be seen biting his scythe to stop himself from laughing when John Cleese chose to pause for an amazingly long time when answering Sir Bedivere’s question.
When asked “Why do witches burn?” Cleese waits more than 10 seconds to reply, “‘Cause they’re made of wood?” Idle revealed on the DVD commentary, “John took an enormously long time on that take…so I bit the [scythe] to prevent myself from giggling.”
Alan Tudyk improvised the slap K-2SO gives Cassian Andor in Rogue Oneas well as the line that follows: “And there’s a fresh one if you mouth off again.” You can see Diego Luna, who plays Andor, covering his face to hide his laughter.
In TitanicJack accidentally telling Rose to lie on the “bed” instead of the “couch” before he draws apparently wasn’t in the script. Leonardo DiCaprio allegedly said it by mistake, and director James Cameron decided to keep it in.
When Mandy Patinkin shot the scene in The Princess Bride where his character Inigo kills his father’s murderer, the Six-Fingered Man, he was thinking of his own father, who’d died of cancer, adding extra meaning to the line, “I want my father back, you son of a bitch.”
Hans Gruber’s shock as he falls from the window in Die Hard is real — Alan Rickman was told he’d be dropped after counting down to zero, but they did it on one instead.
Janet Leigh, who played Norman Bates’s first onscreen victim Marion Crane in Psychohas said that after seeing the infamous scene, she avoided showers whenever possible.
“I take baths, only baths,” she revealed to the New York Times, adding if there wasn’t a bathtub available, she could only shower if all the doors and windows were locked, and the bathroom door and shower curtain were open. “I’m always facing the door, watching, no matter where the shower head is,” she added.
“This is one of those things that comes to you in the mail and you don’t know what they’re talking about and you simply give them their permission,” he explained. “You’re sitting in the movie theater, and there’s this great moment when Gwyneth Paltrow is coming out of a bus or something like that. I’m thinking to myself, I used to play the guitar just like that. And then the voice comes on, and it’s Nico singing ‘These Days,’ which I played on.”
In The Sixth Senseproducer Frank Marshall originally didn’t want the camera to zoom in on Malcolm’s face after Cole says “I see dead people,” because he thought it’d be a (dead) giveaway that Malcolm was actually one of said dead people. After test screen audiences didn’t come to that conclusion, the scene was left in.
You might think there’s not much room for improv in an animated film, but in The Lion KingNathan Lane reportedly ad-libbed Timon saying, “What do you want me to do, dress in drag and do the hula?” It ultimately led to the addition of the song-and-dance routine.
And finally, Ellen Ripley’s over-the-shoulder basketball shot in Alien: Resurrection wasn’t a camera trick. Despite multiple crew members telling her they would just use CGI or an offscreen machine to drop the ball in, Sigourney Weaver insisted on doing it. Though she’d spent weeks practicing without getting the shot, once the cameras were rolling, she pulled it off — surprising Ron Perlman so much he almost ruined the take.
“Everybody on set went from total elation to total panic because I broke character,” said Perlman. Fortunately, the editing team was able to cut the shot right before his reaction. As you can see in the uncut footage above, the ball actually goes off-camera before reaching the basket, and the filmmakers considered tweaking the shot so you can see that it was all Weaver. Ultimately, she demanded the footage be untouched.