17 iconic improvised film actors
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat” started as an inside joke!
Improvisation is a sword that most actors learn to wield. However, only those who have mastered the art can come up with an absolutely murderous line on the spot, often creating some of the film’s most memorable moments.
Here are 17 actors from iconic film lines imagined on location:
Roy Scheider improvised the line “You’re going to need a bigger boat!” in Jaws because it was a joke between the cast and the crew.
The scene in Black Panther where M’Baku leads Jabari’s men to growl at Everett Ross for speaking in turn was entirely Winston Duke’s idea.
When Princess Leia told Han Solo “I love you” in The Empire Strikes Back, Harrison Ford responded “I know” because he thought it suited his character better than the scripted response.
Matthew McConaughey was cast in a scene in Dazed and confused last minute with no lines written, so as soon as the director called “Action!” he said, “Alright, alright, alright!”
Tony Stark was originally not supposed to reveal his superhero identity at the end of Iron Man, but at the last minute Robert Downey Jr. added, “I’m Iron Man.”
Bill Murray improvised most of Peter Venkman’s lines in ghost hunters, including his iconic response to weight loss: “I feel so awesome. “
While filming a fight scene in Fight Club, Edward Norton surprised Brad Pitt by hitting him in the ear, so Brad’s response “Why the ear?” was genuine.
During the last week of filming Taxi driver, director Martin Scorsese locked himself with Robert De Niro in a room and asked the actor to say something in the mirror, so Robert proposed, “Are you talking to me?”
Shooting on Casablanca started off with an unfinished script, so as Rick and Ilsa said goodbye, Humphrey Bogart improvised the line “I’m looking at you, kid”.
When Murray shaves his head during the party scene at Distraught, Donald Faison said: “I keep it real!” because he heard a younger neighbor say it.
While filming the scene where Forrest meets Bubba in Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks came up with this line: “My name is Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump.”
During filming The brilliant, Jack Nicholson improvised the line “Here’s Johnny!” as a reference to Tonight’s show with Johnny Carson.
During filming Presenter: The Legend of Ron Bourgogne, director Adam McKay told Steve Carrell to say anything because he wanted Brick Tamland to have more lines, so Steve said, “I love the lamp.”
In Avengers: Infinity War, the line “I don’t want to go”, which Peter Parker utters just before he turns to dust, was inspired by an acting technique that Tom Holland uses to make himself cry.
In The Godfather, Clemenza’s original line ended with ‘Leave the gun’, but Richard Castellano added ‘take the cannoli’ at the suggestion of his wife, Ardell Sheridan.
Joe Pesci’s line “Funny how?” in Goodfellas was based on an actual incident that happened when he was a waiter who accidentally offended a gangster by telling him he was funny.
And finally, during the shooting Goodwill hunting, Robin Williams improvised an entire speech about his character’s late wife that almost broke Matt Damon’s character, starting with “She was farting in her sleep. One night it was so loud that she woke the dog.”