6 movie scenes where the actors weren’t actually playing
Did you know that the earliest examples of cinema weren’t actually “movies” as we know them today? The pioneers of cinema simply recorded everyday life – capturing heartfelt moments and emotions that never really went too far.
As cinema began to evolve, several filmmakers found themselves wanting to capture the true expression and emotion on the faces of their actors – whether it was joy, sadness and, more often than not, happiness. fear. It all comes together to create a truly immersive cinema – even if it sometimes comes at a cost. Whether intentional or not, there were a few moments in filming that captured an actor with his “masks” turned off.
Here are six of the most compelling examples of when the actors’ real reactions were captured on film, instead of just some old-fashioned acting:
1. Isla Fisher (Now you see me)
This one is pretty scary – and could have resulted in a horrific death on camera if it wasn’t handled properly.
At Louis Leeterrier Now you see me, Fisher embodies a magician well trained in escape situations. His character was chained, thrown into a sealed water tank and challenged to escape. Fairly clear – until mid-take, when Fisher realized her chains were stuck and she started to struggle. Those bangs on the glass and those terrified expressions – they’re all too real.
“I was actually drowning,” Isla told Chelsea Handler during an episode of the Chelsea Lately talk show. “Everyone thought I was acting fabulously… no one realized I was wrestling. I really had to swim to the bottom; I couldn’t get up.
Luckily, a nearby stuntman sensed the danger and quickly saved his life by flipping a quick-release switch.
2. Brad Pitt (Fight club)
Naturally, a film titled Fight club would feature a bunch of fight scenes – even if one got a little too real, at least for actor Brad Pitt. Speaking to Jimmy Fallon in 2019, Edward Norton revealed that the film’s first “punch” saw Pitt take a real knocker up to his ear.
“David Fincher walked up to me and said, ‘Hit him, connect with him somewhere. “I didn’t know what to do and hit him in the ear,” Norton admitted on the talk show.
That means Pitt’s reaction – where he swears, scowls, and calls out Norton for slapping him on the ear – is all very real.
3. Steve Carell (The 40-year-old virgin)
There’s an iconic scene from that 2005 film that involves Carell’s Andy Stitzer somehow ending up on a breast hair removal date. While there was no need to go all the way for this one, Carell decided to have his hair removed – something he seems to regret today.
“Honestly, it hurts more than I thought,” he shared in an interview with People. “I walked in thinking, ‘This will be funny. But then, when they started smearing the wax with the little stick, I started having some serious doubts. And then I thought, ‘If it’s funny, then is it worth it?’ “
“When I got home that night, my wife was rightly horrified at what I looked like – and continued to look like for the next two months. She had a happy face that looked at her every night!
4. Alan Rickman (Die hard)
Prior to being Snape (and several other iconic characters), Rickman was famous for playing Die hard villainous Hans Gruber. At the end of the film, his character is shot by Bruce Willis’ John McClane – leaving Rickman hanging out of a skyscraper window.
To film this, the team put together a pretty elaborate stunt routine – Rickman was tied up by a rope and was told that at the count of three he would be released and fall 40 feet in the air, landing on a crash pad.
According to the film’s stunt coordinator Charlie Picerni, the actor was actually ditched on behalf of one – giving us a hilarious, terrified expression on Rickman’s face that is 100% genuine.
5. Nostromo Crew Cast (Extraterrestrial)
Perhaps the greatest sci-fi horror film of all time, Extraterrestrial gave us several iconic moments to remember. One of the most incredible is the infamous ‘busting the chest’ scene, where a tiny alien creature leaps out of actor John Hurt’s chest, terrifying everyone aboard the ship.
“[They] was going to be the hardest thing. If an actor is just terrified, you can’t have the authentic appearance of raw animal fear, ”director Ridley Scott said. In an effort to create real reactions, he kept stage events a secret from the cast.
They responded perfectly – actress Veronica Cartwright, who plays a blood-spattered Lambert, passed out after the cameras stopped rolling.
6. Robin Williams (Goodwill hunting)
Not all off-script reactions have to be terror or loathing – some can be a bit healthy, too. Goodwill hunting follows the relationship between the young genius Will (Matt Damon) and his therapist (Robin Williams).
While trying to break through the emotional barriers of the first, Williams’ character takes a moment to tell a story about his late wife, who farts in the middle of the night.
Although endearing, the whole scene is totally improvised – just a moment of Robin Williams’ magic that left the two actors sharing a genuine laugh.
(Image sources: 20th Century Fox, Miramax Films)