We all know that it takes an incredible amount of talent to write a good screenplay. Being able to develop characters and illustrate their interactions with other characters or their environment is a skill that requires practice. The goal for many screenwriters is to give the audience a line or two that will stay with them long after the film has ended. However, sometimes it so happens that the most memorable line in a film is not even in the script to begin with. It is in fact the actor who improvises.
Here are five lines that were made up on the spot:
“You talkin' to me?” – Taxi Driver (1976)
There is already so much that has been written about Robert De Niro's mirror scene in the film Taxi Driver. Apparently, Paul Schrader, the writer of the film, had simply written the scene as “Travis talks to himself in the mirror”. It was De Niro who improvised the scene in totality and gave us a line that has acquired cult status.
During the outdoor fight scene Norton had to punch Pitt lightly on the shoulder and they had even rehearsed it that way. Director David Fincher wanted a genuine reaction out of Pitt and therfore asked Norton to punch Pitt in the ear. This lead to Pitt’s hilariously shocked response.
“She talks in her sleep.” – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Although a little jarring to have an actor only 12 years older than Harrison Ford to play his father, the inclusion of Sean Connery as Indiana Jones’s father was actually a stroke of genius. Sean Connery seemingly ran with this oversight by having some fun with the fact that his character sleeps with the same woman as his son.
The younger Jones asks his father how he knows that his lover Elsa is a Nazi, he responds “She talks in her sleep.” Apparently, this had the crew in splits because of which the first take had to be cut short.
“All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.” – Blade Runner (1982)
Rutger Hauer’s closing speech in Blade Runner is probably one of the greatest moments in the film. When he had to deliver the departing speech, he trimmed away much of the lengthy monologue that was written in the script and only kept lines he deemed fit. That is not all. Hauer added the last two lines of his speech.
“But why male models?” – Zoolander (2001)
It is said that director and star Ben Stiller couldn’t remember his next line in the film’s cemetery scene. He simply repeated his previous line “But why male models?” and his co-actor, David Duchovnay, ran with Stiller’s mistake and gave him an answer: “Are you serious? I just told you that a moment ago.” This resulted in the funniest exchange of the film.