50 Times Directors Caught Actors Completely Off Guard For The Sake Of A Scene
When making a movie, things don't always go as planned. Several directors improvise and modify the script on the spot. They bring more drama or comedy to the action by tricking or scaring the actors, having some fun with the cast, and sometimes incidents are totally accidental. Many directors will go out of their way to get the best out of their actors, and sometimes they even go a little too far. Thankfully, most actors understand that the deception was for the sake of the movie.
In Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, No One Saw The Rooms Until They Filmed The Scenes
In the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the children were kept in the dark for several scenes in order to get genuine reactions. The director didn't let the children see Gene Wilder until the scene where we first see Willy Wonka.
They also weren't shown the rooms until they filmed those scenes, and the children never knew what Wonka was going to say or do until it was filmed. When it seems the children are mesmerized, it is because they are actually mesmerized.
Everyone On Titanic Knew The Water Would Be Cold, But They Weren't Told How Cold
While filming Titanic, the actors knew the water would be cold but weren't told just how cold the water would be. In the scene where Rose is looking for Jack, and she is shivering and shaking, it's because she really was that cold.
They used water from the Pacific Ocean on the Baja California, Mexico set, and it almost caused hypothermia, causing Kate to almost leave the project. Despite all of that, Kate stated that she wouldn't have wanted it to be heated because then she'd never really know what it would have felt like.
The Director Of Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind Told Cast Members To Do Things That The Others Weren't Expecting
The director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was Michel Gondry, and he would often tell some of the cast members to do things that the others weren't expecting. There were several scenes where Jim Carrey was told to be serious, but then Kate was encouraged to play up the comedy.
The mind games frustrated Carrey, and in several scenes, he genuinely appeared caught off guard. Gondry stated, "I had to walk to Kate Winslet in a different room to tell her, 'Go as big as you want! This is a comedy!' And to Jim, I'd say, 'This is a drama, not a comedy.'"
In Mary Poppins, The Kids Had No Idea That Mary's Bag Had Any Magical Properties
In the film Mary Poppins, the child actors playing Jane and Michael didn't know that Mary's carpet bag had magical properties. Karen Dotrice, who played Jane, stated that the crew went to special lengths to make sure their reactions were real.
They were genuinely surprised when Mary Poppins pulled an entire coat rack from her bag. The crew also went the extra mile to make sure the kids playing Jane and Michael were engaged on set.
In E.T., The Kids Didn't See The Puppet In Advance
The film E.T. was filmed in chronological order, and none of the children were shown the puppet until they filmed those scenes. Steven Spielberg was the director, and he also encouraged the children to improvise as much as possible.
The alien is now considered to be an adorable and lovable alien, but when you first see the puppet, it is actually quite scary looking. Drew Barrymore was just a little girl and got quite a scare when she was first shown the puppet.
In IT, The Director Kept The Kids Away From Bill Skarsgard So Their First Reactions Could Be Caught On Camera
In the film IT, Bill Skarsgard played Pennywise, the horrible clown monster. The child actors were kept away from Pennywise so that their first terrifying reactions would be caught on camera.
The kids didn't see images of the clown until they filmed the projector scene. They watched the screen, and the clown appeared for the first time, and their horror and absolute shock were as real as the audience's.
The Director Played Previous Interviews With Josh Hutcherson To Provoke An Emotional Response From Jennifer Lawrence
In the film Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, the director, Francis Lawrence, wanted to pull emotion out of actress Jennifer Lawrence. He decided to play Peeta's interviews during some of Lawrence's scenes because he knew that she missed working with Josh Hutcherson.
Francis captured and edited a test video of Peeta's interviews to be aired during Jennifer's parts. It did indeed help her elicit an emotional response while filming.
The Actors In The Blair Witch Project Were Told To Improvise And Taken Into The Woods
The Blair Witch Project was filmed in just eight days and was presented as recovered footage from three filmmakers who'd disappeared after searching for the Blair Witch. While filming, the actors worked basically 24/7 and were even deprived of food.
They were given less and less food throughout filming and crew members would rattle the tents and play recordings of kids laughing while the actors slept. They also planted actors around town to tell the cast about the witch to make them believe it. The actors were taken into the woods and the result was actually terrifying.
The Cast Of Les Miserables Were Told To Build A Barricade In 10 Minutes And It Was Used In The Film
While filming Les Miserables, the director wanted to recreate the revolutionary spirit. The actors were told to build a barricade in ten minutes while the camera rolled. The actors had no idea where the cameras were, and the scene looked like complete chaos.
However, the structure turned out to be very realistic, and it was used in the film. They did secure the structure with a little bit of drilling.
All Of The Main Cast Members In Saving Private Ryan Were Sent To A Harsh 10-Day Boot Camp, Except For Matt Damon, So That The On-Screen Hostility Was As Realistic As Possible
To prepare for Saving Private Ryan, the director sent all the main cast members to a harsh ten-day boot camp, except for Matt Damon. The fact that Matt was back home relaxing created a divide.
When he showed up on set, there was definitely some resentment from the guys. The actors' hostility toward Matt Damon showed on screen, which was what Tom Hanks had hoped for.
The Director Of Die Hard Let Hans Fall To His Death After One, Instead Of Three
In Die Hard, the last scene shows Alan Rickman's character falling from the Nakatomi Tower to his death. Rickman was dropped from around twenty-five feet above onto an airbag but was told he would be dropped after he counted down from three.
The late Alan Rickman had stated several times that he had a serious fear of heights. However, the director told the guys holding Rickman to let him go on one so that the fear and panic on his face would be real.
In The Exorcist, Director William Friedkin Fired A Gun To Get Authentic Scared Reactions From The Actors
While filming The Exorcist, director William Friedkin wanted to have authentic reactions from the actors. He was finding it difficult to get the actors to portray certain emotions without them looking corny or unbelievable.
After reading an article about George Stevens, he got an idea of how to get authentic scared reactions from the actors. He fired a gun on set, which surprised the actors and gave real reactions on camera.
The Cast Members Were Shocked By The Blood Spurting Out In The Film Alien
In the film Alien, Ridley Scott decided not to tell the actors everything about the chest-bursting scene. They knew that something would emerge from his chest but what they didn't know was how much fake blood was going to be coming out of the chest.
Ridley stated, "The script for the chest-bursting moment read, 'The thing emerges.' Everyone but the cast showed up in rain gear. The reactions were going to be the most difficult thing. If an actor is just acting terrified, you can't get the genuine look of raw, animal fear."
Jay Baruchel Was Scared Of Rollercoasters, But In Knocked Up, He Made A Deal With The Director, Who Went Back On The Deal
Jay Baruchel stars in the film Knocked Up, and the director, Judd Apatow, made a deal with him. Jay was terrified of rollercoasters, and there was a scene where the guys were riding a rollercoaster.
Originally, the director let him opt out of the scene, but he backed out of the deal and told Jay that he needed to get on the ride. He did as he was told, and his reaction in the film was genuine. It was actual terror when he was screaming, "I gotta get off!"
In Harry Potter: Goblet Of Fire, Daniel Radcliffe Was Intentionally Given Less Time To Learn the Choreography For The Dance At The Yule Ball
One of Daniel Radcliffe's most embarrassing parts of Harry Potter: The Goblet of Fire was the first dance at the Yule Ball. Daniel was too busy filming the tournament scenes that he didn't have time to attend choreography classes.
It was intentional by the director because, in the books, Harry is characterized as a bad dancer. Therefore, the dancing scene was very awkward, just as the director wanted it. Radcliffe stated, "Everyone else had about three weeks, and I only had about four days to learn because I was doing another scene."
In Call Me By Your Name, Elio And Oliver Climb A Hill To The Waterfall And The Actors' Whoops Are Actually A Reaction To The Stinging Nettles That Covered The Field
In the film Call Me By Your Name, director Luca Guadaningo only had a small window to shoot the waterfall scene. The waterfall was actually a hydroelectric dam that opened just once a year.
There was no time to place dock leaves on the hill. As Elio and Oliver climb up a hill to the waterfall, the actors' whoops are actually a reaction to the stinging nettles that were covering the field.
In Endgame, The Cast Thought They Were Part Of A Wedding Scene, When In Reality, They Were Attending Tony Stark's Funeral
The director of the Marvel movie Endgame wanted to make sure that there would be no leaks. As a result, they didn't tell many of the actors that they were attending Tony Stark's funeral. Instead, most of the cast thought they were part of a wedding scene.
Tom Holland stated, "I guess when Barry said no cameras, we all heard bring your cameras. Hands down the most memorable day of my career and still, to this day, the strangest wedding I've ever been to."
In The Office, Oscar Nunez Did Not Know That Steve Carrell Was Going To Kiss Him
On the show The Office, Oscar Nunez had no idea that Steve Carrell was going to actually kiss him, and neither did the rest of the cast. Steve Carrell's character, Michael, was supposed to just hug Oscar, go in for a kiss, back out, and then kiss him on the forehead.
However, Carrell was told to go another way and actually kiss him. Oscar's shock, along with the entire cast's shock, was genuine.
In The Exorcist, Jason Miller Is Mislead About Vomit
In the film The Exorcist, Jason Miller played Father Karras and was only told that Regan would be projectile vomiting on his chest. However, he wasn't told the truth because the thick green pea soup vomit spewed out and went right in his face.
He managed to finish the scene but reportedly wasn't very happy about the surprise vomit in the face. Another reaction that was real because he wasn't expecting to get hit in the face.
In Glee, The Director Told Naya Rivera To Give Cory Monteith A Real Full-Forced Slap
In the television series Glee, there is an episode where Santana thought Finn was the one who outed her and slapped him. However, the director had privately told Naya Rivera to slap Cory Monteith as hard as she could.
Naya later said that she felt terrible for slapping him and was worried he would be angry. Thankfully, he handled it well and actually told her the second time around to strike him again on camera.
Four Out Of The Six Main Cast Members Of The Good Place Weren't Told About The Huge Twist At The End Of The First Season
In the series The Good Place, four out of the six main actors weren't told about the huge twist at the end of season one. The finale revealed that while the gang thought they were in the good place, they were actually in the bad place the entire time.
The only actors told beforehand were Ted Danson and Kristen Bell. In order for the characters to appear to be convinced they were in the good place, the actors playing Chidil, Janet, Tahani, and Jason were kept out of the loop.
Before Cruel Intentions Started, Reese Witherspoon Revised Her Character
Before the film Cruel Intentions began filming, actress Reese Witherspoon turned down the role of Annette. She didn't agree with how the character was written by the screenwriters.
She thought that Annette was too shy and boring. However, the director and Reese decided to develop a unique and interesting character that took the rest of the cast by surprise.
The Duck Scene In A Christmas Story Was Entirely Unknown To Melinda Dillon
In the popular film A Christmas Story, the dogs ruin the turkey, so the family goes to eat at one of the only places open. They ended up at a Chinese restaurant for Christmas dinner.
However, the director didn't tell Melinda that the duck would be coming out with its head still on. The guy chops the duck's head off right at the table, causing a reaction from Melinda that was genuine. She was able to hide it well with laughter afterward.
Ridley Scott Surprised His Actors On Prometheus
In the film Prometheus, the snake-like creature kind of resembled a face-hugger and was a nasty creature. The creature ends up attacking one cast member and is replaced with a dummy.
The next cast member came along to continue the scene, but when she turned the creature over, the crew suddenly yanked it upward, terrifying the actor. Her screams and reactions were absolutely genuine and were exactly what the director wanted.
Paul Verhoeven Stripped Down On The Set Of Starship Troopers
In the film Starship Troopers, Dina Meyer questioned why there needed to be a nude scene in the movie, the shower scene. She argued with director Peter Verhoeven continuously about the nude scene.
She mentioned that maybe he and his crew should get naked. As a result, Peter did just that and stripped right there. After that, the nude scene went off without a hitch.
In The Birds, Alfred Hitchcock Lied To Tippi Hedren And Said They Would Use Mechanical Birds
In the film, The Birds, director Alfred Hitchcock and his crew lied to the leading lady, Tippi Hedren. He told her that they would use mechanical birds, but they malfunctioned.
As a result, they had to use real birds, which were thrown at her, to peck and claw at her to get a real reaction. However, she was hurt so badly that she had to be carried off set and taken to the hospital.
Michael Curtiz Didn't Tell The People That They Would Have Gallons Of Water Dumped On Them While Filming Noah's Ark
In the film Noah's Ark, director Michael Curtiz was very dedicated to extras and actors doing their own stunts. He wanted them to do their own stunt work for the flood scene but didn't tell them because he didn't want to scare them away.
The actors had several gallons of water poured on them during the flood scene. Unfortunately, his choice caused three of the extras to lose their lives from drowning. In addition, one man's leg was so badly hurt it needed to be amputated, and many others suffered broken bones as well.
The Goonies Director Didn't Let The Child Actors See The Ship Until They Filmed Those Scenes
The Goonies is a popular film that was released in 1985, with Richard Donner as the director. Donner wanted a genuine reaction from the child stars when they first saw the One-Eyed Willy's pirate ship.
The kids were denied access to the set until they filmed the scene where they found the ship. Their reactions were one hundred percent real, but some of the kids were so surprised that they dropped a few curse words. As a result, they had to reshoot the scene.
In Fight Club, The Director Tells Ed Norton To Punch Brad Pitt As Hard As He Could
In the film Fight Club, there are a lot of fight scenes and punches thrown. However, the director wanted the punches to be more realistic, so he told Ed Norton to punch Brad Pitt as hard as he could.
Pitt was expecting a pulled punch to the gut but was surprised when he was hit hard in the ear. Somehow, Brad Pitt doesn't break character and even responds, "Why the ear, man?"
In Pretty Woman, The Box Slamming Was Not Planned
One of the most iconic scenes in the film Pretty Woman is when Richard Gere's character gives Julia Robert's character a pricey diamond necklace.
Vivian shyly reaches into the box, and as she does, Edward shuts the box on her hand. She is genuinely surprised and starts laughing. Director Garry Marshall loved her reaction and decided to leave it in the film.
In The Princess Bride, Westley Gets Hit In The Head For Real
There is a scene in the film The Princess Bride where Count Rugen hits Wesley over the head with the butt of his sword and knocks him unconscious. The director wanted Christopher Guest to hit Cary Elwes in the head for real, and he did.
However, the film's production had to be shut down for the day because Cary was really knocked unconscious and had to go to the hospital. They did succeed in their goal of realism, though.
The Director Of Haunting Of Hill House Used Jump Scare To Scare The Actors
In Netflix's Haunting of Hill House, one of the most memorable moments was not just a shock to the audience. In the scene when sisters Lulu and Theo are driving back to their terrifying childhood home to save their brother Luke from becoming the house's next victim, the women are arguing because Lulu thinks Theo is having an affair with her husband.
While they are arguing, the ghost of their dead sister Nell bursts through the gap between the seats, screeching. The sisters completely freak out, and their reaction is genuine. Director Mike Flanagan had told them about the scream but had the actress burst through the seat thirty seconds earlier to get a true reaction. He stated, "It also scared the s**t out of all of us at the monitor."
Ridley Scott Used Shock Tactics To Get A Reaction On The Set Of Prometheus
Director Ridley Scott also surprised his cast in Prometheus in another scene involving the snake-like creature. The first character to meet their gruesome ending is biologist Millburn. The Hammerpede creature gets into his spacesuit and goes down his throat, and kills him.
The rest of the crew learns about his death by finding his corpse. They weren’t told everything about the scene where Kate Dickie discovers him. The director didn’t tell Dickie that the Hammerpede was still in his suit and was going to jump out at her.
JoBeth Williams Was Horrified When She Learned The Truth About The Mud Pool Scene
In the film Poltergeist, the director left out certain details about a scene involving JoBeth Williams. In the mud pool scene, Williams didn’t know that the skeletons in the mud with her were real skeletons. Plastic skeleton replicas were very expensive to make, so they found real skeletons.
Williams spent five days shooting in a giant muddy pool with the bones of real people. The movie was rumored to be haunted or cursed because several of the cast and crew died after shooting the movie.
The Cast Of The Rocky Horror Picture Show Didn't See The Twist Coming
The film The Rocky Horror Picture Show is full of twists and surprises. There were even surprises for the actors. Richard O’Brien and Patricia Quinn played siblings Riff Raff and Magenta, and during the dinner party scene, they were served a mystery meat.
Everyone except Tim Curry and Jim Sharman is surprised when the tablecloth is whipped off the table to reveal Eddie’s mutilated corpse underneath. The characters figure out what their mystery meat is, and the actors give real reactions.
The Director Of Kes Lied About The Dead Bird
In the film Kes, director Ken Loach, a young British filmmaker, lied to the young actor. He wanted to get a genuine performance from David Bradley. So, he told Bradley that Hardy, the bird, would be legitimately killed and that his corpse would be used in the scene where Billy finds his companion dead in a bin.
Bradley was very involved in training the three birds and was very attached to the bird Hardy. He gave a very emotional performance, and after learning that they didn’t really kill Hardy, he said, “I knew you wouldn’t kill him! I knew you wouldn’t!”
In Dr. Strangelove, George C. Scott Is Tricked Into Funnier Takes
Actor George C. Scott gets tricked while filming Dr. Strangelove. Scott was hesitant about playing the part of General Buck Turgidson too big, so Stanley Kubrick encouraged him to dial up his performance.
He insisted that the takes were just exercises and wouldn’t be used in the film. However, he used the practice takes as real takes in the movie. Scott was angry at first but later admitted it was one of his best roles.
Sharon Stone Is Tricked While Filming The Interrogation Scene In Basic Instinct
In the film Basic Instinct, Sharon Stone was involved in a very controversial scene. One of the most iconic scenes is when Stone uncrosses and crosses her legs in a room full of men during an interrogation. She was told to take off her underwear and that her private area would be visible on film. The director lied to Stone because it was very visible and caused problems in her career.
Stone said, “I first saw the film with a room full of agents and lawyers, most of whom had nothing to do with the project. That was how I saw my privates shot for the first time, long after I’d been told, ‘We can’t see anything; I just need you to remove your panties, as the white is reflecting the light, so we know you have panties on.’”
The Director Of The Exorcist Used A Yanking Apparatus, Without The Actor's Knowledge, To Create A Better Scene
The vomit to the eyes wasn't the only surprise during the filming of The Exorcist. Ellen Burstyn plays the character of Reagan's mother, and she was going to be yanked across the room by the creepy demon powers possessing her daughter.
The director wanted it to look like she had the rug pulled out from under her, so they got an apparatus but had it much more violent than the actress wanted. She screamed and complained about it, and director William Friedkin replied back, "Well, it has to look real." Ellen did get injured during the brutal yank.
In The Film Kes, The Boys Are Actually Hit
In the 1969 film Kes, Billy Casper is a boy that has a difficult life, being bullied and neglected. There is a scene where a group of schoolboys is hit by a teacher.
Their reactions to real pain are very real. Even though the director, Ken Loach, promised that they would cut right before they were struck, he kept the camera rolling, and the kids were hit by the cane.
In The Chronicles Of Narnia, Georgie Henley And Skandar Keynes Didn't See Narnia Until The Day of Filming
In the film, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Lucy's reaction when she first enters Narnia is genuine. The director intentionally didn't allow the young actress to see the set until they filmed those scenes.
He wanted genuine responses from Lucy and Edmund, and that is exactly what he got. Lucy's amazed reaction to the snowy landscape was perfect.
The Director Of Elf Controlled The Jack-In-The-Box From The Sidelines So That Ferrell's Surprise Would Be Genuine
Will Ferrell stars in the film Elf, and his reactions during the Jack-in-the-box scene were genuine. Ferrell plays Buddy and often finds himself put in situations that test his elf-ish cheer and strength.
So, when he was testing the Jack-in-the-box toys, the director, Jon Favreau, was on the sidelines remotely controlling the toy. He would trigger the toys when Ferrell wasn't expecting it in order to get genuine reactions.
The Actors In Boyz N The Hood Didn't Know That There Would Be Real Gunfire
In the film Boyz N the Hood, director John Singleton surprised the actors. Cuba Gooding Jr. stars in the film as Tre, and Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett portray Tre's parents. One iconic scene is the gang conflict on a Crenshaw block, where rival crews face off in a verbal confrontation but walk away without coming to blows.
The director surprises everyone by having real gunshots fired, causing the actors to scatter and hightail it out of the neighborhood. "Rehearsing the Crenshaw scene for Boyz n The Hood. John never told us that it would be real gunfire during the scene. All reactions were real. John was brilliant. I miss him." ----- Ice Cube.
At The End Of The Graduate, Director Mike Nichols Just Kept The Camera Rolling Without Telling The Actors Beforehand
Mike Nichols is the director of the film The Graduate. In the film's final scene, he managed to get the actors' true reactions by just not telling them when he was going to cut. There was nothing in the script that would imply their facial expressions changing; he just had the camera running to feel their energy naturally dissipating.
The original ending would have shown Benjamin and Elaine still elated with their act of rebellion as they elope, but the camera still rolling shows the joy and hope fade from their faces.
The Director Of Jaws Decided To Pull The First Victim Under Water When She Wasn't Expecting It
Jaws is an iconic film, and it was directed by Steven Spielberg. He wasn't happy with how some of the scenes were looking, so he did something that an actor wasn't planning for.
The first victim was attached to a harness, and there was a diver ready to pull her underwater. However, Spielberg had the diver pull her under when she wasn't expecting it. She was sputtering and gasping for air, and it was very genuine.
The Director Went To Extreme Lengths To Get An Emotion Out Of Jackie Cooper
The film The Champ is a 1931 sports drama film and stars child actor Jackie Cooper as the son of a washed-up heavyweight champion. The director had to get the emotion out of the nine-year-old Cooper. He went a little extreme and used a tragedy almost to punish him in order to make him cry.
Director King Vidor pretended to fire the assistant director, who Cooper was fond of. It worked and got the young actor to be emotional on camera but not sure if it was the right way.
There Was Actual Strangling Happening On The Set Of Inglorious Basterds
Quentin Tarantino is the director of the film Inglorious Basterds. In the scene where Diane Kruger's character gets choked to death by the Nazi, played by Christopher Waltz, the director decided that the best way to make it seem real was to have the character actually being choked.
Kruger allowed Tarantino to choke her and get the red face, bulging blood vessels, and tears on camera. Some doubted whether or not she consented, but she said, "I would like to say that my work experience with Quentin Tarantino was pure joy. He treated me with utter respect and never abused his power or forced me to do anything I wasn't comfortable with."
The Cast Of Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Weren't Told That Barbossa Would Return
In the film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, the director decided to surprise the cast and audience. The actors and crew were originally told that Zoe Saldana's character, Anamaria, would make an appearance.
However, they brought back to life Captain Barbossa, who was killed at the end of the first film. The actors were very shocked when they saw Geoffrey Rush's character come back from the dead.
In The Empire Strikes Back, The "I Am Your Father" Scene Was A Surprise To The Cast
The scene "I am Your Father" from The Empire Strikes Back is a legendary moment in cinema. What is interesting is that the cast didn't even know the twist that Darth Vader was Luke's father. They found out when the final film was released.
The director accomplished this by having Vader's actor, David Prowse, say that Obi-Wan killed Luke's father. The only ones that knew the twist were George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, and Mark Hamill.