Movies are compound creatures that imply numerous moving segments because of which mistakes are inevitable. Not even blockbusters are immune to them, even though they have the biggest budgets and the most people working on them. They are generally released with several errors which usually regard continuity.
From bangled lines to troublesome extras, many mistakes ought to be corrected during shooting (or, progressively, in the editing room). However, sometimes, they can add a new and refreshing feature to a scene.
Here are some of the accidental and unwanted scenes that filmmakers decided to keep in the final cut.
The cab in “Midnight Cowboy” was real and almost ran Dustin Hoffman over
One of the most memorable lines in cinema was the product of an accident that happened during the shooting. The crew did not have the permission to keep a busy street in New York City closed for Hoffman’s and Voight’s extended walk along the sidewalk, so they attempted to shoot the scene from a van moving down the street.
Fifteen takes later, they finally managed to avoid interruptions such as pedestrians and other segments from the real world, when a cab drove through a red light and almost hit Voight and Hoffman who were crossing the street.
When remembering the event during an interview for Vanity Fair, Hoffman stated that in his opinion, the brain worked rather quickly. In a fragment of a second, it told him not to break his character. So he said the line that remained iconic in the world of cinematography — “I’m walking here,” when he meant “We’re shooting here.” Upon seeing the way Hoffman managed to avoid a crash, Voight stayed in his character as well. According to Hoffman’s words, the director, John Schlesinger, began laughing and clapping while insisting on keeping the line in the movie. He then re-shot it a couple of more times, as he loved it.
Leonardo DiCaprio cut his hand on broken glass for real in the intense dinner scene in Tarantino’s “Django Unchained”
There are numerous examples of actors’ accidental injuries on sets that have made the final cut (“Foxcatcher,” “Nightcrawler,” “Apocalypse Now,” “The Godfather,” “The Lord of the Rings,” and so on). However, this one seriously enhanced the tension of the scene.
This Tarantino’s vintage masterpiece depicts a welcoming dinner turning into a spiteful encounter when Calvin Candie, the villain played by Leonardo DiCaprio, gradually reveals that he is aware of the motive behind Django’s (Jamie Foxx) and Dr. Schultz’s (Christoph Waltz) visit to his estate.
Enraged by the denial of his guests, Candie starts banging his hands on the table. Stacey Sher, the producer of “Django Unchained,” said during an interview with Variety that DiCaprio had moved his hand at one point while banging on the table and had broken a crystal glass. She said that his hand had been bloody, but he had managed not to break character. He was focused and just continued with his performance. According to her, he was in need of stitches.
As he remembered the scene during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, DiCaprio said that he had been bleeding from his wound and that the blood had been dripping everywhere on the table. He was interested in reactions of his co-stars and the director, and Tarantino was pleased to keep the scene going.
DiCaprio then proposed streaking blood on the face of Kerry Washington’s character, so Tarantino promptly had some fake blood prepared for the following shot. Once the scene was shot, DiCaprio got a standing ovation from the movie’s crew. Both versions of scenes, the bandaged and the non-bandaged ones were shot for the rest of the movie so that Tarantino would have options. DiCaprio stated that he was happy that Tarantino had decided to keep the iconic scene in the film.
Had the script been followed, James Bond would not have magnificently marched from the ocean
The infamous beach scene in “Casino Royale” was initially intended to look differently, according to the script. Bond was supposed to look at Solange, the villain’s wife, as he floated in the water.
While commenting on his stroll in bathing shorts in an interview with The Telegraph, Craig said that the scene looked the way it did because of an accident. He added that there had been a three-feet-deep sand shelf on the filming location. Because of it, instead of swimming in the sea and just floating off, he stood up.
It was too late when he gathered that his scene would be analogized to Ursula Andress’ iconic exit from the water in the original James Bond movie, “Dr. No.”
Craig said that he had realized his mistake upon making it, but that he had not been aware of its consequences. He then added, with his characteristic sense of uneasiness regarding his own popularity, that he had not had the slightest idea the scene would haunt him forever.
Accidental flatulence was the cause of the phone booth scene in “Rain Man”
Hoffman is known for embracing his mistakes and turning to improvisation, which often results in memorable scenes. He and his “Rain Man” co-star, Tom Cruise, appeared on The Oprah Winfrey show in 1984 and revealed that the scene involving farting in the phone booth in the iconic movie was accidental, as Hoffman farted for real.
Hoffman’s character, Raymond Babbitt, went “uh, oh, fart” on and on when this happened. Cruise went along with it and asked, as Raymond’s brother Charlie, how could he stand that. Hoffman then hilariously answered, “I don’t mind it.” He told Oprah that the scene in question was his favorite one ever.
Speaking of flatulence, there was a similar occurrence on the set of “The Usual Suspects”
The scene featuring the police line-up, the one where the gang members each step forward one by one and say the same line was supposed to be serious, not comical.
However, the actors were in a playful mood because of which they kept performing far too dramatically. Although they were grown men, Kevin Pollak admitted that the atmosphere was the result of Benicio del Toro’s continuous farting.
At first, Bryan Singer, the director of “The Usual Suspects”, was angry at the actors, but eventually included their amusing takes in the final cut. The famous line-up became one of the most iconic scenes of the movie.
The “Ludovico Technique” featured in “A Clockwork Orange” turned out to be more realistic than intended
Stanley Kubrick was famous for pushing the cast members to extremes. Malcolm McDowell is the living proof, as he is the actor whose collaboration with Kubrick was probably the most hazardous out of all of them. He must be the only actor that can claim he had his corneas scratched for a role in a movie and be right.
In what came to be among the most unsettling scenes of “A Clockwork Orange,” poor old droog Alex is watching disturbing footage on a movie screen, unable to close his eyes that were forced open, while listening to “Ode to Joy,” featured in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
McDowell received anesthesia in order to endure the filming with minimal discomfort. However, his corneas were scratched multiple times, and he was lucky no permanent damage was done to his sight. Of course, there was no second take, so the one in which McDowell sustained an injury made the cut.
Ben Stiller’s joke regarding airheaded models in “Zoolander” hilariously backfired
In a decisive moment in “Zoolander,” the character played by David Duchovny reveals to Stiller’s character, Derek Zoolander, the plan to give the roles of assassins to male models.
Zoolander asks why, and Prewett responds that their main feature — doing what they are told because they do not think for themselves — is what makes them perfect for the role.
Stiller happened to forget his next line, and not knowing what to say, just repeated the question he had previously asked. His blunder was kept in the movie and is now among the funniest ones in it.
DiCaprio’s character seemed nervous in the iconic portrait-drawing scene in “Titanic” because of his mistake
When Kate Winslet’s character, Rose, undresses in order to have Jack draw a portrait of her, he tells her where to pose.
However, instead of saying the scripted line, DiCaprio told her to lie on the bed, and then promptly corrected himself.
Jack’s parapraxis perfectly fit into the context — the naked Rose standing before a boy fascinated by her, and the attraction between the two of them being apparent (the intense sex scene would soon follow), and the director James Cameron decided to keep the line in the movie.
An awkward head bump of a Stormtrooper
Stormtroopers from “Star Wars” are rather tragic creatures. They have no names nor faces, and they follow instructions blindly instead of unionizing.
When a scene in “A New Hope” where an actor playing the role of one of them struck his head on a doorway by accident happened, there was an unexpected moment of poignancy. Even though he had three takes without mistakes taken, George Lucas opted for the one featuring a head bump. In the movie’s remake from 1997, there was even a comic sound effect added to the scene. Moreover, Lucas had Jango Fett endure a similar injury in “Attack of the Clones” in order to pay homage to the infamous scene.
Chris Pratt’s clumsiness in “Guardians of the Galaxy”
Had this been a serious movie, this scene would not have made the final cut. The protagonist dropping what was among the most potent artifacts in all the universe would have been a reason for having another take.
However, “Guardians of the Galaxy” was not intended to be such a movie, which is why it adds the comic feature of clumsiness to Peter Quill, who seems to be uncomfortable in his role of Star Lord.
Given the fact, Chris Pratt dropping the Infinity Stone in the moment of handing it over to the Collector was the perfect scene in the director James Gunn’s opinion.
While on the topic of clumsiness, here is the Jamie Lee Curtis’ infamous fall in the striptease scene in “True Lies”
Curtis’ character in “True Lies,” Helen, was not used to the role of a seductive female spy, so her slipping and falling in a hotel room while performing a striptease act for a mysterious man seemed perfectly in character.
The scene was not intended to feature the fall, which you can conclude based on two elements. First of all, she remains serious during the remainder of it, and second of all, the mystery man, who was supposed to keep his cool, jumped out of his chair for a brief moment when it happened.
An extra bringing alcohol onto the set of “Being John Malkovich” caused an actor to be hit on the head with a can of beer
Since the security during the making of this movie was not strict enough, an actor got hit with a half-drunk can of beer, which only made the character’s injury more severe.
When speaking of the scene in a DVD commentary, Spike Jonze, the director of “Being John Malkovich,” stated that the moment was not in the script. According to his statement, some extras had brought beer to the filming location, which led to the incident.
According to Jonze, the extra in question threw a can at the actor from a car passing by and said what would become a famous line — “Hey, Malkovich, think fast!” He has been granted a Screen Actors Guild card as a result, and they had to increase his salary from $100 to $700 daily — all thanks to John Malkovich’s reaction to his actions.
Count Olaf demanding from the children to tell him a line in “A Series of Unfortunate Events” was actually Jim Carrey talking to the crew
The famous line Jim Carrey says while seemingly talking to the children was actually directed at someone behind the camera.
However, Carrey did not break character, and the cameras continued filming. Since his line of sight was close to the one of Klaus, Brad Silberling, the director, managed to use the take, as in the scene in question, Olaf had been demonstrating his acting skills to the children.