A few months ago we highlighted the best instances of enforced method acting — when directors surprise actors into reacting naturally. In the same vein, you have this great video that’s been making its rounds on the Internet today: Twenty-five standout scenes or lines from famous movies that were totally unscripted. Here, the decisions belonged to the directors or the actors; in many cases, stars like Heath Ledger and Matt Damon were given free reign with how they filled the time.
Make sure you watch the video with the captions on; they tell you what the original intent was versus the improvised scene, and whether it was an actor or a director who came up with the twist.
It’s jarring, as a writer, to realize how many iconic lines came out of an actor’s quick thinking or another circumstance — like the rogue cab on the New York set of Midnight Cowboy – that the screenwriter couldn’t have come up with sitting in his office or cafe writing.