Bloopers happen. In fact, once in a rare while, they’re actually a good thing. A film is a large and largely collaborative effort. Scripts get rewritten all the time when a director or actor or designer gets an idea on the fly, and it’s immediately incorporated into the film because it’s exciting, it’s dynamic, and it makes sense for the look, feel, or plot of a movie. Actors contribute to this dynamic in their own unique way. They make a mistake, flub a line, or react in the moment in what seems to be out of character … but it just works! These bloopers were so good, the filmmakers ended up actually keeping them in the movie.
Good Will Hunting
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote Good Will Hunting to give themselves a couple of meaty roles. Not only did the movie shoot them to the A list, but they won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for their efforts—yet they didn’t write arguably the most famous and heartfelt scene in the whole movie.
During a therapy session with Will Hunting (Matt Damon), Dr. Sean Maguire (Robin Williams) discusses how much he misses his late wife, recalling in a hilariously intimate moment how she used to fart in her sleep so loudly she’d wake herself up. Damon and Affleck mention on the Good Will Hunting DVD commentary track that Williams, a master of improvisation, made up the monologue on the spot, and it was so funny that Williams and Damon both broke out into genuine laughter. That made it into the film—as did some shaky, out of focus shots, the result of the cameraman’s own uncontrollable laughter.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
One of Rogue One‘s most enjoyable new additions to the Star Wars canon is the sometimes funny, sometimes nasty droid K-2SO. He’s been described as "the anti-C3PO," according to actor Alan Tudyk, who provided motion capture and a voice for the character. During a scene in which K-2SO is pretending to escort partners-in-crime Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) into Imperial custody, he gets too far into character, as it were, and slaps Cassian across the face. That slap was actually an in-the-moment idea by Tudyk. (K-2SO footage was added in post-production; during filming, Tudyk acted alongside the other performers while wearing motion capture equipment.) Luna didn’t know Tudyk was going to slap him, and to keep from laughing and ruining the take, he covered his face.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Alfred Hitchcock coined the nonsense term "MacGuffin" to describe important objects upon which the plot of a movie revolves. This would include the ring in The Lord of the Rings or the Infinity Stones in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He who controls the orbs controls the universe, and the recovery of one is a major element of Guardians of the Galaxy. They’re incredibly important, which is why it’s so funny when Chris Pratt, as Star-Lord, straight up drops one when he’s supposed to hand it over. But he stayed in character and caught the orb before it could shatter. Pratt’s blooper worked with Guardians‘ comical tone, so it made the cut and stayed in the movie.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
As the great wizard Gandalf, Ian McKellen’s comic timing in the scene when he visits an aged Bilbo Baggins in his tiny hobbit house is so good that the scene looks totally worked out. McKellen has to duck to move around and runs into a chandelier. That was planned, but then he turns around and runs right smack into a rafter … which was not planned. McKellen came up with the idea in the moment and didn’t tell director Peter Jackson he was going to do it. The director liked it and kept his star’s blooper in because it’s a light-hearted moment that more fully paints a picture of just how tiny those hobbit houses really are.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
As war looms and the loss of Rohan seems imminent, Eowyn (Miranda Otto) stares off into the distance as the camera reveals a wide scenic shot. As she does, a flag on a pole whips nervously and wildly in the wind. And then, aptly expressing the mood of uncertainty and destruction to come, the flag rips off the pole and flies away. The metaphor was apt — but it was really also a blooper. Peter Jackson didn’t plan for this — it was just really windy on that day of shooting. He knew a great shot when he saw one, though, and kept it in.
The Usual Suspects
The police lineup scene early in the movie is crucial to the plot of The Usual Suspects: it’s where all the criminal main characters meet to arrange a big heist. And yet, as each character steps forward to read the line police told them to read, all can barely contain their laughter. It’s disarming, and it characterizes the criminals as being completely dismissive of law enforcement. But that wasn’t in the script, and it wasn’t a directorial note. No, the cast of The Usual Suspects couldn’t stop laughing because actor Benicio Del Toro couldn’t stop farting. Co-star Kevin Pollak says he farted on "like 12 takes in a row." Director Bryan Singer got so mad with the cast’s inability to focus that he yelled at them … which probably only made them laugh harder. To Singer’s credit, he saw the entertainment value in his leading men horsing around, and ultimately opted to keep it in the final cut.
In the comedy about very dumb male models tasked with stopping an assassination, Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) learns via a very lengthy monologue from former hand model J.P. Prewitt that explains the longstanding conspiracy about how figures in the fashion world have orchestrated several assassinations, using brainwashed male models to do the dirty work. Immediately after, Zoolander again asks, "but why male models?" Ben Stiller couldn’t think of his line, so he just repeated his line from earlier in the scene that set off Duchovny’s monologue. It wasn’t scripted, but it so perfectly emphasizes how dumb Zoolander is that it stayed in the film.
While he follows a horseback, bikini-clad Bond girl with his eyes, Daniel Craig was supposed to simply swim up onto a beach. But as he floated up, the actor ran into a sand bank. That gave him no choice but to quickly stand up on his feet and stomp out of the water. Suddenly, Craig is standing there, muscled-up body on display, along with some very revealing swim trunks. Casino Royale was a reboot of the Bond series, and you could assume that this was a reference to an almost identical scene from the first James Bond movie, Dr. No, in which Ursula Andress emerged onto a beach in much the same fashion. But it was a total accident.
Fast & Furious 6
In the Fast & Furious movies, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges (Tej) and Tyrese Gibson (Roman) often serve up what Ludacris calls "comic relief." "We have a lot of fun on set, because we do a lot of different takes and a lot of our ideas make it into the movie," Ludacris has said. Case in point: In Fast & Furious 6, as Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) enters a scene, Roman quips to Jordana Brewster’s character, "Hey, Mia, you better hide your baby oil!" Going off-script, Johnson retorts, "You better hide that big-a** forehead." Also unscripted, and also in the movie, is Ludacris’s spit take. "I was really laughing," he later admitted. "We make real moments."
Raiders of the Lost Ark
There were two raiders of the lost ark in Raiders of the Lost Ark: heroic American archaeologist Indiana Jones, and evil French archaeologist Rene Belloq. Right before the Ark is opened in all of its face-melting, head-exploding glory, the movie features a tight shot of Belloq, or rather actor Paul Freeman. A fly quite comically lands on Freeman’s face, which obviously wasn’t supposed to happen because flies aren’t readily trainable. Freeman certainly felt the bug, but he didn’t think anyone else noticed. And then, it would seem, that the fly walks right into Freeman’s mouth. Was it gross? Did Belloq deserve that? Yes, and yes. But Freeman didn’t really swallow the fly. He said the film looks "choppy" in that scene, noting that a few frames were removed to make it look like the fly crawled into his mouth, when in reality it actually flew away. Nevertheless, Freeman earned praise for going the extra blooper mile — in her 1981 review of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Pauline Kael of The New York Times calls the actor "a trouper" for eating the bug.
Wes Craven’s Scream deftly blended horror and comedy to produce a slasher movie that was simultaneously a self-aware parody of the genre. In one scene, the film’s copious use of slippery fake blood made the former lead to the latter: Billy (Skeet Ulrich) grabs a blood-covered phone, only to have it slip out of his hands and knock Stu (Matthew Lillard) in the head. His response: "You hit me with the phone, d**k!" That reaction is right in character for Lillard’s goofy, wound-up character, and according to the DVD commentary, it wasn’t scripted. Craven, knowing it was too good to cut, went ahead and kept the blooper in the movie. Blood and laughter—the definitive Scream moment.
Donald Glover (Atlanta, Community) has a supporting role in director Ridley Scott’s science-fiction epic The Martian. Glover told Conan O’Brien on Conan that Scott moves very quickly, generally only securing three or four takes of a scene at most before moving on. Knowing he only had a limited number of opportunities to "bring it," Glover said he was nervous, but nailed a scene in which he was supposed to spit in a wastebasket, do some staged business, and then get up and walk away. Well, he almost nailed it, because when he had to do the get-up-and-walk-away part, he slipped and fell. "And then I get up, and I’m like, ‘I’m fine.’" Scott’s reaction, according to Glover: "That was great." The shot made it into the movie. "When you see me in the movie and I eat it, that’s really eating it."
One of Django’s (Jamie Foxx) chief aims in this 2012 Western is to free his wife (Kerry Washington) from the clutches of terrifyingly crazed slave owner Calvin Candie, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. The meeting between Django and Calvin is extremely tense, and for dramatic effect, he slams his hand onto a table… right onto a glass. DiCaprio didn’t stop at all during his blooper-fueled take, despite the fact that he’d just seriously lacerated his hand. He continued his monologue, and the scene, while nonchalantly picking out pieces of glass. Director Quentin Tarantino, recognizing great drama — or maybe just not in any hurry to ask for another pass at the scene — kept it in the final cut.
A lot of actors will bring home a souvenir from a movie set—their costume or a special prop, for example. Daryl Hannah’s souvenir from Blade Runner is a scar on her arm…and the blooper during which she injured it making its way into the movie. While playing a replicant named Pris, Hannah ran from genetic designer J.F. Sebastian (William Sanderson) and slipped on the wet pavement in the pouring rain, falling onto a vehicle and smashing into one of its windows with her elbow. None of this was planned, and Hannah finished filming the scene, preserving what ended up being a fairly serious injury for posterity.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
It’s an otherwise quiet scene in the English-language adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s crime thriller. Perhaps it was a palate cleanser between scenes of brutal violence, but it’s just investigator Mikael in a cabin kitchen, reaching for a can of cat food by which to feed a cat. It was just supposed to be a bit of time-passing stage business, but as he grabs the can, Daniel Craig knocks over a bottle. He instinctively jumps back and grabs it before it can smash to the ground. The quick act helps to characterize Mikael as an agile warrior of a guy who gets things done, but it was completely accidental. David Fincher praised the blooper as a bit of "bravado" and kept it in the movie.
The Hateful Eight
For her role as the manipulative outlaw Daisy Domergue in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, Jennifer Jason Leigh had to know how to play a little guitar. She learned on a vintage 19th century Martin, on loan to the production from the Martin Guitar Museum. In one scene, Leigh’s co-star Kurt Russell was supposed to yank the instrument out of her hands and smash it to smithereens—but of course, in real life, the cameras were supposed to cut first, so it could be swapped out for an ordinary guitar. The cut didn’t come, and Russell dutifully destroyed the Martin—valued at $40,000—causing a genuinely surprised Leigh to cry out, "Whoa! whoa!" (Russell, Leigh says, "felt terrible," because he "had no idea" that he was busting up such a valuable guitar.)
Rain Man is that rare film that wins the Oscar for best picture and also includes a gassy blooper that made the final cut. It’s one of the most memorable fart scenes in movie history: brothers Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) and Charlie (Tom Cruise) are in a phone booth together, and Raymond passes gas. Well, really, Hoffman did, and to almost warn Cruise, he quips, "Uh-oh, fart." Cruise is overwhelmed by the big smell in the tiny place, and the scene from then on is entirely ad-libbed. "It’s just my favorite moment of any film I’ve ever done," Hoffman later said. "That includes Shakespeare that I’ve done onstage, anything."
The Outsiders, based on S.E. Hinton’s classic young adult novel about teens from the wrong side of the tracks, benefited from the cast of talented young actors assembled by director Francis Ford Coppola—almost all of whom went on to be major stars, including Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, and C. Thomas Howell.
In a scene at a drive-in, Dillon and Howell’s characters (Dallas Winston and Ponyboy Curtis, respectively) hang out in the seats for people who didn’t come in cars. According to Hinton, who was on set the night the scene was shot, the scene played out a little bit differently than had been scripted. Dallas hits on Cherry Valance (Diane Lane)…until he falls out of his chair and hits the ground. Howell can’t help but laugh and he looks offscreen to Coppola, presumably for a "cut" motion, but Coppola kept rolling, and Dillon climbed back up into his chair and continued the scene.
In a high school debate exercise on whether the U.S. should take in refugees, ditzy Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) mentions the plight of displaced Haitians. Only she mispronounces it as "Hate-ee-uns." While it makes sense that a clothes-obsessed, self-absorbed teenager would not know how to pronounce that word, it was actually Alicia Silverstone who didn’t know how to pronounce "Haitians." Her ignorance might be embarrassing to Silverstone now, but it led to one of the most adorable bloopers that made it into any hit movie of the ’90s.
The Princess Diaries
This movie made Anne Hathaway a star, and the DVD has become a slumber party classic for little kids. It’s a classic ugly duckling story of a girl named Mia who finds out she’s the heir apparent to a small European kingdom. But she’s so very awkward, you see, falling down all the time, as she learns how to carry herself with the grace and poise befitting a royal. At one point, Mia is dancing on some bleachers in the rain at her private school with her best friend. Then she takes a pretty nasty tumble. That’s no stuntwoman, and that was not supposed to happen: Hathaway really did slip and fall down, and hard. But it fit in so well with the character’s awkwardness that it was kept in the finished film.
The 1970 movie Midnight Cowboy features one of the most famous lines in movie history, and it’s all because of a blooper. As Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman) and Joe Buck (Jon Voight) are walking across a busy Manhattan street having a conversation, a car nearly hits Ratso. Or rather, it nearly hit Dustin Hoffman. The movie had a very low budget, so it was shot with a hidden camera on a real street … and a real car really almost hit Hoffman. His angry, funny response, "I’m walkin’ here!" (along with a few smacks on the hood of the offending taxi) was so perfectly in character that director John Schlesinger kept it in the film, which went on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
Almost Famous is very close to writer-director Cameron Crowe’s heart—the story of a teenage journalist (Patrick Fugit) embedded on tour with a ’70s rock band is based on his actual experiences as a teenage journalist. Crowe won a screenwriting Oscar for his efforts, but one of the most affecting moments of the film wasn’t from Crowe’s real life—or his script.
When Penny Lane (Kate Hudson) tires of her life as a "Band Aid" (a groupie, in other words), she tells young William she’s going to live in Morocco for a year because she needs "a new crowd." Then she sweetly asks William if he’d like to join her. He replies with a wishy-washy, less-than-enthusiastic, "Yes. Yeah." Penny asks, "You sure?" to which William says, "Ask me again." She does, and this time he delivers an emphatic "Yes!" The "ask me again" wasn’t William being smooth or romantic—Patrick Fugit was unhappy with his first line read, and he asked Kate Hudson for a do-over while the cameras rolled. According to his DVD commentary track, Crowe thought the exchange came across as sincere, so he kept it in.
Portraying Vivian, the prostitute with a heart of gold who falls in love with businessman Edward (Richard Gere), thrust Julia Roberts onto Hollywood’s A-list in 1990, and she’s been America’s sweetheart ever since. Perhaps the movie’s most famous scene: Edward offers Vivian a fancy necklace to wear, and snaps the hinged soft case suddenly shut near her fingers, making her boisterously laugh. Well, that was Julia Roberts showing off her famous laugh and smile—not Vivian. In 2012, Pretty Woman director Garry Marshall told Entertainment Tonight that Roberts had a habit of showing up to work a little groggy after partying all night. He and Gere conspired to jolt her to attention with the old snapping box gag. They planned to include the prank in the film’s eventual gag reel, but Marshall thought it worked much better in the actual movie.