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When in doubt, say “yes” to all of Meryl Streep’s ideas.
Meryl Streep told Variety that she suggested that two scenes be added to The Devil Wears Prada after she was cast as the titular devil, high-powered fashion editor Miranda Priestly. Streep explained, “I am not sure the movie celebrates her as much as appreciates her business accomplishments. It’s hard to run a big company like that.”
The first scene she suggested was the iconic and endlessly quotable cerulean sweater monologue, in which Miranda simultaneously explains “the business of fashion,” as Streep put it, and burns her new assistant Andy to the ground.
The second was the scene where Andy walks in on Miranda crying after her husband tells her he wants a divorce. Streep said, “I also wanted a scene where she is without her armor, the unpeeled scene in the hotel room — just to see that face without its protective glaze, to glimpse the woman in the businesswoman.”
In The Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) sits down to have lunch with senior stockbroker Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey). Belfort watches, bemused, as Hanna starts hitting his chest and humming in the middle of the restaurant.
This ritual wasn’t a quirk of the real-life Hanna. During an appearance on The Graham Norton Show, McConaughey revealed that it actually came from a pre-performance habit of his that helps him “relax himself, [and] get [his] voice to drop.”
He and DiCaprio did five takes without the chest thumping but right before they were about to move on, DiCaprio suggested to McConaughey and director Martin Scorsese that they incorporate it into the scene. When he did, McConaughey said he realized that by getting Belfort “on the same rhythm,” Hanna was symbolically “pass[ing] the torch” to his protégé.
You know that part in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when the fabled Mr. Wonka (Gene Wilder) emerges from his factory relying on a cane, only to trip, somersault forward, and reveal that it was all one big gag to the crowd’s thunderous applause?
Yeah, Gene Wilder not only came up with that moment, but he also told director Mel Stuart that he wouldn’t do the movie unless it was included.
During a 2002 interview with Larry King, Wilder explained the thought process behind the scene. Wilder recalled, “I said [to Stuart], ‘Because no one will know from that point on whether I am lying or telling the truth.'”
Harrison Ford came up with the iconic exchange that his character Han Solo and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) share just before Han is frozen in carbonite in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. It’s a classic: She says she loves him, he replies “I know,” and everyone swoons (except for Han, who is, you know, super frozen).
According to J.W. Rinzler’s book The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, the scene in the original script was significantly different. In that version, Leia says, “I love you. I couldn’t tell you before but it’s true.” To which Han replies, “Just remember that, ‘cause I’ll be back.”
On the day the scene was shot, publicist Alan Arnold recorded a conversation between Ford and director Irvin Kershner. According to the the transcript of that conversation printed in The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Ford says to Kershner, “If she says, ‘I love you,’ and I say, ‘I know,’ it’s beautiful and it’s acceptable and it’s funny.”
Kershner himself decided to cut the line about Han coming back since he said the character “[doesn’t] know whether this is the end or not.”
The “tears in the rain” monologue that Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) delivers in the moments before he dies in Blade Runner is so famous that it has its very own Wikipedia page. Hauer himself had a lot of influence on how the monologue turned out and even penned its most famous line himself.
Hauer told RadioTimes.com that he significantly cut down the original monologue, only keeping two “poetic” lines (the ones about the burning attack ships, and Tannhäuser Gate) after he “took a knife to” the rest of the speech. Hauer said, “You know, I think a lot of scripts are overwritten.” He said he was “fucking allergic” to such melodrama.
Director Ridley Scott gave Hauer permission to write his own lines for the character, which would be included if Scott approved. One of those lines was, “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.” Hauer said of the line’s lasting impact, “All I did was write one line. I edited and I came up with one line. That’s the poet in me — that’s my poet, I own him. Great! And then for that line to have such fucking wings — can you imagine what that feels like?”
During an appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Samuel L. Jackson revealed that he asked George Lucas to give his character Mace Windu a purple lightsaber so that he could easily identify himself in a large fight scene in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.
Lucas originally refused because lightsabers were only supposed to come in two varieties, red and green. But when Jackson returned to set for reshoots, Lucas showed him that he’d given Mace a purple lightsaber, even though it was “already causing a shitstorm online.”
Brooklyn Nine-Nine showrunner Dan Goor told E! Online that he initially didn’t want Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) and Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) to have children after getting married, since he was “firmly of the belief that it’s a workplace show, and their relationship exists in the workplace.” But he changed his mind when Fumero argued that a pregnancy storyline would make sense for Amy.
Goor said, “Her reason was, ‘I feel like Amy — this is Melissa speaking — is a person who wants to get an A on every test, and getting pregnant is a test you can’t study for. So if she has difficulty getting pregnant, it could drive comedy and be really compelling.’ … Immediately, I was like, Oh yeah. She knows that character so well, and that is so true.“
Andy Samberg also offered important input on the episode “Trying,” which follows Amy and Jake’s troubled attempts to conceive. The episode ends with the couple receiving yet another negative pregnancy test result and originally, the script concluded with a joke. But Samberg told Goor, “I really think we should cut that joke. I think we should end it on that look.”
“That look” was one of mutual disappointment and frustration, and Goor said it was “the most powerful part of the episode.”
In Love, Simon, Simon (Nick Robinson) and his mother Emily (Jennifer Garner) share an emotional scene after Simon comes out as gay to his family. Emily’s heartwarming speech was added at Garner’s request, according to director Greg Berlanti.
Berlanti told the Wrap, “It wasn’t in the original draft of the script. And Jen, when she joined the movie, said, ‘I want to connect with my son in the last act.’ I said she was absolutely right.”
At first, The Avengers ended with Tony Stark waking up after his near-death experience and asking, “What’s next?” But Robert Downey Jr. wasn’t impressed by that so he asked Joss Whedon to write something else.
This resulted in one line turning into three pages of ideas, one of which was the now-iconic suggestion that the superheroes hang up the spandex and take a well-deserved, albeit entirely silent, lunch break, courtesy of a local shawarma joint.
Here’s a bonus fact about this moment: Chris Evans, aka Captain America, is wearing a prosthetic to cover up a beard he’d grown by the time this scene, added at the last minute, was filmed. That’s also why he’s sitting with his hand covering most of his face.
In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones wins a duel with a swordsman in a memorably cavalier manner: He just shoots the guy. In a Reddit Ask Me Anything session, Harrison Ford wrote that he suggested changing the scene, which was originally supposed to be “the ultimate duel between sword and whip,” to streamline the shooting process, since he was suffering from dysentery at the time and “found it inconvenient to be out of [his] trailer for more than 10 minutes at a time.”
Ford wrote, “I was puzzling how to get out of these three days of shooting. So when I got to set, I proposed to Steven that we just shoot the son [of] a bitch and Steve said, ‘I was thinking that as well.'”
He added that the swordsman in the scene was “a wonderful British stuntman who had practiced his sword skills for months in order to do this job and was quite surprised by the idea that we would dispatch him in 5 minutes.”
At the end of A Quiet Place, Lee (John Krasinski) signs to his daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), “I’ve always loved you.” Originally, he was supposed to only sign, “I love you,” but the “always” line was added at Simmonds’ suggestion.
The actor told Metro, “At the end when he signs, ‘I love you,’ I said I think he needs to say, ‘I’ve always loved you.’ Because that covers the difficult period. Then when I suggested that he cried.” Simmonds is Deaf and once told the New York Times Style Magazine that without American Sign Language, “I wouldn’t have a relationship with my own family. I wouldn’t have communication.”
In Stranger Things, Billy (Dacre Montgomery) is a bully who antagonizes nearly every character in the show. But Montgomery asked the showrunners, the Duffer Brothers, to add two scenes that would help explain to audiences how Billy developed his monstrous behavior.
Montgomery told Bustle, “That was my effort with the Duffers to show that side that no one is just bad. There’s always a reason, right? And in this season, the ending is so fantastic in the same way. Billy is humanized and redemption is very evident, and that was a really nice arc for me to go really dark. … I’m really not trying to play an archetypal bad guy. There’s no such thing as good or bad. We’re all human beings.”
The first scene Montgomery asked for came at the end of Season 2, when Billy’s abusive father physically assaults him after his stepsister Max goes missing. The second was a flashback sequence in Season 3 that shows the audience (via Eleven) how Billy loved and lost his mother.
Shawn Levy told Collider that while he and star Ryan Reynolds were editing Free Guy, Reynolds pitched a scene where a girl playing the video game with her friend says about Reynolds’ character Guy, “He’s just an NPC. Waste that mother—.”
Levy recalled, “And I was like, should we just go to my house, grab two of my daughters, and shoot it. We shot it in my daughter’s bedroom. It’s still in the movie.”
Levy’s younger daughter Coco refused to say “motherfucker,” so she said “mother f” instead. Levy said, “I couldn’t negotiate her down.”
And finally: Remember that time Prince was on New Girl? That was 100% his idea. He was such a big fan of the show that he reached out to pitch a guest appearance for himself, because even Prince himself knew most things could be improved by adding more Prince.
New Girl star Zooey Deschanel recalled during a 2016 Conan appearance that in the Season 3 episode, some members of the Kardashian family were going to cameo as party guests at an event hosted by Prince (who was playing himself). But when Prince, or a member of his team, asked for their appearances to be cut, Deschanel saw a production assistant burning copies of the script that contained references to the reality television stars.