It's no secret that being an actor requires memorizing endless complicated lines. But apparently, some of the most iconic moments in the most popular films and television shows actually came when the actors and actresses threw out the script (metaphorically, of course) and improvised. So grab that popcorn and put up your feet because we're looking at the best unscripted moments that ended up stealing the show.
Moira's Unique Pronunciation Of 'Bebe' On CBC's Schitt's Creek
It doesn't happen very often, but one little Canadian show made waves and grew a major following in all of North America. The show in question is CBC's 'Schitt's Creek,' which stars a very funny Catherine O'Hara as Moira, the matriarch of the Rose family. O'Hara has been acting for ages, and she is always able to deliver the most ridiculous of lines in a deadpan manner, making her a legend.
Instead of calling a baby a baby, Moira uses the word 'bébé,' which O'Hara spontaneously decided to pronounce kind of funny for some extra flair.
That Moment in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War Just As Peter Parker Fades Away
Tom Holland might just be the man of the hour at the moment with his most recent trip to the box office with 'Spider-Man: No Way Home,' but in 2018, it was all about 'Avengers: Infinity War.' Spoiler alert, Holland's Spider-Man is in The Avengers and he is one of the characters that slowly starts to turn to dust as he talks to his mentor Tony Stark. The moment is an emotional one.
It was made even more emotional as Holland threw in the line, "I don't wanna go." That had everyone in the audience ready to shed a tear. Turns out, it wasn't scripted!
Tormund's Love At First Sight Grin In Game Of Thrones
With such a massive cast spanning multiple continents, it makes sense that HBO's 'Game of Thrones' would have some improvisation. One of the best scenes in the show is when the wildling Tormund sees Brienne of Tarth for the first time. It's like cupid has struck him with an arrow; he is so stunned by her powerful presence. The best part about this onscreen moment is that actor Kristofer Hivju decided on his own what Tormund's reaction would be.
That big grin and devouring look he directs at her are all from the actor's mind. How could she resist him?
All Of The Grunting In Black Panther At Everett Ross
There are always moments in movies that stand out, and in Marvel Universe's 'Black Panther,' there is one scene that many people will remember. Everett Ross starts to speak during one scene, and the Jabari all start to make grunting noises to show that he should not be speaking. Those grunting noises were led by actor Winston Duke who played Jabari leader M'Baku. He wanted to make the scene his own, and that's how he did it.
Everyone has to listen to M'Baku start grunting, and now this scene is one of the most well-known all thanks to some improv.
Diving Into William's History On This Is Us
Basically, every show is scripted, but for the actors to really draw on the material, they need to be able to pull things from their own experiences. In Season 1, Episode 16 of 'This Is Us,' Randall starts to learn more about his father, William, and one scene features the pair standing by two water fountains that used to be segregated. In the scene, both Randall and William sip from the former "Whites Only" fountain.
The scene itself was developed by the two actors after the location of the water fountains was shared by one of the executive producers.
Millie Bobby Brown's Eleven Really Was Collapsing From Exhaustion
Netflix's 'Stranger Things' brings the 80s nostalgia to the little screen in a way that no other tv show has managed to do in recent years. The fashion, the hair, and the music all work together to give it that authentic 80s vibe. While filming the sauna scene for Season 3, Episode 4, actress Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Eleven, had to spend hours in that tight little sauna room filming the same scene over and over.
Eventually, her character completely collapses into actor Finn Wolfhard's arms, and that exhaustion is real. Eleven wasn't supposed to collapse, but the unscripted moment perfectly fit in.
Robert Downey Jr. In Iron Man
Marvel is known for its superhero movies, and 2008's 'Iron Man' really cemented Robert Downey Jr. in the role of Tony Stark. It is hard to imagine anyone else playing the character because he embodies it so well. In the film, there is a closing scene where Robert Downey admits, "I am Iron Man." Apparently, that iconic line that ended the film was improvised by the actor.
Producer Kevin Feige said they kept the line in the final cut because Downey's improvisation was totally in line with Tony Stark's character.
Genuine Emotion Comes From Big Surprises On How I Met Your Mother
Most actors can look at a script, rehearse their lines and then deliver them with no problem. However, some scenes call for big emotions, and those emotions can only truly be reached if the actor is hearing a piece of news for the first time. In the episode of 'How I Met Your Mother' where Jason Segel's character Marshall's dad dies, the writers wanted him to show some raw emotion which meant the news needed to be a surprise.
The emotions and lines that Segel delivered were 100 percent his own because he had no idea his dad was going to be written off of the show.
One Of The Most Intense Fights In HBO's Euphoria Was All Improv
There aren't a lot of TV shows out there that really stay with you and get under your skin quite the way that HBO's 'Euphoria' does. In Season One, Episode One, there is a fight between Zendaya's character Rue and her mom, played by Nika King. The two get into a massive fight, but none of that fight was actually choreographed. Director Sam Levinson wanted the two actresses to feel the moment.
The intensity of the fight and how it is portrayed was entirely done on the fly by Zendaya and King, and it is a testament to their acting chops.
When Schmidt From New Girl Described His Perfect Woman
If you ask someone to describe their perfect person, it might be hard for them to do. But for Schmidt from 'New Girl,' that was never a problem. In Season 7, Episode 8, Schmidt and Nick have a special moment where Nick asks him to describe his perfect girl, and what Schmidt ends up describing is the female Nick, right down to what he was wearing at that moment.
The whole description was improvised! Schmidt said, "Just, like, you know, like shows up, but like, casually. You know what I mean? Like, wearing a beanie and a little hoodie. Like, sort of an orangish hoodie."
The Iconic NCIS Gibbs Slap To The Back Of The Head
Nobody should be violent, but in 'NCIS,' Agent Gibbs is known for a certain gesture that wasn't supposed to be a part of the script. Actor Michael Weatherly, who starred in the show as Dinozzo, is known for going off script and spicing up the onscreen conversations whenever he can. During the fifth episode of the first season, Mark Harmon was tired of him going off script and gave him a slap.
The moment was funnier than anything else, and Harmon hadn't planned it. From there, the Gibbs slap was born.
Meryl Streep As Miranda Priestly In The Devil Wears Prada
2006's 'The Devil Wears Prada' was based on the book of the same name by author Lauren Weisberger. One of the main characters in the book is Miranda Priestly, who, rumor has it, is loosely based on Vogue USA's Anna Wintour. Priestly is an incredibly demanding boss and is played to perfection by Academy Award winner Meryl Streep. By the end of the film, respect has been earned by Anne Hathaway's Andy.
To cement that respect, Streep changed the line, "Everyone wants to be me" to "Everyone wants to be us" to reflect that change in status for Andy. Genius!
The Kiss That Kevin And Archie Shared On Riverdale Musical
There comes a moment in almost every CW show where one of their seasons has a musical episode. Naturally, for 'Riverdale,' that moment came in Season 4, Episode 17. The episode itself was unique, but the moment that got everyone talking was when Archie and Kevin finished off their number with a nice big kiss. That kiss was never supposed to be part of their number, though, and it was just the actors goofing around.
The kiss was supposed to be a little peck on the cheek, not the kiss the actors decided to give all their fans.
Brooklyn 99's Captain Holt Knows How To Deliver A Line
When you think about 'Brooklyn 99,' you tend to think of Andy Samberg's character, but Andre Braugher's Captain Holt should not be forgotten so quickly. The actor is the one that coined the iconic line "Hot damn!" when Amy finally admits there was a problem at the bank in one episode. Captain Holt's reaction to what she shares is pretty memorable, especially because it came out of nowhere for the cast and crew.
The writing team seems to have embraced his love for the theatrics because his character got many more moments like this.
Patton Oswalt's Filibuster In That Infamous Parks And Recreation Episode
There aren't a lot of TV shows that can be watched over and over again, but NBC's 'Parks and Recreation' is definitely one of them. Many actors and actresses have guest-starred over the seasons, but Patton Oswalt's guest appearance in Season 5 might just be one of the most memorable. The actor knew that he would have to have a nine-minute long filibuster section but was not actually given a script for it.
This wasn't an issue for him, and he decided to talk about two of the things he knows the most about: the Star Wars and Marvel Franchises.
Agents Of Shield's Agent Fitz Can Throw Out A Line
The Marvel universe isn't just blockbuster movies but also the tv show spinoffs which are arguably just as good. In 'Agents of Shield,' Agent Fitz is known for his scientific know-how. In the last episode of season 2, Agent Fitz manages to tamper with someone's teleportation power which ends up helping out the team. Everyone wants to know how it was done, but instead of a technical explanation, the actor just offered an ad-libbed line.
If you were wondering what that technical explanation was, it was this, "Science, bi-atch!"
Even Sherlock AKA Benedict Cumberbatch Forgets Some Of His Lines
While many unscripted lines are included to enhance scenes, sometimes the improvised lines happen because an actor has had a momentary blip in their memory and has completely blanked on the real line. For British actor Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC One's 'Sherlock,' this happened during an episode when he and Watson had something of a wild time at Watson's bachelor party. Cumberbatch temporarily forgot this line and improvised instead, creating a realistic scene of someone who's having trouble putting their words together while hungover.
Eventually, Cumberbatch just said, "Apologies on behalf of my... thing," referring to the sleeping Watson next to him. That is probably what the snarky detective would have said, even if it wasn't in the script.
Sometimes Breakfast Calls For Some Light Conversation Among Strangers
Netflix's 'Stranger Things' brings us to one of the best improv scenes we know about. During a breakfast conversation with Murray, he decides to have a bit of banter with the two teens staying with him. Believe it or not, this scene was all improv dialogue. That might be why the young actors looked like they were trying to keep straight faces as Murray went off about the pull-out couch.
We all know what Murray is alluding to, which makes the scene that much better.
That Time Ross And Rachel Tied The Knot In Vegas
While the cast of 'Friends' might be busy with fancy film careers, they all got their start in the beloved sitcom. Ross and Rachel's on and off relationship always managed to draw audiences in, and in season 6, actress Jennifer Aniston got to use one of her more famous improv lines. After finding out about her quickie wedding in Vegas to Ross, Rachel has a bit of a meltdown.
During the meltdown, Aniston said the line completely unprompted, "This isn't a marriage; this is the world's worst hangover." The line stuck, and now everyone knows it.
Robin Williams' Monologue In Good Will Hunting To Matt Damon
The late Robin Williams is one of the best comedic actors of all time. He was able to improvise at the drop of a hat, and that included one famous scene in the film 'Good Will Hunting,' which also starred a very young Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. In the film, Williams begins a monologue about his wife, who had passed away, and it was not anything Matt Damon was expecting.
Instead of opening up about how amazing his wife was, Williams decided to share a little tidbit about what she would do in sleep that was endearing to him.
The Dothraki Language In Game Of Thrones Is Part Improv
As far as amazing fantasy shows go, HBO's 'Game of Thrones' continues to be one of the best even if it is no longer running. In Season 2, the Dothraki feature quite heavily, as the Mother of Dragons lives amongst them as her people. That means she and her faithful servant, Ser Jorah, have to speak in the made-up language quite a bit. Actor Iain Glenn who played Ser Jorah, had one scene where he didn't even know what to say in the language.
During filming for the season 2 finale, the language inventor, David J. Petersen, was not available to create a new line, so Glenn simply said, "Mas ovary movekkhi moskay."
Steve Carell In Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy
Anyone who has watched Steve Carell as Michael Scott in 'The Office' knows that he is one of the kings of improvisation. In 2004's 'Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,' he played a newscaster by the name of Brick Tamland. Brick isn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, but Carell had to be to play the role. He didn't have a lot of scripted lines like the rest of the cast.
This led to the famous scene where he says, "I love lamp" because he was told to adlib, and he thought that Brick would just say random things.
The Kiss Between Michael Scott And Oscar Nunez In The Office
By now, we know just how funny Steve Carell can be when given the go-ahead to do whatever he wants in a take. Michael Scott, the boss that just can't seem to manage his team in 'The Office,' has to be one of the funniest characters in cinematic history. In Season 3, Episode 1, Michael knows that he needs to make up for the moment when he shares Oscar's preferences with the office.
Rather than saying a normal, "I'm sorry," Scott hugs him and gives him a big smooch on the lips to try and keep him from resigning. Oddly, it works.
Sometimes The Worst Mistakes Make For The Best Television
HBO's 'Veep' is one of those shows that manages to bring the White House staff to life but in a totally unserious way. During the episode where Gary and Mike are in London, England, they accidentally knock over a tea set which is on the expensive side. That moment was not in pre-production and was a big mistake on the actors' part. The two immediately rolled with it and made up some lines.
It was so funny that the post-production team decided to keep the scene and incorporate it into the storyline.
Everyone's Favorite Snarky Doctor House And The Actor Behind Him
The show 'House' is easily one of the best medical dramas to ever grace the small screen. Not only was every case interesting, but Dr. House managed to deliver snarky one-liners in literally every scene. His bedside manner may have left something to be desired, but his medical detective skills did not. His relationship with his friend Dr. Wilson was also one of the reasons audiences enjoyed watching the show.
Friendships always go through ups and downs, and during one down phase when Wilson didn't agree with him, Hugh Laurie, the actor who plays house, made up this great line, "Look, I know you're friends with her, but there's a code! Bros before hoes, man!"
A Little Connection Goes A Long Way In Fight Club
Scripting everything can sometimes detract from the powerfulness of a scene. Actors need to get into the zone and tap into some pretty deep-rooted emotions. In the cult classic 'Fight Club' based on the book by Chuck Palahniuk, actor Edward Norton was told to actually connect with Brad Pitt's character during one scene. It was hard for Norton to actually hit Pitt, especially because he didn't know it was coming,
The moment was dramatic, but mainly because Norton decided to hit him in the ear, which led to Pitt blurting out the line, "Why the ear?"
The Thanksgiving Song In Bob's Burgers Was All Improv
When you think of ad-libbing, you think of one line here and there or maybe a short scene. For the masters, though, they can literally make up a song on the spot if the need arises. In 2012, during the third season of 'Bob's Burgers,' there is a moment where Linda Belcher sings what is now known as the Thanksgiving Song. You probably thought that this song was written specifically for this episode.
In fact, actor John Roberts is the mastermind behind the song, and he wrote it right there on the spot for the episode.
Season 5 Episode 14 Of AMC's Hit Show Breaking Bad
AMC's long-running show 'Breaking Bad' about a high school chemistry teacher turned criminal, was something nobody could turn off when it was airing. In Season 5, Episode 14, there is a scene with baby Holly, who Walt has just kidnapped, and she starts to murmur "Mama, mama" to herself. It was a moment that nobody could have planned, and it made the scene even more emotional as Walt starts to realize what he has done.
Some kids just have improvisation in their genes if the baby that played Holly is anything to go off of!
Andy On Parks And Recreation's Attempt At Using The Internet
Every show needs the guy or girl that isn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed for some slapstick comedy action. In 'Parks and Recreation,' that character is none other than Andy Dwyer, played by Chris Pratt. No matter what Andy does or says, he always seems to get it wrong. In one scene, Leslie Knope isn't feeling the best, and Andy tries to be helpful by doing a web search on her symptoms.
Naturally, using a computer is not his strong suit, and Pratt ended up saying the line, "Leslie, I typed your symptoms into the thing up here, and it says you could have 'network connectivity problems.'"
The Scene In Parenthood With Amber and Zeke After The Crash
Every drama needs to have scenes that invoke a lot of emotion, and in 'Parenthood,' that scene came when Amber crashed her car, and Zeke wanted her to understand a few things about it. The scene is by no means a funny one, but what Zeke says and how he delivers the speech to Amber is pretty heartwrenching. That speech and what both actor and actress Craig T. Nelson and Mae Whitman say was all improv.
True actors can take on an emotional scene and feed off of each other's energy to create something great, and that is exactly what these two did.
Director Chris Columbus' Improvised Draco Malfoy Line In Harry Potter
The Harry Potter franchise is on par with the Marvel one. When the films were being churned out, fans could not get enough of them. In 2002's 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,' there is a part in the film where Ron and Harry drink some Polyjuice Potion to temporarily transform into Crabbe and Goyle, Draco Malfoy's cronies. The only problem with the transformation is that Harry continues to wear his glasses.
Director Chris Columbus looked at the scene and decided to have Malfoy say the line, "Reading? I didn't know you could read," when Harry says that is why one of the duo is wearing glasses.
The Snake Juice Moments In Parks And Recreation
Finding a sitcom that delivers laugh-out-loud funny moments in every scene can be tough, but 'Parks and Recreation' managed to do just that. A lot of it was part of an excellent cast, with Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson being one of the funniest. In one particular episode, Aziz Ansari's character Tom Holland decides to debut his new alcohol called Snake Juice. Everyone in the office has a taste of the stuff, and everyone goes wild.
In the episode, Ron wears a little hat and cannot help but dance nonstop along with the rest of his coworkers, who end up delivering some pretty funny lines.
Moira Queens' Last Words In The CW's Arrow Season 2
Actors and actresses that play a character for years get to embody that character and get to know them on an almost cellular level. A part of themselves becomes that character, and actress Susanna Thompson spent a lot of time mulling over her character's last words in the script. Something wasn't quite right, and she decided to include the line, "Close your eyes, baby," to Thea, which just worked perfectly.
As soon as she said the line, the director knew that it needed to stay in the final cut, and so it did!
One Of The Lines That Made Mean Girls Laugh Out Loud Funny
Typically, actors and actresses that have spent time on 'Saturday Night Live' are given some freedom when it comes to the scrip for whatever television or movie they are starring in. For newer actors, it can take some time before the director gives them free rein to ad-lib a line here and there. In 2004's 'Mean Girls,' actor Daniel Franzese who plays Cady's former friend, is hurling insults from the car with their other former friend, played by Lizzy Caplan.
Franzese decided to throw out the line, "I want my pink shirt back!" which everyone loved, but he wanted to add a certain b-word to the end of it for some added emphasis. That was nixed.
Han Solo And Harrison Ford Were Confident Until The End
The original Star Wars trilogy will continue to be a cult classic, even with the most recent reboots by Disney+. The romance between Harrison Ford's Han Solo and Carrie Fisher's Princess Leia was something of a slow burn. Eventually, the two finally came together, and Princess Leia knew that she had to tell Han how she felt. In the scene where Leia says, "I love you," Han replies with a saucy, "I know."
That "I know" was never in the script, but Ford knew that it was more in keeping with who Solo was as a character and just went for it.
Murray Shaving His Head In Clueless Will Never Be Forgotten
There are a lot of movies that stand out as cult classics, and 'Clueless' continues to be one of the most well-known. We all remember Cher saying 'As if' in multiple scenes, but there is one line that has stuck with fans of the movie, and that was delivered by Dion's boyfriend Murray. There is a moment when Murray is getting his head shaved, and Dion comes in and sees it.
Instead of saying the scripted line, Donald Faison, the actor who played Murray, decided to say, "I'm keeping it real!" He thought it was more authentic because he had heard his hip neighbor say it.
Carol On The Walking Dead Had Her Fashion Sense Questioned
There are not a lot of shows that have the longevity and multiple spin-offs that AMC's 'The Walking Dead' has. Over the seasons, Carol and Daryl have cemented themselves as staples on the show, and the back and forth banter between the two is funny in a totally normal kind of way. When the crew shifts to the community of Alexandria, Carol starts to dress like a middle-aged mom who is pretty far from what she is now.
There is a scene where Daryl sees what she is wearing for the first time, and actor Norman Reedus could not help but utter, "You look ridiculous" to her.
The Janitor On Scrubs Had Some Of The Best Improv Lines In TV History
Most directors and scriptwriters don't like to give their actors and actresses free rein to make up their own lines unless they know that they are actually talented. In sitcoms, the cast is usually pretty good, but some of the actors can't make up snappy lines on the spot. In 'Scrubs' actor Neil Flynn was so good at improvising that the writers stopped giving him lines almost completely. In fact, they would write, "Whatever Neil says," in the script.
One of Neil's best lines was delivered in an episode where he was asked about his thoughts on something, and he decided to share how he views the moon or doesn't view the moon rather.
Sometimes Even Actors Need To Steal Lines Like In Supernatural
The CW seems to know exactly what the masses want when it comes to good television, and the long-running show 'Supernatural' is no different. Actor Jared Padalecki's character was known for saying one particular line rather emphatically, but Jensen Ackles decided it was his time to shine and completely stole the line in one scene. Padalecki was caught off guard by the moment and found it very hard not to laugh.
Just take a look at the actors' faces here. Padalecki is clearly trying not to smile after having his line stolen.
The Moment That Zeke In Parenthood Pulls Out A Heart Wrenching Speech
Monologues take a lot of confidence to deliver well, and Craig T. Nelson in 'Parenthood' is a master. Actress Mae Whitman didn't know what she was in for when Nelson as Zeke began to share a long speech about his family with her character. The speech had not been in the script, and everything he saw was full of raw emotion. As he spoke, Whitman herself was moved by it.
What Nelson shared was very personal and almost about his own family. Whitman couldn't help but tear up as her character.