Not all of our favourite moments in film were planned. In fact, many magic movie moments were
not in the script at all. Inside Film has been looking into just a few moments in film that you
probably didn’t know were improvised.
The Dark Knight: Hospital Explosion
During the filming of the second instalment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, a scene
involving blowing up a hospital should have been a failure, had it not been for the late Heath
Ledger thinking quickly on his feet.
Originally, Ledger was supposed to walk out of the Hospital only for it to explode immediately
behind him. However, the detonations were delayed and only one small explosion went off.
The building used for the scene had already been planned to be demolished and Nolan only had one chance to film the shot. Superbly, Ledger stayed fully in character, frantically poking and prodding at his detonator as the bombs exploded in random sequence behind him, allowing the scene which should have been a disaster to become one of the most iconic moments in modern film.
The Shining: “Here’s Johnny”
Considered one of director Stanley Kubrick’s best productions and one of the greatest horror/thriller movies of all time, The Shining boasts one of the most recognised moments in modern movie history.The line occurs during a scene where lead character Jack Torrance, now completely insane, is trying to murder his wife, who has locked herself in a bathroom for safety.
Originally, Kubrick, considered by some as quite the perfectionist, only wanted Jack Nicholson to break through a door with an axe, but what followed was to become most one the famous lines in film. As Nicholson breaks a hole in the door, he pokes his head through and says “Here’s Johnny”, in typical, maniac fashion. The line was taking from the late night TV show “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” and was an imitation of Announcer Ed McMahon’s introduction. Based in England at the time, Kubrick later admitted he had never heard the line before but decided to use it anyway.
Taxi Driver: “You talkin’ to me?”
The script read “Travis speaks to himself in the mirror”, but what Robert De Niro said would be
declared as the tenth greatest movie quote of all time (the winner was “Frankly, my dear, I don’t
give a damn” and become the most memorable moment in Martin Scorsese’s classic Taxi Driver.
A young De Niro, about to showcase his talent, turns to the mirror and says “You talkin’ to me?”
What followed would be carved into Pop Culture history forever. Originally, the idea was thought to be an imitation of Marlon Brando. However, actor /musician Clarence Clemons, who played for Bruce Springsteen and had a role in Scorsese’s 1977 musical “New York, New York”, revealed that De Niro got his inspiration for the scene from The Boss himself.