Typically, there are scriptwriters responsible for the story when it comes to big-budget Hollywood movies and television shows. But even though these writers put their blood, sweat, and tears into a script, sometimes there are moments where the actors get into the flow and begin to improvise. Occasionally these improvisations make it into the films, and the audience is never the wiser. Here are a few examples of times actors gave unscripted and authentic performances!
Charles McKeown – Monty Python’s Life of Brian
The comedic stylings of the British group Monty Python have become a worldwide sensation. You might imagine that a lot of their stuff has been prized, and we are sure that it has been. But maybe one of the most famous unscripted moments was one that got left in Monty Python’s Life of Brian.
In the epic scene where the Roman emperor is reading a list of incarcerated wrongdoers with a lisp, the Roman soldier standing at attention desperately tried not to laugh. But couldn’t help himself, and this was left in the movie.
Georgie Henley – Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Working with child actors can be fun but it is also a little tricky because they haven’t developed all the skills necessary to be able to react in a truly honest way. The director of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe knew this.
That’s why he refused to let either of the smaller children see the set of Narnia until they started shooting. So the reactions of both the actress who played Lucy as well as the actor who played Edmund are very truthful.
Alan Rickman – Die Hard
The 1988 film Die Hard became a classic. This was partly due to the fantastic portrayal of the movie’s villain Hans Gruber by the late great Alan Rickman. But what you may not know is that Rickman’s face during the death scene is very real.
Doing his own stunts, the actor was told that they were going to release him on the count of three. But instead, they dropped him on the count of two, and that helped give his character a realistic facial expression.
Entire Cast –Alien
If you’re into horror or science fiction, then one of your top 10 movies is probably the 1979 film by Ridley Scott, Alien. This movie was a blockbuster and came with a lot of really incredible special effects.
One of the most iconic moments is the chest-burster scene. The reactions of the cast here are genuine as the effects used during the scene were kept secret from them until that very moment.
Drew Barrymore – E.T.
Most Hollywood movies are filmed out of sequence. This is so that they can make sure they have all the right lighting and all the actors in those scenes are available. But Steven Spielberg opted to do something a little different in his classic alien film E.T.
He chose to film in the exact order the script was written, and that left the kids of the movie seeing the E.T. puppet for the first time as they filmed the scene. So the reactions are very honest as they were actually scared.
Line-up Actors – The Usual Suspects
The movie The Usual Suspects was a pretty intense film with a great cast of actors. But just because it was serious doesn’t mean that there weren’t some shenanigans going on. In fact, one of those shenanigans actually made it to the final cut.
In the iconic line-up scene, Benicio Del Toro seems to have a little bit of a gas problem. This, of course, made the other actors laugh, and that was left in.
Harrison Ford – The Fugitive
Sometimes when you’re filming, the director will decide to do something completely off-book just to get a realistic feel for whatever was going on at the moment.
This is what happened on the set of the 1993 film The Fugitive with Harrison Ford when it came to the interrogation scene. The director, Andrew Davis, did not give the script to Harrison, which resulted in everything that went on during this scene being improvised.
Will Ferrell – Elf
Maybe one of the hardest things for an actor to show is to be surprised, especially when they have to repeat a scene many times. So, sometimes this calls for the director to get a little creative.
In the film Elf, there’s a scene where Will Ferrell is playing with Jack-in-the-boxes. The director, Jon Favreau, used a remote control and activated them at different times so that it was always surprising.
Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight
Sometimes the improvisation that ends up staying in the movie comes from an actor trying to work his way through a prop malfunction. In the case of the 2008 film The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger relied heavily on his on-the-spot thinking when his prosthetic scars kept falling off.
He started to lick his lips as a solution to keep the scars in place and the director liked the way it looked. Over time, this lip-licking reaction became part of his character.
Julia Stiles – 10 Things I Hate About You
At the end of the ’90s teen comedy 10 Things I Hate About You, the main character reads a very emotional poem. But the scene that ended up in the film was not the scene that was in the script.
After reading the poem aloud, the actress, Julia Stiles, actually began to cry. This was during the first take and because her emotions were truly genuine, the director decided that it worked much better than the intended scene.
Leonardo DiCaprio – Django Unchained
On rare occasions, while on set, accidents can happen, and depending on how severe the injury is, actors can actually carry on shooting despite the pain. Such was the case for Leonardo DiCaprio’s gory scene in Django Unchained.
He was supposed to have blood on his hands but he accidentally cut his hand and continues to act while he was bleeding. In between takes, though, they would clean it and add fake blood.
Steve Carell – The 40-Year-Old Virgin
When you’re thinking of iconic moments in comedy films, the scene where Steve Carell’s character gets waxed in The 40-Year-Old Virgin probably comes to mind. But the reaction you saw on screen was not really acting.
During this scene, the actor actually got his chest waxed by someone, so those screams were all improvised and very real. The person doing the waxing also was not a real beautician, so they had no idea what they were doing.
Dustin Hoffman – Midnight Cowboy
There are some iconic movie lines that, no matter if you’ve seen the movie or not, you probably have them once in your life. One of these comes from the 1969 film Midnight Cowboy.
There is a scene where Dustin Hoffman’s character yells at the taxi cab, “Hey, I’m walkin’ here!”. That line was not actually in the script. It was the actor’s very real response to traffic in New York City.
Isla Fisher – Now You See Me
The character that Isla Fisher plays in Now You See Me has a very interesting magic trick seen in the movie. The trick takes place in a water tank where she is meant to escape from it easily.
In the film, she is supposed to look like she is drowning at one point. However, a prop got caught on the actress’s outfit, and so she actually was drowning and unable to get out of the water for several minutes.
Viggo Mortensen – Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
There is no substitute when it comes to the actual reaction to pain than actually being in pain. Take, for instance, Viggo Mortensen and his broken toe during the filming of The Two Towers.
In one scene, he became frustrated and kicked a helmet on the battlefield. After he did this, he released a horrifying scream, and that was because he had kicked it so hard that he broke his toe.
Cary Elwes – Princess Bride
There are all kinds of tricks of the trade when it comes to stunts in films. But sometimes, no matter how hard you try, stunts don’t look as real as actually completing the task at hand. That is why Cary Elwes got a little bump on the head during the filming of The Princess Bride.
In the scene where Christopher Guest’s character hits Cary in the head with a sword, the actor is actually getting hit in the head. The shot was great, but unfortunately, the actor ended up in the hospital.
Sylvester Stallone – Rocky IV
When you are filming a movie that is focused on any type of combat sport like boxing, you want the fights to look really realistic. Most of the time, this can be done with some clever camera work and stunt doubles.
But when it came to Rocky IV, Sylvester Stallone really wanted the fight with Dolph Lundgren to be real. So he told him to just wail on him for the first 15 seconds. It looked great on film, but it landed Stallone in hospital for more than a week.
Matt Damon – Saving Private Ryan
There were a lot of extra steps taken when it came to the filming of Saving Private Ryan, in order to create a realistic feel to the film. To do this, most of the cast wound up going to a 10-day boot camp, except for one lucky actor.
Matt Damon was denied attending this boot camp so that the rest of the cast would be a little more hostile to him, seeing as how he got out of the harsh treatment they had gone through.
Anne Hathaway – The Princess Diaries
Sometimes when filming, the director catches a spontaneous moment that is too good not to use. Take, for instance, the trip in the bleachers that the main character in The Princess Diaries experiences.
It had rained recently in the area they were shooting the film in and because of this, Anne Hathaway slipped in some water and landed on her bottom on the bleachers. The director loved it and left it in the film.
Entire Cast – Les Misérables
Some directors really like to get their actors in the mood, so they will create certain circumstances to do so. For the movie based on the French Revolution, Les Misérables, the director did just that.
To get into the spirit of the era, the director instructed the cast to quickly build a barricade in 10 minutes out of whatever they could find. This is the actual scene that ended up in the final cut.
Kids – Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
The 1971 version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is an iconic film. Not only were there incredible effects but the set itself was amazing. Could you imagine being a kid and walking into that?
The film’s director actually decided to keep the children away from the set as it was being built so that when they walked in, they would have a jaw-dropping experience. It worked, and the scene made its way into the film.
John C. McGinley – Seven
The psychological thriller Seven was filled with a lot of disturbing imagery and subject matter. We can imagine there were a lot of unintended takes that wound up in the film.
One of those that we do know of is, of course, the reaction of John C. McGinley’s character when the body of sloth begins to move in the film. The actor apparently didn’t know it was a real person in makeup.
Kate Winslet – Titanic
Most of the time, if there are harsh conditions while filming, the actors in the scenes will be warned of this and protected against them. This was the case on the set of the legendary movie Titanic.
The cast was warned that the water that would fill the set was cold… But they just weren’t told how cold. Needless to say, when Kate Winslet was in the water, it was so cold she was shivering, and that added to the realism, so it was left in the film.
Kurt Russell – The Hateful Eight
Some actors like to stay in character and really give it their all, which means occasionally going above and beyond when it comes to the action scenes. That is what happened while filming the movie The Hateful Eight.
Kurt Russell actually smashed the guitar during a particular scene and didn’t realize it was an antique guitar which caused the other actor to react even more than they typically would have. The director liked the take, and so it became the final one.
Michael J. Fox – Back to the Future III
A lot of actors actually enjoy doing their own stunts, and so it’s no surprise that when there came a time for one on the set of Back to the Future III, Michael J. Fox agreed to do a little stunt work. However, it didn’t quite go as planned.
During the scene where his character is strung up, he was unable to get his hands in place, and the rope actually began to choke him. Good thing someone realized this and got him down!
Julia Roberts – Pretty Woman
One of the most beloved romantic comedies ever made may just well be Pretty Woman. There are many iconic scenes in that movie. But one of them actually wasn’t quite scripted. We’re talking about the jewelry box snapping scene.
In this scene, Richard Gere did a little improvisation when he snapped the jewelry box shut as Julia Roberts was reaching for it. Because this wasn’t in the script, the reaction that Julia Roberts had was authentic.
Jenna Fisher – The Office
For T.V. shows that run for a long time, the actors become like family after a while. That means when the show comes to an end, and there have to be goodbyes said, sometimes those emotions reflect exactly what’s happening in real life.
Take, for instance, the scene in The Office where Jenna Fischer is saying goodbye to Steve Carell. The tears were all very real and found their way into the final episode.
Matt Damon and Robin Williams – Good Will Hunting
Comedians tend to be great at improvisation, and sometimes they bring that with them when they begin to diversify their roles and journey into more dramatic ones. One example can be seen in the fart story scene in Good Will Hunting.
Robin Williams improvised the whole story, and so the final scene of Matt Damon’s laughter was actually Damon really laughing, and it just was so authentic that it had to be kept.
Dustin Hoffman and Katherine Ross – The Graduate
If you are into film studies, then you know that one of the classics is the 1967 movie The Graduate. In its iconic final scene, the director got a little creative in order to elicit the most natural expressions from the actors.
He decided to not tell the two actors when he was going to cut and let the camera roll. That had to be a little uncomfortable for a while and the mood changes worked perfectly.
Entire Cast – The Rocky Horror Picture Show
There are a lot of shocking things that went on during the making of the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was definitely a counterculture movie, and one of the scenes was even shocking to the cast.
In the scene where the body is unveiled, nobody knew that there would be a body under the dining table. Except for Tim Curry who had to unveil the cloth. So, the cast was shocked to see what was revealed.
Entire Cast – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Sure, actors can act surprised but their reactions would be a lot more believable if they were actually kept in the dark about a secret. So, for the actors of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, the final scene, and the big reveal were kept on the down-low.
None of the cast knew which character was making the big return or that a character was even making a big return. To do this, the actor went uncredited until the final scene had been filmed.
Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games
Once again, directors will do anything to get a lifelike reaction, especially when it’s supposed to be shocking. For Jennifer Lawrence, who played Katniss in The Hunger Games, the director would have to be a little sneaky when it came to a particular video.
After Peeta was captured, Katniss sees a video of him with sunken features, so in order to get an authentic response from Lawrence, the director made sure that she and the actor hadn’t seen each other in a while.
Jason Segel – How I Met Your Mother
Even comedies have some tragic occurrences, especially when they run for as long as a show like How I Met Your Mother. In one of these traumatic moments, the director of the episode was able to catch Jason Segel’s real reaction to a sad event.
The actor was not told that his character’s father was going to die, and so when the scene was shot, he reacted the way any real son would.
Shelley Duvall – The Shining
Some directors go above and beyond the call of duty to try to make their actors really get into their character. On the set of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, the director took it upon himself to heighten the actor’s insecurities.
To do this, he would yell at Shelly Duvall and berate her, all in his quest to make sure that in every scene she was in, her character looked uncomfortable and indecisive.
Roy Scheider – Jaws
Some of the most iconic quotes from films are adlibs. Take, for instance, the one in Jaws where Roy Schneider simply says, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat!” This line was not actually in the script.
The actor had come up with the sentence after overhearing some conversations of the crew and eventually found a perfect place in the film to utter the words. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Steve Carell – The Office
Sometimes actors really feel a particular scene and add a little flourish or movement that makes the scene even more memorable. So in one episode of the NBC show The Office, Steve Carell found one of those moments.
There was an episode called “Gay Witch Hunt” in which Carell felt the scene called for a bit of a lip lock. The other actor didn’t know this, and so the surprise was very real and made for perfect T.V drama.
Joaquin Phoenix – The Joker
There are many ways to elicit emotions from your actors, and one of those is through music. So when the director of Joker was filming the iconic mirror scene, he thought playing the soundtrack might help Joaquin Phoenix get into his character.
But in the first take, the director noticed that Joaquin had released a tear. And he decided to stop filming there because he felt this was the perfect scene.
Tricky – Fifth Element
In big-budget Hollywood blockbuster action films, there are tons of explosions and gunfire. So you probably assume that all the actors are aware of what’s happening but that’s not always the case.
The actor Tricky who played Zorg’s henchman in the sci-fi adventure The Fifth Element actually had a moment of genuine fear. No one told him how big an explosion was going to be, and so his real reaction was caught on film.
Brad Pitt – Fight Club
“The first rule of Fight Club is you never talk about Fight Club” – this line and so much more about the film Fight Club were very iconic. Surprisingly, several of these scenes were a result of the actor’s real-life reactions.
Maybe the biggest was in the first fight scene with Edward Norton and Brad Pitt, where Norton actually punched Pitt in the ear. The director had told him to make contact anywhere, and so he did. Needless to say, Pitt was a little surprised!
Entire Cast – Boyz N the Hood
Boyz N The Hood was directed by John Singleton, and as the director, he knew that he had to get creative with shocking the actors during the gunfire scenes. To do this, he left some important facts out when he was giving a rundown to the actors before shooting.
What did exactly did he leave out? The fact that real-life gunfire was going to be used in the scene. So, their reaction to this made its way to theater screens across the nation.
Kids – It (2017)
The character Pennywise from the 2017 version of Stephen King’s IT was much scarier than in the original. Wanting to elicit more fear when it came to the facial reactions and emotions of the young actors in the film, the director chose to keep what the wicked clown was going to look like a secret.
This tactic worked really well because when the young actors finally saw the clown, they were scared and shocked.
Jason Miller and Max Von Sydow – The Exorcist
No matter what type of movies you love, when you hear the words ‘pea soup’, most of us often think of the iconic scene from the horror classic The Exorcist. But what a lot of people don’t know is that the actors only thought the soup would hit them in their chests.
Instead of that, though, the director decided to spray the pea soup right into the faces of the actors. Their final reaction was the one we all saw in the film.
Michael Keaton – Birdman
Birdman was an interesting take on being a superhero. You follow this character as he begins to unravel and eventually finds himself in underwear in the middle of Times Square. When you look at this scene, it looks like there are an awful lot of extras around.
But in truth, Michael Keaton, who played the lead role in this film, was in the middle of Times Square with a bunch of real people milling around him. It made for a pretty epic scene and a real improvisational moment.
People on the Street – Rocky
Sometimes when you’re filming a movie, especially if you don’t have as big a budget as you would like, you have to do some things on the fly. That might include having your lead actor run up and down a street with everyday people going about their day.
That’s what happened in the 1976 film Rocky when Stallone ran up and down the Italian marketplace street. In fact, the man that tosses Rocky an orange was completely unscripted and yet still made it into the film.
Entire Cast – The Blair Witch Project
When The Blair Witch Project came out in theaters, there was a lot of fuss about it. Many people thought it was real and well done, while others thought it was way too creepy. But one thing most people didn’t realize was that almost the entire film was improvised.
The actual film only had 35 pages to the script. And so, when the actors were released into the woods, they were told to go with the flow and see what happened.
There is no denying that Disney’s animated movies are some of the most iconic stories ever told on the big screen. It seems like every myth and fable has been transformed into an animated feature full of color, magic, and wonder. But there are tons of little details that you might have missed from these unforgettable movies. From the old classics to the latest Pixar flicks, here are some of the coolest details about Disney animated features that will make you look at them differently.
Ariel Was Modeled After Alyssa Milano!
It’s always a mystery as to how Disney’s creators envision the appearance of their iconic characters. When it comes to the main character of The Little Mermaid, Disney had a pretty random choice of who they wanted to model Ariel on.
That’s right, even though she isn’t a red-head, ’80s child star Alyssa Milano was the talk of the town around the time the movie was being made and the studio wanted to base Ariel on both her looks and her character traits!
Simba Roars Like a Tiger, Not a Lion
It might seem like a strange fact to include on this list but it is fascinating, nonetheless. When using sound effects for the animal sounds in The Lion King, grown Simba’s roar at the end of the movie wasn’t actually that of a lion.
It turns out that Disney used a tiger’s roar instead. Despite what the MGM lion might suggest, a typical lion’s roar is considered to be a bit too quiet.
Lilo and Stitch Are Obsessed With Elvis
Some Disney movies have the most random pop culture references in them and Lilo and Stitch is a good example. While the King was famous for having songs in his movies, the popular animated movie features many of his tunes.
Ironically, Elvis’s movies were rarely well-received by critics, while Lilo and Stitch was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film back in 2002. Not to mention that Stitch dressed up as Elvis in the movie!
Sleeping Beauty Only Had 18 Lines
OK, we probably need to be a little bit more specific. There are more than 18 lines in the classic Disney flick Sleeping Beauty. However, the main character, Aurora, is the one who only had 18 lines in the entire movie.
We knew that she didn’t say that much but that is kind of crazy! Apparently, Aurora has the second-lowest number of lines in any Disney movie. Dumbo is number one. To be fair though, he is a baby elephant.
The Beast Is a Mix of Many Animals
As a kid, you might not have taken into consideration what kind of animal the titular Beast from Beauty and the Beast actually is. At face value, you might assume that he’s some kind of unique feline creature.
However, it turns out that the fierce character’s appearance is an amalgamation of many different animals. This image shows exactly which animal each of the Beast’s physical features is inspired by. To confirm though, he does have a lion’s mane.
The Shining Connection in Toy Story
Some movie callbacks are more random than others and one of the best examples of this can be found in Toy Story, of all movies. During the part of the film when Woody is in Sid’s home, the creepy kid’s hallway carpet is very reminiscent of the carpet in the hotel from the classic movie The Shining.
In fact, production designer Ralph Eggleston loved the Stanley Kubrick flick so much that it was his way of paying homage.
The Jungle Book Vultures Were Based on the Beatles
There are plenty of times throughout Disney’s history that you will look at a character in their movies and think to yourself, “Hmmm, that character sure looks familiar.” That is because Disney has a tendency to base certain characters on real-life people.
Take the vultures from The Jungle Book. It is clear that they are based on The Beatles. In fact, Disney wanted the Liverpool band to actually voice the four birds, but John Lennon refused to star in an animated feature at the time.
Pinocchio’s Nose Only Grew Once!
When you think of Pinocchio, one of the first things that comes to mind is the fact that his nose grows whenever he lies. You might think that he was paying for his white lies throughout the movie.
And yet, his nose only grows once in the entire flick! This is when he lied about meeting “two big monsters with big green eyes” on his way to school. We guess this is to show that he grew as the protagonist of the story.
101 Dalmatians Has So Many Black Spots
Have you ever wondered how many black spots in total can be seen through the film 101 Dalmatians? Consider that the dogs can pretty much be seen from start to finish, it must be a pretty high number.
It turns out that a staggering 6,469,952 black spots can be seen in the entire movie. We are not sure who exactly counted every spot from frame to frame. But the fact that Perdita has 68 spots, Pongo has 72 spots and the puppies each have 32 probably helps.
Tarzan Has a Cute Mulan Reference
Here is a neat little example of one Disney movie subtly referencing another. There is no denying that only the most attentive of viewers would notice this little easter egg in the movie Tarzan.
During this scene, where the professor gets a little close to the gorillas, a stuffed toy falls out of his bag and can be seen from above. It’s actually supposed to look exactly like Little Brother, the dog from Mulan.
Eeyore & Optimus Prime Are the “Same”
It’s amazing how diverse voice actors can be when it comes to what characters they portray and Disney is full of classic examples. One of the most unique contrasts between characters has to be from the amazing voice actor Peter Cullen.
The seasoned star lent his voice to the iconic character of Eeyore the donkey in the Winnie the Pooh animated series. However, he was also Optimus Prime in the Transformers film franchise.
Rapunzel Is the Only Princess With Green Eyes
When you think of all of the princesses that the world of Disney has to offer, they all seem to have qualities that make them unique from each other. While Rapunzel certainly can separate herself from the rest of the pack for various reasons, there is one feature that is unique to her and no one else.
The rest of the Disney princesses tend to have either brown or blue eyes, while the Tangled heroine is the only one who has green ones!
Tiana Is the Only Disney Princess With a Real Job
The fact that Tiana from The Princess and the Frog was the first African-American princess in Disney history is interesting enough as it stands. However, there are plenty of other fascinating little tidbits surrounding this movie.
If you think of most of Disney’s heroines, you will notice that they are usually either princesses or unemployed nobodies. Tiana is pretty much the only one who had a real job – a waitress aspiring to be a chef.
Tom Cruise Inspired Aladdin?
You might look at certain Disney characters and think to yourself, “wow, that character sure does look familiar. Where have I seen them before?” The reason for this is that Disney will often model their characters on famous people that they believe have star power.
Take Aladdin, for example. The fact that he is a short daredevil who loves to do his own stunts around the city of Agrabah is because the character was modeled after Tom Cruise.
Remy “Foreshadows” Dug the Dog From Up
It’s not just past movies that Disney movies will refer to. There have also been cases where their recent flicks will have easter eggs hinting at what’s to come in the future. A great example came in Ratatouille.
In a scene where Remy the rat is sneaking around, he ends up getting freaked out by a shadow that looks a lot like Dug the dog from Up, which had not even been released at that point.
Pocahontas Is the Only Heroine Who’s Based on Historical Events
Believe it or not, but Pocahontas is practically the only Disney heroine who was actually based on a real historical figure. The real Pocahontas was a Native American woman from the Powhatan people, who was captured by Colonists in 1613.
She was forced to convert to Christianity and got married and had a child in the subsequent years. Some dispute though that Mulan was also a real person. However, others would argue that she was merely a character in an old Chinese poem.
Frozen’s Hans Can Be Seen in Big Hero 6
There are plenty of easter eggs to be found throughout the Disney movies, especially in the more recent ones. The Mouse’s flicks tend to be a lot more self-referential these days, often using callbacks to previous movies or dropping little nuggets to hint that all of these films are based in the same universe.
Take Big Hero 6, for example. In a brief scene, a “wanted” image showing Hans from Frozen can be seen in the background.
WALL-E Was Named After Walt Disney
Not that many Disney movies explicitly call back to the guy who started it all – Walt Disney. Then there is WALL-E. This adorable little robot is the protagonist of the movie of the same name.
And seeing that Disney’s full name was Walter Elias Disney, it is pretty clear where the inspiration for the name “WALL-E” came from. It’s a neat little reference but something that most people probably overlooked when watching the movie for the first time.
Maui Is Based on The Rock’s Grandfather
It seems like Dwayne Johnson had an even greater creative input on his role in Moana than people originally thought. The blockbuster actor managed to get the producers to base his character Maui’s looks on that of his late grandfather.
Peter Maivia was a talented Samoan wrestler. Along with Dwayne’s father, Rocky Johnson, Maivia helped The Rock become a WWE superstar, which ultimately paved the way for his acting career.
Mickey Mouse’s Head Is Seen a Lot in the Emperor’s New Groove
It makes sense that the character who started it all for Disney, Mickey Mouse, would get some worthy mentions in future movies – whether it be a cameo here and there or a subtle reference.
In The Emperor’s New Groove though, the shape of Mickey’s head is visible in various situations. It can be found in the food on Kuzco’s plates, on Yzma’s earrings and even in some bushes.
The Apple Car in Cars
Naturally, the Disney/Pixar movie Cars is full of well, you guessed it, cars! A wide variety of awesome racecars of different shapes and colors are shown throughout the movie, and they all have wild personalities.
But blink and you’ll miss a white racing car, which features the iconic Apple logo, as well as the number “84” (the year that Apple’s first computer was released). At the time, Steve Jobs was the largest shareholder of Disney – so it makes sense.
There Are 11 Sassy Disney Horse Sidekicks
If you have watched enough Disney movies, you will probably see some recurring patterns over the course of time. These include characters that seem similar, like all of the Disney princesses.
But it seems like there is a specific kind of species that appears in many of the films too – and they all seem to behave in a similar way. Many of the heroes/heroines have horse sidekicks that act pretty sassy. These 11 horses are Maximus, Pegasus, Angus, Phillipe, Samson, Major, Sitron, Bullseye, Khan, Achilles and Buck.
Ariel and Belle Are in Enchanted?
Enchanted might not be a full-on animated movie in the strictest sense of the word. However, it does have an interesting connection to animated classics of yesteryear. Specifically, it features two of Disney’s most iconic princesses – well, the actresses who played them.
Jodi Benson, who was the voice for Ariel from The Little Mermaid, and Paige O’Hara, who voiced Belle in Beauty in the Beast, both have cameos in the 2007 movie, playing a secretary and a soap opera character respectively.
Hercules Wears Scar’s Pelt
It is well established by now that Disney movies are generally quite self-referential, meaning that they will often give cheeky nods to other Disney films. Though some of those callbacks are more blatant than others.
Take Hercules, for example, which sees the titular character wearing the pelt of Scar, the villain from The Lion King. It is implied that Scar was the victim of trophy hunting. Surely not even he deserves that kind of treatment, right?
The Dirty Reference in the Rescuers
There have been a handful of instances where Disney films have provided cheeky jokes or easter eggs that are, let’s put it this way, more adult-oriented. One of the most explicit details that many overlooked came in the film The Rescuers.
Blink and you’ll miss what appears to be a topless woman standing by a window which Miss Bianca and Bernard fly past. Amazingly, Disney decided to take back 3.4 million videos after receiving numerous complaints from shocked families.
The Luxo Ball Appears a Lot
While most of these interesting facts are dedicated to a specific Disney animated feature, this one applies to quite a few of them, especially Pixar movies. Fans are bound to remember the classic “Luxo Ball,” you know, that yellow ball that Buzz Lightyear bounced from.
However, that very same ball has made numerous other appearances in a variety of other Pixar features. These include the links of Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and Cars, to name a few.
Walt Disney’s Favorite Animation Is in Cinderella
It’s always fascinating to hear what Walt Disney thought about the movies he oversaw during his lifetime. In an interview, the man who started it all claimed that his favorite animation out of all of his movies was the dress transformation in Cinderella – and we can understand why.
Since his passing though in 1966, Disney has released an incredible number of movies and the animation has only gone from strength to strength. Walt would be very proud.
False Teeth Helped Created the Witch’s Voice in Snow White
Disney has always been creative when it comes to creating sound effects for its movies. And sometimes, the actors in those movies bring their own creativity to the table, revolutionizing the way we think of that character.
In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, actress Lucille La Verne had an amazing idea for her role as the Queen/Witch. She removed her false teeth before reading her lines, which helped pave the way for that iconic, evil voice.
Dumbo Is the Shortest Disney Movie
Truth be told, most of Disney’s animated features are not that long. After all, can you really expect your kid to sit through a three-hour-long movie? And yet, Dumbo takes things to another level.
Clocking in at just over an hour, Dumbo has a 64-minute runtime, which is crazy. Walt Disney was advised by executives to make the movie longer, but he responded by saying, “You can stretch a story just so far and after that, it won’t hold together.”
Merida’s Hair Is Very Long
It might not be the most iconic Disney movie of all time, but Brave is just as good as the rest of the bunch for its great characters and dazzling visual storytelling. At the center of the movie is the young heroine Merida, who is blessed with wild, curly, red hair.
Apparently, though, her hair would be even longer if she straightened it. According to experts, Merida’s hair, if straightened, would be at least four feet long.
The Spaghetti Scene Almost Didn’t Happen
It’s hard to imagine The Lady and the Tramp without the famous spaghetti-eating scene. The film, which tells the story of two very different dogs falling in love, remains a fan favorite.
The film’s most adorable, and often parodied scene, involves the dogs sharing a bowl of pasta. Apparently, Walt Disney didn’t approve of this canine carb-laden meal and cut it from the film’s storyboards. He assumed that the scene would be too messy-looking. Thankfully, the film’s directing animator, Frank Thomas, reworked the scene into the now-iconic cinematic moment.
Jackie Chan’s Surprising Disney Roles
Most Americans know Jackie Chan for his stunt work in various action films, but the actor also has a musical side which he has shown off in various Disney films.
Chan is actually an operatically trained vocalist and has produced more than 20 albums in Cantonese, Mandarin, and Taiwanese. Not only did he play Captain Li Shang in the Chinese version of the 1998 film Mulan, but he also recorded a version of the film’s song, “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” in Cantonese and Mandarin.
A Hyena Researcher Sued Disney
Animated films aren’t always the best place to learn about animals. In fact, these cartoon portrayals can sometimes have negative consequences for some species like the spotted hyena.
In the 1994 animated film The Lion King, the film features three spotted hyenas as evil henchmen for the film’s villain, Scar. One hyena biologist was so offended by this inaccurate portrayal that they sued the movie studio for defamation of character. In reality, hyenas are highly intelligent and adaptive apex predators.
Pumbaa’s Gas Passing Makes Animation History
Though passing gas is a normal bodily function, it was never captured on screen until Disney’s 1994 film, The Lion King. Pumbaa, a warthog, suffers from occasional bouts of flatulence much to the dismay of the animals around him.
Pumbaa’s gassiness was not only an endearing and funny character trait, but it was the first time a character passed gas in a Disney film. Perhaps the problem wasn’t Pumbaa’s smell, but the fact that he was hanging around animals with extremely sensitive olfactory glands (a meerkat and a lion).
Gaston’s Final Scene Was Way Darker
Between his dismissal of Belle’s love for books, to his general cocky attitude, it’s no surprise that Gaston is one of Disney’s least-liked characters. In the original climactic battle scene, Gaston screams “Time to die!” as he fatally stabs the Beast.
The scene was later turned into, “Belle is mine!” in the final version of the film. Some believe that the original line was too dark and violent, while others believe that the final version fits better into the storyline of the two characters fighting for Belle’s affection.
Pocahontas’ Sidekick Was Almost a Turkey
It’s no surprise that animators would consider putting a turkey in the 1995 animated film Pocahontas. Turkeys are commonly found in the Virginia area where the movie is supposed to have taken place. Initially, a turkey named Redfeather was the sidekick of the Native American princess.
Unfortunately, after the actor voicing Redfeather passed away, a decision was made to replace the feathered friend with another common North American animal – a raccoon named Meeko. Meeko proved to be a great fit due to his dexterity and hilarious interactions with Governor Ratcliffe’s pug.
The Spice Girls Were Almost the Muses
From the beginning of the 1997 animated Disney film Hercules, the five muses help set the stage for the film’s events. These five women, based on the various goddesses of Greek mythology, provide much of the film’s music.
The film’s composer, Alan Menken, originally wanted the Spice Girls to perform as the muses for one of the movie’s most popular songs, “I Won’t Say”. The British girl group apparently declined to lend their voices due to scheduling conflicts. Ultimately, the film’s composers ended up using more gospel-influenced music rather than pop music.
Ursula Was Originally Ariel’s Aunt
One of Disney’s most popular villains is the sea witch Ursula in the 1989 animated film, The Little Mermaid. In the film, Ursula offers Ariel a way to turn into a human in order to fall in love with Prince Eric.
Ursula was initially supposed to be King Triton’s sister, making her Ariel’s aunt. While the idea of her being a fallen member of the mermaid royal family was eventually scrapped, the film references their relationship when Ursula explains how she used to live in Triton’s palace but was banished.
Tinker Bell’s Real-Life Inspiration
When the fairy character of Tinker Bell first graced movie screens in the 1953 animated version of Peter Pan, audience members were delighted by her adorable antics and appearance. It turns out that behind the pixie dust was a real woman – actress Margaret Kerry.
Animators studied Kerry in order to capture her movements for the film’s action scenes. Kerry even reenacted several of the film’s scenes using large props, such as getting stuck in a keyhole or posing near a pair of scissors.
First Pregnant Woman in a Disney Film
Though she plays only a supporting role in the 2000 animated film, The Emperor’s New Groove, Chicha made Disney history as the first pregnant character to appear in one of the studio’s films.
Disney films are notorious for their often negative or sad portrayals of mothers. In many animated films, the character of the mother is usually killed off in the beginning or turned into a villain. Chicha’s continuous appearance in the film marked a noticeable change in how Disney portrays women.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame’s French Connection
Although many animated films often take place in far-flung destinations, they are usually created in a single location. In creating the 1996 animated film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Disney wanted to make sure they were portraying the city of Paris as realistically as possible.
Disney outsourced about 20% of the film’s creation to a French-based animation studio. Filmmakers also flew to the French city in order to accurately capture the city’s architecture and history, they were even led through a private tour of the famous Notre-Dame cathedral.
The Six Planets in Hercules
In the Greek mythology-themed film Hercules, The Fates are able to look into the past, present, and future. In one scene, they describe an event in which the planets will align, allowing a prophecy to unfold.
Viewers will notice, however, that only six planets are shown in the animated scene. The reason behind this is that historically, the ancient Greeks would have only been able to see six, not eight planets in the night sky. Those six would have been Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, and Earth.
The Lion King Scene That Took Years to Make
When people think about the animated film The Lion King, one scene typically comes to mind – the stampede scene. In this emotional scene, a young Simba comes across his now trampled father. While the scene was about two-and-a-half minutes long, it actually took close to three years to animate.
Animators used a combination of traditional hand-drawn animation and computer effects to create the scene. They also studied the herd behavior of actual wildebeests and traveled across the actual African savannah to realistically capture the look of that landscape.
Disney Created an Entirely New Language
In Disney’s 2001 film Atlantis: The Lost Empire, filmmakers did not just want to explore the myth of an ancient underwater city, they wanted to create an entirely new language for the residents of Atlantis to speak.
Known as Atlantean, the language was created by American linguist Marc Okrand, known for his work in developing the Klingon language of the Star Trek series. Okrand created about 1,000 words that were used throughout the film.
The Pop Star Behind Dr. Facilier’s Look
One of the newest villains to join the Disney family is the character of Dr. Facilier from the film The Princess and the Frog. In the film, Dr. Facilier plays a witch doctor from New Orleans who dabbles in voodoo and other dark arts.
The inspiration for the villain actually came from the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Animator Bruce W. Smith incorporated many of the pop star’s moves and mannerisms into the character. Smith used Jackson’s thin figure and costumes as inspiration for the smooth-talking villain.
Mini Maui Tattoo
In the film Moana, the daughter of a Polynesian village chief comes across a demigod named Maui. In addition to carrying a magical fish hook that allows him to change form, Maui is covered in tattoos describing his supernatural achievements.
One of his tattoos is of himself and serves as an animated form of his conscience. Animator Mark Henn designed the tattoo to not only serve as Maui’s friend but also the voice of reason and good when Maui is in a difficult situation.
The Secret Behind Tarzan’s Tree “Surfing”
Having grown up in the jungle, it’s no surprise that Tarzan would feel more comfortable climbing trees and swinging on vines than walking on the ground.
When Tarzan’s animator, Glen Keane, was creating one of the animated film’s more memorable scenes, he looked to professional skateboarder Tony Hawk to perfect his tree “surfing” scene. Keane also looked at his own son’s surfing and extreme sports skills in order to create the scene.
Lilo & Stitch’s Creepy Movie Connection
Lilo & Stitch is a story about an alien that becomes part of a young Hawaiian girl’s family. It’s hard to imagine that the same actress who voiced the sassy Lilo Pelekai could also be the voice behind Samara in the horror movie, The Ring.
Despite being extremely different, both characters were voiced by young actress Daveigh Chase. For most fans of the Disney animated film, it may come as a surprise to know that Chase played both adorable and nightmare-inducing characters.
Casting Hades Was a Greek Drama
It can be difficult to imagine anyone other than James Woods as the voice for Hades, lord of the underworld in Disney’s 1997 animated film, Hercules. Yet before Woods was cast, filmmakers had their eye on another leading man – Jack Nicholson.
Unfortunately for the studio, Nicholson’s salary expectations were far higher than they were prepared to offer, and the actor decided to pass. Animators were able to incorporate Woods’ trademark sneer and fast pace of speaking into the new and final character on screen.
Tim Burton Was the Real Nightmare on Set
Most fans of The Nightmare Before Christmas remember the film’s ending in which the threads holding Oogie Boogie together are unraveled, resulting in his demise. Director Henry Selick originally wanted a different ending in which Oogie Boogie was revealed as Sally’s (the protagonist’s love interest) father – much to the dismay of Tim Burton.
The two clashed, and Burton even kicked a hole in the wall out of anger. To be fair, Burton had been planning the film for years before production and was quite passionate about the original storyline.
The Inspiration Behind Maleficent
One of Disney’s most memorable villains is Maleficent. While the “Mistress of All Evil” is based on various classic fairytale characters, her onscreen appearance was distinctly unique compared to previous interpretations of evil female characters.
Since the 1959 release of the animated film, Sleeping Beauty, rumors circulated that the evil fairy was heavily influenced by an actress named Maila Nurmi. Nurmi was known for her tight-fitting gowns and glamorous gothic persona Vampira. In 2014, diary entries written by Nurmi confirmed that she indeed was a model for the animated villain.
Changing Voices in The Sword in the Stone
Going through the physical changes of puberty is never enjoyable, especially for young actors. When teenage actor Rickie Sorensen was cast in the animated retelling of the story of King Arthur, Disney’s Sword in the Stone, he soon realized his voice was changing.
Luckily, the director of the film Wolfgang Reitherman had two sons that were a similar age to Sorensen. The director’s improvisation was able to ensure that the film’s production continued, with one small detail – the character’s voice was noticeably different in various scenes and parts of the film.
The CEO Who Inspired Ratigan
Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective was an animated take on the classic tale of Sherlock Holmes, featuring mice and rats in Victorian-era London. While creating the characters, animators looked to old photographs and paintings of Londoners in the 1800s.
When it came to creating the film’s villain, Ratigan, they looked to former Disney CEO, Ron Miller. Like Ratigan, Miller had a large and formidable frame, Miller stood at 6’6″ and was a former professional football player. Considering how evil this villain was, we hope that’s where the similarities ended.
Beyoncé’s Ego Cost Her a Role
Being an international pop icon can result in stars feeling like auditioning for a role is unnecessary. When production began for Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, the pop star simply assumed that the role of the main character would just be given to her.
Turns out that ‘Queen Bey’ was wrong. She, and other well-known stars like Alicia Keys, still had to audition for the role of Tiana. Thankfully, Beyoncé’s Dreamgirls co-star Anika Noni Rose did audition – resulting in her landing the much-coveted role.
An Unconvincing “Tarzan Yell”
Actors starring in a film version of Tarzan should expect that at some point, they will be asked to record a “Tarzan Yell”. This distinctive and loud yell is actually a registered trademark by the company that manages the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs, author and creator of the Tarzan character.
Unfortunately for Tarzan actor Tony Goldwyn, he was simply unable to create a convincing enough jungle call. Filmmakers ended up using the voice of Brian Blessed, who played the film’s villain, for the film’s signature sound.
The London Location That Made History
Many Disney fans love the 1961 animated film One Hundred and One Dalmatians for its heartwarming story and adorable canine characters. The film made Disney history as the first animated film to take place in a specific, and contemporary, setting.
Before One Hundred and One Dalmatians, most Disney films were set in general geographical regions or were fairy tales that took place in fictional settings. The film’s London location was a unique change that would set the stage for future story-specific settings.
The Real Lizard Behind Tangled’s Pascal
Though his character never speaks, Pascal is one of the most loved characters in the animated Disney film Tangled. In the film, Pascal is Rapunzel’s best friend. Fans of the film loved the sassy chameleon and his adorably expressive eyes.
Filmmakers knew early on that they wanted the princess to have a less-traditional animal sidekick and chose a lizard. Coincidently, one of the film’s animators had a pet chameleon named Pascal. The real Pascal actually became a father during filming, and his offspring are listed in the film’s ending credits!
Tramp Was Actually a Girl
While Lady and the Tramp has many memorable characters and scenes, few people know that Tramp was inspired by a real dog.
The character of Tramp was inspired by a real stray dog found by one of the film’s story artists. After a long chase, artist Erdman Penner found the charismatic stray at the local pound where she was about to be put to sleep. Luckily, Penner intervened and adopted her. The dog ended up being one of the main live models for the film’s animators.
Lilo & Stitch’s Surprise Original Setting
When storyboard artist Chris Sanders first developed the idea of Stitch, he envisioned the storyline taking place in a remote location. He initially considered Kansas before deciding on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i.
Not only did the lush island landscape influence the animation process and color palette, but Sanders also learned about the Hawaiian cultural concept of ohana – a belief that family can extend past actual relatives and include friends as well. As most fans of the film know, ohana becomes a central plot point and theme throughout the movie.
The Jungle Book Was Far Darker
Most people associate the 1967 animated film, The Jungle Book, with humorous characters and memorable songs like “The Bare Necessities”. The actual story that inspired the film was far darker than what was shown in the Disney version.
The film is based on the Rudyard Kipling book of the same name. Kipling’s collection of stories often touched on heavier themes such as abandonment, law, freedom, and death. The film’s original story artist, Bill Peet, wanted to stick to the original book’s darker themes but was prevented by Walt Disney himself.
The Avengers Director Created Toy Story’s Rex
There was a time when filmmaker Joss Whedon wasn’t directing superhero blockbusters such as The Avengers and DC’s Justice League. The man responsible for Buffy the Vampire Slayer was at one point one of the creative figures behind Pixar’s very first big hit, Toy Story.
In fact, Whedon had direct input in creating one of the most memorable characters of the movie. Rex the nervous dinosaur was created by the same person who directed Age of Ultron!
Finding Nemo Pays Homage to Jaws
The idea of a vegetarian shark is pretty funny, to say the very least. And yet, there is one in the classic Disney movie Finding Nemo. His name is Bruce and he is very friendly, despite looking absolutely terrifying. But there is a good reason why he is called Bruce.
It turns out that he was named after the animatronic shark that was used to film the classic shark movie Jaws. Of course, that shark was not vegetarian.
Mike Wazowski Is Billy Crystal’s Favorite Role
Billy Crystal has undoubtedly starred in some unforgettable movies, including When Harry Met Sally. But the seasoned actor’s favorite role came in Disney’s Monsters, Inc., where he played one of the main characters Mike Wazowski.
It turns out that Crystal related a lot to the green, one-eyed monster. He could totally understand this “little guy in a big man’s world.” Moreover, he recited his lines in the same room as co-star John Goodman, which made it feel so much more real.
Is Disney Ageist?
A study conducted by Brigham Young University revealed that a staggering 22% of Disney villains are either 55 years old or older. Moreover, about 42% of Disney’s older characters are generally portrayed pretty negatively.
As a result, many children’s views on the elderly have been distorted by the stereotypes reinforced by these movies. However, that is not to say that all of Disney’s older characters are bad people. Take Up, for example. The hero of that film is an elderly man!
Mickey and Minnie Mouse Were Married in Real Life
They say that life imitates art and that is exactly what happened as far as Mickey and Minnie Mouse were concerned. For a staggering 32 years, voice actors Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor lent their voices to the iconic Disney characters.
Do you know what’s even cooler though? The two stars ended up bonding so much from the roles that they fell in love, tied the knot, and were happily married for almost two decades.