14 Actors Who Demanded (And Got) Changes To The ScriptThank you to Robert Downey Jr. for saving The Avengers from a sad, shawarma-less existence.
The original ending of The Avengers had Iron Man waking up after crashing to the ground and asking, “What’s next?” But that didn’t impress Robert Downey Jr.
Marvel / youtube.com
Downey Jr. got Joss Whedon to exchange the moment for “something snappier,” resulting in the line about shawarma (and the subsequent post-credits scene).
Chris Farley was the original voice of Shrek, but after he died in 1997, Mike Myers was hired to replace him. Myers re-recorded all of Shrek’s dialogue in his natural Canadian accent, only to ask to re-record it again in the now-iconic Scottish brogue.
Paramount Pictures / DreamWorks / Tony Gonzalez / Courtesy Everett Collection
Myers later explained, “I always thought that Shrek was raised working class. And since Lord Farquaad was played English, I thought of Scottish.” This change cost DreamWorks around $4–5 million.
When Samuel L. Jackson arrived in Vancouver to film Snakes on a Plane and discovered that New Line Cinema executives had changed the title to Pacific Flight 121, he insisted that it be changed back.
New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection
Jackson argued that audiences should know what they’re getting into, and reminded the folks at New Line that A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th had succeeded in part because of “snappy titles.”
Shakira thought that Gazelle, the pop star she voiced in Zootopia, was too skinny at first. She implored the creators to “give her some meat,” and they agreed, resulting in a curvier Gazelle.
Dee Cercone / Disney / Courtesy Everett Collection
In Gone Girl, Ben Affleck’s character was supposed to wear a baseball cap in an airport to avoid attention, but a spat between the actor and director David Fincher over which team’s hat it would be shut down production for four days.
20th Century Fox / Via youtube.com
Fincher wanted it to be a Yankees cap, but native Bostonian Affleck refused, explaining that he’d “never hear the end of it.” The pair eventually compromised on a Mets hat.
Michelle Rodriguez almost quit The Fast and the Furious over a love triangle between her character, Letty Ortiz, Dominic Toretto, and Brian O’Conner, because she didn’t want to cheat “in front of millions of people,” even fictionally.
Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection
Leonard Nimoy came up with the “Vulcan nerve pinch” while filming a Star Trek scene where he was supposed to knock Captain Kirk unconscious with a phaser.
Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection
Nimoy thought that this gratuitous display of violence was out of character for Spock, and thus the nerve pinch was born.
Anna Kendrick rejected a “fucking problematic” storyline in Pitch Perfect 3 that would’ve seen her character romantically linked to a music executive, Theo, with whom she already had a professional relationship.
Universal Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection
Kendrick also said no to a kiss between the two during the film’s ending.
When Dwayne Johnson read the script for Rampage, he wasn’t happy that his character, George, was supposed to die, so for about two months, he argued for the protagonist’s survival — and won!
Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection
Johnson explained in a later interview, “I don’t like a sad ending. Life brings that shit — I don’t want it in my movies.”
Liam Neeson agreed to star in Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West…so long as he was allowed to use a “very broad Irish accent.”
Lorey Sebastian / Universal / courtesy Everett Collection
About 10 years before, an episode of Family Guy (created by MacFarlane) contained a joke about how absurd it would be for Neeson, “with that funny accent of his,” to star in a Western. Neeson apparently never forgot it, and MacFarlane was game, so the outlaw became Irish.
Prince requested a cameo role on New Girl, but he made it very clear that he wouldn’t appear in the same episode as Khloé Kardashian and Kris Jenner.
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Prince apparently said that the Kardashians, who were supposed to appear as guests at an event he was hosting, would “never be invited to a Prince party.” Their appearances were cut.
Alan Rickman secretly rewrote parts of the “terrible” Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves script with two friends, Ruby Wax and Peter Barnes, meeting up with the latter for editing sessions in a Pizza Express.
Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection
Barnes came up with the sequence when Rickman’s character, the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham, sees two “wenches” and tells the first one, “You. My room, 10:30.” He then tells the second, “You, 10:45.” Wax added another line: “And bring a friend.”
Dacre Montgomery asked the Duffer Brothers, creators of Stranger Things, for two sequences that would humanize his character, Billy.
Netflix / youtube.com
The first was an aggressive fight between Billy and his father in Season 2, and the second was a flashback to Billy’s childhood relationship with his mother in Season 3. Montgomery said, “That was my effort with the Duffers to show that side that no one is just bad.”
And finally, Universal “contractually guaranteed” Tom Cruise almost complete control over The Mummy, and Cruise took it to heart.
Chiabella James / Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
He brought in his own screenwriters to “beef up his part,” and they added a possession storyline to give Cruise a more dramatic character arc. In addition to these changes, Cruise also oversaw the editing and marketing of the film. It ultimately lost $95 million.
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