Another Top 10 Disney Scenes You Didn't Know Were Improvised
VOICE OVER: Emily - WatchMojo
WRITTEN BY: Spencer Sher
It's time to look over more Disney scenes you didn't know were improvised. For this list, we're looking at both live-action and animated scenes where the actor, or actors, ad-libbed a line, lines or entire scenes. Our countdown includes Aladdin, Avengers: Infinity War, Frozen 2, and more!
You asked for it, and we did it! Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for Another Top 10 Disney Scenes You Didn't Know Were Improvised.
For this list, we’re looking at both live-action and animated scenes where the actor, or actors, ad-libbed a line, lines or entire scenes. We will be allowing Star Wars and Marvel properties this time around, even if they weren't part of Disney when they were originally made.
#10: New Haircut
“Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi” (2017)
Few scenes in “The Last Jedi” were as fraught with tension as the meeting between Luke and Leia. The two siblings hadn’t seen each other in years, and their reunion occured in the 11th hour of one of the most dramatic intergalactic events in the history of the universe. So, when Leia says, “"I know what you’re going to say, I’ve changed my hair", it immediately broke the tension. However, it turns out that the brilliant line was cooked up by Carrie Fisher herself! The line actually has a few layers to it, as it’s both a callback to what Han Solo said to Leia during their meeting in “The Force Awakens”, and a nod at Leia’s ever-changing hairstyle throughout the franchise.
#9: Silver, Jim & Morph
“Treasure Planet” (2002)
Easily one of the cutest characters in the Disney canon, Morph was a bottomless pit of comic relief throughout the events of “Treasure Planet”. One scene that stands out involves Silver and Jim, voiced by Brian Murray and a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt respectively, attempting to convince the little pink transfiguration machine to come along with them. Well, as it turns out, the entire scene was improvised by Murray and Gordon-Levitt. It’s moments like this that speak to the ad-libbing talent of voice actors, who’ve been called upon many a time to spice up or even entirely make over a scene on the spot.
#8: Meeting the Royal Family
Few scenes in the 2019 “Aladdin” remake were as hilarious - or cringeworthy – as this one. Aladdin’s second meeting with Jasmine doesn’t go quite as smoothly as his initial one, despite now being a full-fledged prince. After a parade of suitors attempt to win over the princess with lavish gifts and well-prepared speeches, Aladdin fumbles through an awkward tirade in which he offers her numerous jams and implies that she is for sale. While much of “Aladdin” was scripted, this entire scene was ad-libbed by Mena Massoud and Will Smith. Massoud later quipped that “getting to improv with Will Smith” was a “dream come true” and that the scene in question was his favorite of the entire film.
#7: Jane's Description of Meeting Tarzan
Ever wondered what the cost of improvising a scene in an animated film was? Well, we don’t have exact dollar figures for you, but we can say that this particular scene took “Tarzan’s” animators a whopping seven weeks to bring to life! The scene in question involved Jane describing her first meeting with Tarzan to her father. In it, she draws a portrait of the vine-swinging ape man and even hops on all fours to demonstrate how he walks. Jane is soon joined in this position by her father, with the two of them hopping around the camp like little monkeys. It’s quite obvious why this proved a difficult scene for the animators to whip up!
#6: Deciding What to Bring
While Robin Williams and his godly improvisational talents undoubtedly stole the show in 1992’s “Aladdin”, Gilbert Gottfried’s Iago was a close second. The neurotic, abrasive and often manic parrot proved to be one of the film’s best sources of comedy. In 2016, Gottfried admitted that he was given plenty of freedom in the ad-libbing department and many of his best quips made it into the final product. For our money, one of his best ad-libs occurs when Iago is deciding what items to bring with him on his journey, leading to him debating whether or not to bring a framed photo of himself and Jafar ...
#5: “I Don’t Wanna Go”
“Avengers: Infinity War” (2018)
One of the MCU’s darkest moments, Peter Parker’s death at the end of “Avengers: Infinity War” was truly heartbreaking. It takes an A-list actor to sell a scene like that and Tom Holland didn’t disappoint. However, Holland wasn’t reciting lines, he was making them up. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo provided their young star with just one piece of direction: “Listen, you're a kid and you don't want to go." Holland’s interpretation of this line speaks to his abilities as an actor, as he was able to come up with something truly moving. This wasn’t the first time Holland and Robert Downey Jr. shared an ad-lib, as the hilarious “That’s not a hug, I’m just grabbing the door for you” scene in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” was also improvised.
“Frozen 2” (2019)
Buckle up, because we have a trio of awesome “Frozen” ad-libs to show you! The first and arguably the funniest of these moments occurs in “Frozen 2”, when Olaf is searching for Anna Elsa and Sven. He starts calling out their names, before inexplicably calling out for “Samantha” as well. This line and the one immediately following it were made up by Olaf voice actor Josh Gad. This wasn’t the first time Gad allowed his creative juices to flow, as he also came up with the “I’ve been impaled” scene from the first film. Finally, we got to give a shout-out to Kristen Bell, who improvised her character’s catchphrase: [“Wait, what?”
#3: Buzz’s Breakdown
“Toy Story” (1995)
In the original “Toy Story”, much is made about Buzz Lightyear’s ability to fly. However, at the midpoint of the film, Buzz finally realizes that perhaps he was just “falling with style” after all. This doesn’t go over well for the space ranger, who suffers a full-on mental breakdown in Hannah’s bedroom. Woody finds him sipping tea with a couple of headless dolls, while dressed in a flowery hat and pink apron. While he’s eventually able to get Buzz on the move, the latter isn’t quite ready to move on and launches into a truly depressing tirade. This was entirely made up by voice actor Tim Allen and was quite effective in making the audience feel Buzz’s pain in a way that was still totally hilarious.
#2: “I Know”
“Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” (1980)
Leave it to Harrison Ford to come up with one of the most iconic lines in not just “Star Wars” history, but cinematic history as well. The scene was originally supposed to play out like this: 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.” Is it the best line in cinematic history? No. But it ain’t half bad either. Ford had some reservations about the scene and suggested to director Irvin Kershner that his character simply say “I know” after Leia says, “I love you”. It was a bold move but one that definitely paid off.
Before we unveil our number one pick, here are some honorable mentions:
Poe Dameron Meets Kylo Ren
“Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens” (2015)
“Why Is Gamora?”
“Avengers: Infinity War” (2018)
“The Avengers” (2012)
All of It
“Thor: Ragnarok” (2017)
#1: “I Am Iron Man”
“Iron Man” (2008)
The line that kicked off the most successful movie franchise in history almost never happened.
Producer Kevin Feige had originally planned to have Tony Stark retain his secret identity at the end of the film, staying true to the characters comic book origins. However, when Robert Downey Jr. ad-libbed the now famous line, Feige loved it. He later remarked that the line’s success, “inspired us to go further in the trusting ourselves to find balance of staying true to the comics and the spirit of the comics but not being afraid to adapt and evolve.” The line would later be used in the climax of “Avengers: Endgame”, bringing things full circle for Stark, RDJ and the franchise as a whole.