There are two kinds of actors. There are those who stick to the script for character cues, and those who concoct elaborate unspoken backstories in their own heads -- such that the audience ends up having no goddamn clue they just watched Don Corelone from The Godfather secretly pretend to be a dolphin for 96 minutes. This an article about that second camp.
7 Marlon Brando Pretends He's A Dolphin For 96 Minutes
New Line Cinema
The 1996 version of The Island Of Dr. Moreau was about as batshit crazy a movie as you can make. It's sci-fi horror about the impossibility of a Utopian society, how humans are the true savages, and Val Kilmer having sex with cat people.
New Line Cinema
"So I figured I might as well get paid for doing it, and signed up."
Anyway, the casting and filming were a logistical train wreck speeding toward a pit of nonsense. After some literal witchcraft was employed by the film's director, Marlon Brando agreed to take the titular role, but with some conditions. For an overwhelming majority of the production, Brando would meet with the director, lead writer, and a two-foot-tall extra he'd met on set to discuss changes he'd like to make to the film.
Some of Brando's changes made it in, such as Moreau's bizarre costume and white face paint, and a more prominent role for the two-foot-tall extra. Others did not, such as the huge script revision in which, rather than be murdered by his human-animal hybrids, Moreau would have dramatically revealed that he was secretly half man, half dolphin the whole time. That is in no way a joke.
New Line Cinema
They also wanted to reveal his hat as a half KFC bucket, half Monopoly thimble hybrid.
Brando had a pretty elaborate setup, too. Moreau was to wear a big, floppy old lady hat, which the audience would mistake for another piece of eccentricity, but which would actually be hiding his telltale blowhole. Moreau would eventually whip the hat off, revealing his true dolphin nature, and the movie would've imploded in a much more entertaining fashion than it eventually did.
So if there are any actors out there who want to test how much influence they have in their films, know that "My character is secretly a dolphin" is the brass ring.
6 Dustin Hoffman And Bob Hoskins Decided That Captain Hook And Smee Were Lovers In Hook
While Dustin Hoffman and Bob Hoskins were rehearsing on the set of Hook -- the only live-action Peter Pan movie to date that anyone has given a shit about -- they had an epiphany about the relationship between their characters, Smee and Captain Hook -- two middle-aged guys who live on a boat together and wear frilly clothing. It occurred to them both at the same instant that Smee and Hook were gay lovers, and that they should behave like an old married couple.
They began to play the characters that way, much to the chagrin of director Steven Spielberg, who could only muster a feeble "This is a kids' movie!" in protest. He eventually decided that it was best to let Hoffman do what he wanted, and what Hoffman wanted was a hilarious foot massage from his domestic partner / first mate.
He did not reciprocate.
As Hoffman explained in an interview with Playboy, he and Hoskins continued to play the two villains "like a couple of old queens," which absolutely comes through in their scenes. To this day, they're some of the most memorable parts of the entire film. Imagine if they'd played the villains as straightforwardly evil pirates, instead of as a bickering old couple who want those damn kids to stop harassing them.