While actors, directors, and screenwriters might want to try something new and innovative, studio executives are businesspeople who would prefer everyone do exactly what worked the last time. Maybe this time, throw in a giant spider or two. Hollywood is basically a staring contest between folks who try to break the mold and the guys who built that mold in the first place. So it should come as little surprise that many of the iconic characters you know and love are the result of actors stepping up and refusing to blink. Like ...
5The Producers Feared Johnny Depp's Performance In Pirates Of The Caribbean Would Kill The Movie
Most people don't realize that in the script for Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl, Jack Sparrow was written as a much more conventional action hero. The writers actually modeled him after Burt Lancaster. Depp decided to take his inspiration from a slightly different source: a combination of Keith Richards and Pepe Le Pew. Lancaster was cool and all, but what Sparrow really needed was a drunken stumble and floppy wrists.
And a trip to the dentist.
So when Depp started hip-thrusting his way across the high seas, producers were apoplectic. The head of Disney Studios at the time, Michael Eisner, reportedly exclaimed "Goddammit, Johnny Depp's ruining the film!" After seeing the initial footage, he asked his cohorts "Is [the performance] gay? Or is it drunk?"
Depp has revealed in interviews that he was frequently asked "What the fuck are you doing?" by Disney higher-ups, and that at one point they even discussed putting subtitles under him. An Oscar nomination and the approximate GDP of a large country in box office dollars later, the producers were left wiping the egg off their faces with hundred-dollar bills.
4Nobody Wanted Al Pacino To Star In The Godfather
The Godfather is the movie that put Al Pacino on the map, even if it did pigeonhole him as an organized crime boss for most of his career. Which is why it's so weird that almost everyone on set hated Pacino's performance as Michael Corleone. In fact, the studio heads tried their best to fire him before he could destroy the movie. They thought Pacino was slow, quiet, and boring at the beginning -- which, if you've seen the film, is kind of the whole point. While Pacino understood an obscure literary device called a "character arc," it seemed the producers would have preferred him to burst into the wedding scene waving a Tommy gun and foaming at the mouth like uh ... well, like in Scarface.
""All I have as an actor is my balls and my character, and I don't break them for no one."
Even the film's director, Francis Ford Coppola, was disenchanted with Pacino's meek performance, pulling him aside to tell him, "I had a lot of belief in you, I hired you, I wanted you, I just thought you could do this thing, and now ... you're not cutting it for me, kid." He then forced Pacino to watch the footage to see exactly how bad a job he was doing. Pacino, who thought he was doing fine, humored Coppola and pretended to see the error of his ways. Fortunately, the cast and crew were finally won over after the now-iconic restaurant shooting scene. Pacino stayed in the film, and the movie received a bit of positive attention.
Academy of Achievement
"He was OK ... I guess ..."