Subtle Details In Movies That The Actors Came Up With Themselves

Ashley Hunte
A large projector screen at the front of an empty theater.
Unsplash | Geoffrey Moffett

A movie is usually created out of a specific vision from a director or screenwriter. And while the people making the scripts and literally calling the shots tend to be in charge, that doesn't mean the actors can't help, too.

In fact, there are lots of cases where actors made changes to their characters or storylines in a movie (or a show). Here are just some of those cases.

Dwayne Johnson threatened to quit over the ending to 'Rampage.'

The 2018 sci-fi action flick based on a classic video game starred Johnson, whose character teamed up with a giant, genetically enhanced gorilla to stop a wolf and crocodile (also genetically enhanced) from wreaking havoc on the U.S.

But the original ending saw the gorilla die.

And Johnson did not like this. As he says, "For years I’ve built a trust with [audiences] that they’re gonna come to my movies and feel good.

"So every once in a while, you have to drop this card, which is: You’re gonna have to find another actor. We need to figure something out, otherwise I’m not gonna do the movie."

Cate Blanchett did not want her 'Ocean's 8' character named after her.

In the film, Blanchett plays best friend and co-conspirator to Debbie Ocean (played by Sandra Bullock). Blanchett's character is named Lou, but was originally called Cate, after Blanchett herself.

The role was written with Blanchett in mind.

Cate Blanchett and Sandra Bullock in Ocean's 8.
Giphy | Ocean's 8

But she didn't want the character's name to remain Cate. Director Gary Ross said, "We wrote Cate's character Cate and called her Cate in the script. And then Cate fortunately wanted to do it, but kind of gently let us know 'Guys, this isn't really appropriate anymore.'"

Angelina Jolie wanted prosthetics to make her look more like Maleficent.

Jolie's Maleficent sports some very exaggerated cheekbones that give a defining spin on the cartoon's original look. But Jolie and her makeup team really had to fight with Disney to make it happen.

Disney didn't want Jolie's face to be covered in prosthetics.

Angelina Jolie in full costume, makeup, and prosthetics to portray Maleficent.

Arjen Tuiten, the special effects makeup artist who worked on the film, said Jolie insisted and was successfully able to change Disney's mind, and she ended up with prosthetics on her cheeks, nose, ears, as well as fake molars.

James Spader is responsible for Red's iconic hats in 'The Blacklist.'

Let me just say, I don't even watch The Blacklist but I recognize Spader's character as "that guy who wears the hats." And it's because when Spader accepted the job to play Raymond Reddington (AKA Red), he decided he wanted to wear hats.

Showrunner John Eisendrath said Spader insisted, despite the fact that production didn't like the idea.

Eisendrath said, "He was very insistent that his character would wear a hat. And he was totally right. I love the hat now. Now, everybody is like, ‘Oh, my god, the hat is fantastic! It’s so him! He has to wear a hat!'"

Dacre Montgomery wanted 'Stranger Things' character Billy to have a tragic backstory.

Through the course of season 3 of Stranger Things, Billy goes from an irredeemable villain to a tragic character whose sacrifice quite literally saves their town. And it was Billy's actor, Dacre Montgomery, who wanted Billy's backstory to be much sadder.

Montgomery pitched the idea of exploring Billy's history with his mother.

Dacre Montgomery as Billy of Stranger Things.
Giphy | Netflix EspaƱa

"That was something I was insistent of having included, to add to his backstory and to see the pain his mother caused him by leaving... It’s a credit to the Duffers’ collaborative nature that they included it, and that they even let me pitch ideas," he said.

Reese Witherspoon helped write dialog in 'Cruel Intentions.'

At just 22 years old, not only did Witherspoon star in the film as Annette, but she help write the character's dialog, too! Roger Krumble, the film's writer and director, opened up about it during the film's 20th anniversary.

"It’s true, she came and sat with me for a week, and we worked on the dialogue together," he said.

Reese Witherspoon as Annette in Cruel Intentions.

"Annette was the character most removed from me. There’s no way the movie would have its success if it weren’t for [Reese’s] talent as a writer."

Catherine O'Hara is responsible for Moira Rose's strange accent in 'Schitt's Creek.'

I can confidently say that Moira Rose has permanently changed the way I pronounce the word "baby." Which is, in turn, thanks to O'Hara's incredibly specific vision for Moira's accent.

She tried to describe the accent to show creator Eugene Levy (who plays her husband in the show).

Moira Rose on the phone, saying, "D'you know I'm actually good at this?"
Giphy | Schitt's Creek

"I was saying, ‘Eugene, I don’t want to sound like a human,’ basically," O'Hara said. She later came up with a better way to describe the accent: "What you’re getting when you hear her speak are oral mementos of her world travels!"

Olivia Munn didn't want her 'Newsroom' character wearing turtlenecks.

Munn's character, Sloan Sabbith, is a financial advisor in the HBO series. Smart and serious, the character dresses nicely, too. And without wearing more conservative outfits like turtlenecks.

She didn't want her character to lose her femininity.

Olivia Munn as Sloan Sabbith, saying, "I'm gonna own you out there."

"What I really love to do for a role is make the woman unapologetic for who she is," Munn said. "They wanted to put me in a turtleneck, and I said no."

Killmonger's final line in 'Black Panther' was inspired by Chadwick Boseman.

When we see Erik Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan) at the end of Black Panther, he's dying, and refuses the offer to be healed from T'Challa (played by Boseman). He says, "Just bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, 'cause they knew death was better than bondage."

Chadwick Boseman would talk with director Ryan Coogler.

Chadwick Boseman as king T'Challa in Black Panther.

Coogler said that in early drafts of the film, Erik asked to be buried in Wakanda. But Boseman said, "What if Killmonger asked to be buried somewhere else?"

He also influenced other parts of the film, like making Xhosa the official language of Wakanda, and got Coogler to make the Wakandans dance during the coronation sequence.

John Krasinski insisted on having a deaf actress in 'A Quiet Place.'

Director and one of the stars in the movie, Krasinski wanted Millicent Simmonds to play Regan, feeling that having an actress who was actually deaf would only be right.

Her addition to the film actually helped the rest of the cast and crew a lot.

John Krasinski and Millicent Simmonds in A Quiet Place Part II.
Giphy | A Quiet Place Part II

Screenwriter Scott Beck said, “[Millicent] came to set and taught everyone sign language. It was really amazing and brought an extra depth to the film.”