An actor's job is more than just memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a camera. A good actor knows how to bring their characters to life, which includes making key decisions about the way they'll look, speak, and move.
However, the director almost always has final say. For a lot of actors, bringing a character to life onscreen is a collaboration with the director, but sometimes they have to fight for the changes they think are best.
Here are 16 actors who fought for major changes to their characters and won:
1.Initially, Mike Myers recorded his dialogue for Shrek using a slightly more pronounced version of his natural Canadian accent, but after watching the rough cut, he decided to record his lines using a Scottish accent to contrast with Lord Farquaad's English accent.
2.As soon as she was cast in the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast, Emma Watson was determined to make Belle an "active heroine," which including forgoing corsets so that she could move around and ride horses easily.
3.In the original arc written for Michelle Rodriguez's character Letty Ortiz in The Fast and the Furious, she cheated on Dominic Toretto, but Michelle refused and threatened to quit unless it was changed — and costar Vin Diesel had her back.
4.Jason Isaacs was "slightly horrified" when the Harry Potter wardrobe designers gave him a pin-striped suit and short black-and-white wig to wear, declaring that Lucius Malfoy "was a racist [and] eugenicist" and there was "no way he would cut his hair like a Muggle or dress like a Muggle." Instead, he suggested that he wear a long, white wig and a flashy wizard outfit.
5.Samuel L. Jackson asked director George Lucas to let Mace Windu have a purple lightsaber to help him stand out from the large crowd during the final battle in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones.
6.At first, Crispin Glover turned down the role of Thin Man in Charlie's Angels because he thought the dialogue was terrible, but he took on the project after director McG agreed to let him play the character silently.
7.When Meryl Streep was offered an audition for Kramer vs. Kramer — which was based on a novel Avery Corman wrote to counteract what he perceived as "toxic rhetoric" coming out of the feminist movement — she insisted that they needed to rewrite the lead character, Joanna Kramer, to be a better reflection of the struggles of a modern American woman going through a divorce, instead of “an ogre, a princess, [and] an ass," if they wanted her for the role.
8.In Jurassic World, Claire refused to give up her heels because Bryce Dallas Howard refused to give them up during filming in order to counteract "this idea with [her] parents’ generation that in order to find equality, a woman would need to behave like a man."
9.After telling his friends that the screenplay for Robin Hood: The Prince of Thieves was terrible, Alan Rickman added more dimension to his Sheriff of Nottingham by adding his own lines and playing them to the campy, comedic extreme.
10.During production of The Mummy, Tom Cruise brought on two extra screenwriters to redo the screenplay, ensuring he had more screentime than the titular mummy did.
11.While filming Star Trek, Leonard Nimoy invented the Vulcan nerve pinch as a nonviolent way for Spock to end fights because he thought the originally proposed method — having him hit someone on the back of the head with the butt of his phaser gun — was too "archaic" and "Western."
12.Halle Berry said she would only return for X-Men: The Last Stand if the script gave her character, Storm, a bigger role to play.
13.For Stranger Things seasons 2 and 3, Dacre Montgomery wanted to humanize Billy more, so he pitched ideas for scenes, including about the character's parents, in order to reveal more of his backstory.
14.While reading the script for The Usual Suspects, Benicio del Toro realized that his character Fred Fenster's only purpose was to be the first to die, so he convinced director Bryan Singer to let him deliver his lines in a made-up accent.
15.At first, Reese Witherspoon was reluctant to play Annette in Cruel Intentions because she found her to be "too demure and too much of a woman influenced by a guy’s manipulations," but she worked with director Roger Kumble to transform Annette into a more well-rounded character by rewriting her lines.
16.And finally, following the less-than-stellar response to Thor: The Dark World, Chris Hemsworth advised Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige that Thor needed to be "funnier" and "unpredictable" in Thor: Ragnarok.
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