#2 of 6 Iconic Movie Scenes That Happened by Accident
Being John Malkovich -- A Drunken Extra Attacks the Star
What Was Supposed to Happen:
In Being John Malkovich, a puppeteer called Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) finds a portal to actor John Malkovich's head and starts charging people to take the guy for a spin for 15 minutes. Eventually, Malkovich finds out what's going on, descends into the portal and ends up in what looks like the most f-ed up Halloween party ever.
There are four Malkovich heads in this shot, but two are covered by a dress.
After leaving that place, Malkovich quite understandably freaks out and threatens Schwartz with litigation if he doesn't stop renting out his brain to strangers, storming off along the shoulder of the New Jersey turnpike.
The Happy Accident:
Drunk extras. According to the commentary by director Spike Jonze, some extras sneaked beer onto the set and got pleasantly plastered. The scene called for cars to just drive past Malkovich as he angrily walks away; however, one of the extras forgot that he wasn't a jock in an '80s high school comedy and yelled out "Hey Malkovich, think fast!" before lobbing a beer can at his head.
"Loved you in Dangerous Liaisons!"
Malkovich's surprised yelp of pain and subsequent cradling of his head amused Jonze so much that he decided to keep the scene in the film. This isn't so surprising when you consider that this is the man who helped bring Jackass to our screens, so we already know that he revels in the pain of others.
But it worked beautifully; rather than being a scene about how angry John Malkovich is at the main character, it became a scene about how his life is falling apart around him. It helped us empathize with the actor, not to mention that the moment was also very much in line with the absurd humor of the screenplay (how did the guy even know it was Malkovich?).
And how did Malkovich fit into that dress?
In regards to the drunken extra, this inspired moment of sheer douchebaggery paid off in dividends -- since he now had a line in the movie, his pay rate was bumped up to $700 a day, that of a speaking role, and he was also now eligible to get his Screen Actors Guild card, which just goes to show that being a complete and utter dick is the only way to get ahead in Hollywood.