Sure, they captured your heart and imagination in the moment. But many of the most famous — not to mention steamy — television and movie kisses weren’t even supposed to happen in the first place. We’ve got the dirt from behind the cameras, and now we’re ready to kiss and tell. Here are some of the backstories to the unscripted kisses that left fans totally head over heels.
1. American Hustle
Leading ladies Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence were playing two women at odds in American Hustle. During a scene where the two women were fighting in the bathroom, the manic and unpredictable character Lawrence was playing grabbed Adams’ face and kissed her. And while the scene has become one of the most memorable moments of the movie, it was never even supposed to happen.
The audience didn’t see it coming, and apparently neither did the director. According to Adams, the two women had agreed between themselves that a kiss would really take their scene to the next level. So Lawrence went for it. “And the laugh she gives after?” Adams said. “That was genius” (and, also, unscripted).
2. Edge of Tomorrow
The time-looping action movie Edge of Tomorrow was always supposed to have a kissing scene, but it just was not working out. Every time that leads Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt shared an on-screen kiss, “it always felt false,” according to screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie. So instead of forcing this movie kiss, the writers scrapped the scene.
But Blunt had other plans. Instead of totally taking out the kiss, Blunt decided to surprise Cruise — and everyone else. As her character said a final goodbye to Cruise’s, “[Blunt] just kissed him goodbye in that moment,” McQuarrie revealed in Film School Rejects. “And it was not in the script. It was not even discussed.” The kiss made it into the film, and after filming the scene, Blunt reportedly said that “it just felt right. It felt right and I did it.”
3. Jurassic World
Of all the memorable movie kisses, this one had some bizarre timing. We don’t know about everyone else, but we are not sure that the exact moment when a genetically modified and highly intelligent dinosaur escapes from his cage as people scream in horror is the best moment to smooch. And, apparently, the writers of Jurassic World agreed. That kiss that Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard shared was not supposed to happen.
On the last day of filming, director Colin Trevorrow told Pratt to surprise Howard with the on-screen smooch. “We had shot the scene in the way that it was written — there was no kiss,” Howard said. “The idea was we’re just going to have Chris Pratt surprise her in front of 200 people…and that’s the take that’s in the movie.”
4. Lost in Translation
The cult classic Lost In Translation famously ends with Bill Murray, who plays Bob, whispering something to Scarlett Johansson’s Charlotte, before they share a kiss on a crowded street. For years, Murray has said that he will never reveal exactly what he whispered in Johansson’s ear during that scene, but many also don’t know that the kiss itself was also not in the script.
Murray decided on his own that the kiss was in order. According to director Sofia Coppola, this is not the only moment that Murray improvised. During the scene where the two meet at a sushi bar, the only thing written in the script was “Bob tries to make her laugh”. The rest was all up to this actor’s intuition.
5. New Girl
The love shared between New Girl‘s Nick, played by Jake Johnson, and Schmidt (Max Greenfield) is one of our favorite sitcom bromances. And throughout the show’s multiple seasons, the two have partaken in their fair share of, shall we say, brotherly kissing. But this was never supposed to be part of their storyline.
Sure, the two were always meant to be best friends. But Greenfield explained that their first kiss, shared on season 1, was not scripted, and the writers actually discouraged it. Greenfield had unexpectedly kissed his castmate several times before the editors finally decided to just leave it in one of the scenes. The audience received the smooch well, and after that, the kisses began to be written into their scenes.
6. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
We dare any Star Wars franchise lover not to burst out crying when watching the emotional scene between Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, and General Leia Organa, played by Carrie Fisher, towards the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The already touching moment when Luke kisses his sister on the forehead was made even more heartbreaking in the context of the film being released after Fisher’s untimely passing.
While filming the scene, Hamill decided to follow his line “No one’s ever really gone” with the tender kiss. It was not scripted, but the writers loved it. Hamill told Entertainment Tonight that the unplanned moment “just happened”. He said of his beloved costar, who he had first appeared with onscreen forty years before: “She’ll be missed forever, and she’s irreplaceable.”
7. Stranger Things
Rarely do onscreen kisses lead to outrage quite like the one between Max (Sadie Sink) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) on the season two finale of Netflix’s Stranger Things. After the episode aired, Sink shared that the kiss had not been in the script, but that co-creator Ross Duffer had brought up the idea as a joke.
The idea “freaked out” Sink so much that Duffer decided to include the kiss in the finale, hoping that Sink’s teenage nervous energy would play well. Instead, fans were so outraged that Sink was put in such an uncomfortable position that the actress had to come out with a statement saying: “I never objected to [it] or felt pushed into anything.”
8. Teen Wolf
Sometimes if anyone wants their love story to go a certain way, they have to muster up the courage to make it happen. And the same is true for on-screen romances, apparently. At least, that’s what happened in MTV’s Teen Wolf with actor Dylan O’Brien, who plays Stiles, and Holland Roden, who plays Lydia.
In one early scene, O’Brien decided to surprise Roden and the rest of the show’s crew by kissing her on the cheek. The kiss made it onto the show, and immediately fans began to root for the couple they called “Stydia”. After seeing that reaction, the show’s writers began to write a love story for the pair, one that was never actually supposed to happen.
9. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
To be fair, when it comes to movie kisses, the kiss shared between Effie Trinket and Haymitch Abernathy did not seem too out of place. The “two opposite characters at odds that end up kissing by the end” trope has been well played out in films. But according to Woody Harrelson, who played Haymitch, there was much more to his scene with Elizabeth Banks than meets the eye.
The kiss was not in the script, but beyond creating a storyline, Harrelson had more in mind when he surprised Banks. “I have a crush on Elizabeth Banks,” Harrelson playfully admitted to Entertainment Tonight. “Hopefully, you know, once we do the sequel to this that no one’s expecting — including the author — you know, something will pick up with these two.”
10. A Room with a View
Just before filming an iconic scene in the 1985 movie adaptation of E. M. Forster’s Edwardian novel A Room with a View, then little-known actress Helena Bonham Carter got some news. At the last minute, the writers had decided that this would be a kissing scene between Carter and her on-screen love, played by Julian Sands. But there were a few problems.
The actress did not have much experience kissing either on or off screen at the time. The last minute scene choice required her to walk through a barley field in a heavy period dress before sharing a first kiss. “I just knew I had to get to him without falling down, and then not laugh when he kissed me,” Carter recalled.
11. The Office
No one makes us laugh like Steve Carell makes us laugh. And perhaps above all of the other wacky characters he has played, his role as the awkward boss Michael Scott in The Office showcases just how good Carell is at his craft. His prowess is especially apparent when we learn about all of his off-the-cuff and unscripted acting moments.
One of those moments comes when Scott finds out that his coworker, Oscar, is gay. In a cringeworthy attempt to show his office just how open and accepting he is, he decides to plant a smooch on Oscar’s lips in front of the whole office. The script originally calls for just a hug, but the absolutely strange kissing scene shows that Carell definitely made the right call by sealing it with a kiss.
12. Top Gun
One of the most iconic movie kisses comes when Tom Cruise’s character Maverick finally locks lips with his on-screen love interest Charlie, played by Kelly McGillis. During the scene, Charlie is telling Maverick about her hopes of keeping their romance a secret. But then, something unexpected happens.
And when we say unexpected, we mean that not even the director saw it coming. The dialogue in this scene was supposed to continue on, but Cruise had forgotten his lines. To make up for his mistake, he simply grabbed McGillis and kissed her. The improvised moment worked well, and this blundered take was the one that inevitably made it into the final version of the film.
We are going to go ahead and bet that nearly everyone who watched ER and saw the chemistry between George Clooney’s Dr. Doug Ross and Nurse Carol Hathaway, played by Julianna Margulies, longed for them to kiss. But when Clooney made his exit from the series, fans thought their hopes and dreams for the characters had been utterly dashed.
But that changed a few seasons later, when Margulies told writers that she was leaving the show too. For her final season, writers wanted to include a kissing scene that was never supposed to happen. They hired Clooney to return — and at long last, the show’s devoted fans were given the love story they had been waiting to see for years.
14. Game of Thrones
The story of the unexpected kiss between queer female Game of Thrones characters Yara Greyjoy and Ellaria Sand comes in two parts. First, Gemma Whelan, who played Greyjoy, explained that the kiss was not in the script. “It just seemed like something we should do,” she told Entertainment Weekly.
Whelan further explained: “It was mean to be just a suggestion [of flirting] and then it became more…than we expected because it seemed right.” But the second part of this story ended up taking both actresses quite by surprise. Whelan suffered an injury and needed a stunt double for the action scene after, which meant that Sand had to record a second kissing scene with Whelan’s stunt double, too!
15. The Mindy Project
No matter how good the writing is for any particular television show, the most important thing for an on-screen kiss is good chemistry between the actors. And on The Mindy Project, it was actually the amazing chemistry between Mindy Kaling and actor Chris Messina that paved the way to their on-screen smooch.
When fans were introduced to Messina’s character, Dr. Danny Castellano, he and main character Mindy were never supposed to have a romantic storyline. But, according to Kaling: “You can’t script chemistry.” So after seeing how the two interacted with one another, the writers actually changed the script to allow for the two to have their famous first kiss on an airplane.
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