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Actors Who Cheated Their Way Through Movies

Cheating in most things is universally frowned
upon, but what about cheating in acting? Turns out, it’s totally cool for a thespian
to cheat his or her way through a take, and there are plenty of film superstars who can’t
be bothered to do the heavy lifting of learning their scripts. Let’s take a look at some of the most famous
actors who just couldn’t memorize their lines — and got creative instead. “You don’t understand. I could’ve had class. I could’ve been a contender.” The earpiece of Dr. Moreau In 1996, Entertainment Weekly reported “expansive
actor” Marlon Brando used an earpiece to help him remember his lines on the set of the infamously
troubled The Island of Dr. Moreau. The story came a few months before the release
of the film, and among the amazing stories from the set about the film’s disastrous production,
the early news brief seemed almost quaint; just a bit of inside info about a legendary
actor phoning it in. The story came from co-star David Thewlis,
who claimed Brando would spout whatever was coming from the earpiece, even interference
from nearby police radios. This led to Brando shouting non-sequiturs
like “There’s a robbery at Woolworths.” It’s unlikely Brando actually shouted that
line verbatim, and Thewlis probably just mentioned it for comedic effect. However, it’s easy to believe that Brando
totally cheated his way through his performance. This is the same guy who insisted on having
cue cards taped to the wall when filming The Godfather. “This is you doing a scene with Brando, and
you have to hold the lines on your chest.” When asked why he wanted his lines printed
out on cards, Brando reportedly said, “Because I can read them that way.” Hard to argue with that logic. 50 takes of grey Unlike Brando, British pop star-turned-actress
Rita Ora gets a bit of a free pass for using an earpiece during the filming of Fifty Shades
of Grey in 2015. It was her first major film role, after all. She told Access Hollywood, “I had to have someone in my ear on set telling
me what to say before I said it because I was […] so nervous, I forgot everything
that I had learnt.” Of course, she omitted the part about only
having a handful of lines in in the entire film, one of which is “Uck, Seattle baseball.” Ora cites the “incredibly difficult” task
of perfecting an American accent as one reason she couldn’t learn her lines as Mia, Christian
Grey’s sister, including real tongue-twisters like, “She’s here?” and “Oh my God, you exist.” Tough stuff. Cruisin’ for a bruisin’ Since the script for 1990’s Top Gun-meets-NASCAR
blockbuster Days of Thunder was constantly being re-written, Tom Cruise had to cheat
a little to get the job done during the film’s many high-speed racing scenes. As you can imagine, this wasn’t without its
occupational hazards — at one point, Cruise nearly killed himself by crashing his car
after taping pages to its dashboard and trying to read and drive at the same time. So screenwriter Robert Towne started feeding
Cruise his lines through a “radio earphone” in his helmet. Cruise admitted, “So in the movie, when it looks like my crew
chief is talking to me and I’m listening intently, I was actually waiting for my next line.” Thanks for destroying the magic for millions,
Tom. (crazed laughter) Davy Jones’ liquor cabinet How far Johnny Depp has fallen. Just a few short years ago, he was cinema’s
bad boy, the witty alcoholic sea captain you secretly wanted to be. Several less-than-stellar Pirates of the Caribbean
films and one spousal assault lawsuit later, and the star of Edward Scissorhands is starting
to look a lot more like that creepy older guy your mom warned you not to date in high
school. And now this. As part of a big, ugly lawsuit filed in 2017,
Depp’s managers claimed he couldn’t even be bothered to learn his lines for movies, instead
shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars to have a sound engineer read his lines over
an earpiece. The juicy allegations are part of an ongoing
legal case that has seen Depp sue his managers for allegedly treating his money like confetti. His managers, for their part, have counter-sued
him for being a real-life Jack Sparrow. According to them, he drank the entire collection
of vintage wine he’d “invested” tens of thousands of dollars in. So, the earpiece thing is just an allegation
that may prove to be unfounded. On the other hand, it would explain Depp’s
perma-perplexed expression in those Pirates movies, as he visibly thinks to himself, “They
actually want me to say this garbage?” Cry on cue The polite way to refer to famous drunks is
to call them “legendary hellraisers.” Well, John Barrymore must have raised more
hells than Clive Barker himself because the early talkie star was the very definition
of “drunk to the point of incapacity.” Barrymore was so soused he was barely capable
of remembering how to fall over. Legends of Barrymore say that by 1933, the
one-time great was forced to use cue cards in nearly every film he did. The cheating started when Barrymore spent
an entire day trying to memorize dialogue for Counsellor at Law, only to realize his
remaining brain cells were too sodden to retain any information whatsoever. From that point on, he turned into a kind
of cue card artiste, hiding cards all over the set so he could hit his lines. Sadly, it was barely worth the effort. Watch any post-1933 Barrymore film, and you’ll
see a man who is both clearly drunk and clearly figuring out how to deliver a line as he’s
in the very process of delivering it. It might be funny if it weren’t so unspeakably
tragic. “What the hell I’m supposed to be looking
at? I don’t know.” Thanks for watching! Click the Grunge icon to subscribe to our
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  1. MsRainbow Brite Author

    I can remember in The Littlest Colonel, Barrymore snapped at Shirley Temple because she tried to help him with his lines. Pretty sure his ego needed Temple to apologize before he would return to set

  2. Explore_ Everything Author

    If you can read from cue cards and have it play out really well… seems harder to me then memorizing. Impressive if it works

  3. Jeremy Author

    Why would it cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for a sounds guy to read lines to Johnny Depp's earpiece?? Other actors on the list did that…they didn't say anything about those ones costing so much. I could have done that shit for a $100.

  4. Michael Sternberg Author

    Lionel Barrymore in it’s a wonderful life was good maybe not great but certainly not obviously under the influence and that movie was well after 1933 (done in 1944).

  5. George N Root III Author

    I don't get it. How is any of this cheating? Bands use teleprompters to help with songs they have sang for years. I guess I don't see what the problem is. Were the performances delivered? Yes. So who cares how it was done?

  6. Jason Harris Author

    I need life advice…What am I doing wrong that I'm constantly broke AF and can barely take a vacation out of my city?? I bust my ass for 40-50hrs a week, come home and take care of that too. I have a bachelor's degree and still barely make enough to get by. Meanwhile, these dumb fuck people are millionaires!! Actors sit around 99% of the day. Google has the most basic fucking webpage in history..They do very little and make TONS of money.. How can they earn millions of dollars and not even remember their lines? I don't get a raise every time I forget my one and only freaking job! How long do these fries cook again??….. Good job! Here's a shit ton of money! WTF am I doing wrong?

  7. notsosilentmajority1 Author

    So there must be some truth to the "alcohol and drug addiction are hereditary" claims. Did you see
    John Barrymore way back in the 30's???? It may explain a lot of the behavior of some of his offspring.

  8. Malachite Mack Author

    I had friends working on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean 5 and told me that Johnny Depp had to have his lines delivered to him in an ear piece. Plus he would turn up on set drunk and start picking fights with people.

  9. Sheldon Cooper Author

    You forgot Miki Mia in "40 Year Old Virgin". Miki Mia lied about previous waxing experience to get the job torturing Steve Carell. The whole scene was filled with improv and legitimate reactions.

  10. Djarra Author

    Brando didn't learn lines as a way of giving them spontaneity it's actually quite common with people from The New School. Peter Falk at times wouldn't learn more than the gist of a scene for 'Columbo' so a lot of the characters searching for the right word and stalling is real. Although he'd only do that with actors who he knew would cope with it.

  11. London Bure Author

    Johnny Depp was married to Amber Heard when he was filming Pirates 5. She was giving him hell. If I had been married to that battle ax I would have been drinking too.

  12. Brian Fuller Author

    Many actors famously never could learn lines, as many quite well known musicians couldn't read music. There have also been self-important douches who simply refused to learn lines.

  13. Peter Smafield Author

    This is the most stupid illogical comments I’ve ever heard. It is up to the director determine whether an actor’s ad Libs are better than the written script or not. If the directors don’t like those ad Libs then he can insist that the actor stick to the script. Film is still an art and actors have been ad-libbing for as long as humans have been producing plays. This person who is putting their opinions forth in this YouTube publication is not worth listening to. I’ll have to make note not to bother with anything she publishes.

  14. phoebephoebo .sydney Author

    Gutted to see Depp's decline. Back in the 90s he was considered hugely talented, smart and gorgeous. I wonder which young, super cool, super-feted actor will be similarly derided in 20 years time?

  15. DJ Wise Pariah Author

    Marlon Brando is a god awgul actor, he ate sandwiches while shooting scenes in the Godfather and had his co actors hold up cue cards with his lines because he couldn't be bothered to read the script. There's photos of it all, too.

  16. SuperJohn12354 Author

    seems like the Tom Cruise addition is unwarrented if you change the script every 5min, you can't expect the actor to then suddenly remember all the lines

  17. kght222 Author

    2:23, try saying "¿Cómo Está Usted?" in a convincing accent you stupid fuck. this is another circumstance where i blame the voice actor who reads the lines for not calling them out for being obviously stupid. VOICE ACTORS, YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY STUPID SHIT.

  18. TheColonelKlink Author

    And yet these same sort of Hollywood morons still imagine from inside their privilaged bubble of moral corruption that America cares anything about their nauseating politics.

  19. Michael Powers Author

    It's widely conjecured that John Barrymore (Drew's grandfather), considered the world's greatest actor in his day, was an early Alzheimers victim, before anyone knew what it was, and used alcohol to cover it up.

  20. LIZZIE SANGI Sangi Author

    Big deal. I'm skippin' straight thru to Barrymore, only one of THE BEST ACTORS of the 20th century. The Barrymores started on stage. Ethel Barrymore (RIP), we never hear of, and "The" Barrymores – I don't think anyone knows how far back they go, on the stage. The Barrymores would often play together on stage. If a line was forgotten, Ethel was known to feed the line to her sibling, right on stage there and then, the audience heard and no one ever minded. Personally, very cool being that assured in your own skin and simply not hving the patience – the show must go on.

  21. pumbaaj Author

    Anna Nicole Smith isn't really an actress, but she starred in the movie "Skyscraper". They had to have someone off camera literally spoon feeding her each line before she said it. Even then, she couldn't get them right. "Van Nuys Tower" became "Very Nice Tower" and I am entering your airspace," became "I am invading your hairspace." The Howard Stern Radio Show played the sound footage , and SNL made a skit from it:

  22. Mark Schattefor Author

    Now tell us something about how perfect people act in gouvernement, banking, religions, food production,
    pharmacie, telling the thruth in general.

  23. Shane Wright Author

    Brando didn't use the earpiece to help him remember his lines – he used it so that someone would feed him the lines without inflection and he could interpret totally how he wanted to deliver them. Same with the cards. he didn't want to know his lines because he wanted to be totally honest in his reaction. A lot of actors use them, actually.

  24. ericsuniversaltrip Author

    What would we expect from fake souls who can be bought so easily. That woman from 50 shades of lame isn't anyone I know…so…who cares. Also, who cares if these so called people cheated at acting. Big whoop.

  25. ric Author

    30's screen goddess Mae West was so far gone by her last 2 films in the late 1970's that not only were her lines fed to her in a microphone hidden in her wig, but that she needed a stage hand to crawl around on set guiding her feet because she was basically blind from dementia and senility.

  26. Sebastian Smith Author

    Maybe Rita should just stay out of acting. There are plenty of actresses who could have done this job without hand holding.

  27. stephen stewart Author

    These are the people that society looks admires and rewards the most. They get paid millions to star in a film that someone else has created, to say words that someone else wrote, to wear clothes that someone else designed, to speak in an accent that someone else taught them… all they have to do is memorise some words and yet they can't even be bothered to do that.

  28. Tyhler Novac Author

    In the island of dr. Moreau he breaks the law shall go back to the House of Pain ……. house of pain samples this on skit First Album

  29. Tyhler Novac Author

    In the movie Days of Thunder Tom Cruise had 32 days to produced the movie Paramount Pictures and Orion pictures which was owned by Tom Cruise built-in the deadline because a movie had to be done before the end of the year on one of the actors contracts the movie pushed through

  30. Marilyn’s My Mother Author

    What about Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot? I absolutely love Marilyn! She was an intelligent woman that unfortunately is remembered more for her men, and her dumb blonde persona. She was having marital issues during the filming of Some Like it Hot. She absolutely hated the fact that she was playing a character that was so dumb that she couldn’t tell that the 2 leads were obviously men dressed as women. She was pregnant, but suffered a miscarriage. She was going through a lot! Add to that her ever increasing dependence on prescription pills, and alcohol, as well as her fear that she’d “go crazy” like her mother. Biographers now believe, based on her actions, that she suffered from manic depression (bipolar). Back to the movie. The mobsters have shown up at the hotel, so the guys are leaving. Joe (Tony Curtis) calls to tell SugarCane (Marilyn) that he can’t meet her. She’s distraught. The next scene when Sugarcane goes in to ask Josephine, and Daphne for the bourbon. The line was, “where’s the bourbon?” It took 40 takes, and Billy Wilder had to write the line on an index card and put it inside the drawer that Marilyn is opening. There’s speculation if Marilyn actually dubbed the line later in post production, because she’s not facing the camera when she says it, but she says, “Where’s that bourbon?” So it’s possible she said it since it wasn’t the correct line. She was known for her unprofessional behavior by this time, but even for her this had to have been humiliating.

  31. capitalknockers666 Author

    "…shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars to have a sound engineer read his lines over an earpiece".

    Holy shit, I don't earn hundreds of thousands of dollars in a year, and sound engineers earn it just for reading lines over an earpiece? I clearly chose the wrong profession.

  32. airspeedmph Author

    I wouldn't call this cheating, is not an exam. So they had help deliver their lines, so what? I value more the final result to be bother that they had help.
    A prompter was (maybe still is) used traditionally in stage theater for many years, and nobody called that cheating, but just a part of the acting process.

  33. 714Sluggo Author

    I'd hardly call the little twit in 50 Shades an "actress", especially when little miss no talent's entry comes between Barndo and cruise, two actual, real, quality, trained actors. Try harder to find a real thespian next time and not some celebrity pretty face with zero acting ability.

  34. Set Fire to the Whole Damn House Author

    one of the reasons for the earpiece is not about not memorizing the lines… It's about timing and intonation. the narration is do dumb. if you know anything about interpreter and actors , you would know that there's no talent in memorizing shit-ton of lines in

  35. Marten Dekker Author

    Brando was well-known for intentionally not wanting to memorize his lines. He wanted them fed to him just before he had to say them or on cue cards, so he would sound more natural and more spontaneous. This accusation of cheating is complete bullshit. SMH

  36. TheStockwell Author

    0:57 and 1:11 Davis Thee-OO-lis? Wow. I know the people who narrate these things don't write this stuff, but it wouldn't kill them to google how names are pronounced.


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