This entry is trivia, which is cool and all, but not a trope. On a work, it goes on the Trivia tab.
Enforced Method Acting
Method Acting:noun — An acting technique in which actors try to replicate the real-life emotional conditions under which the character operates, in an effort to create a life-like, realistic performance.
Enforced Method Acting:noun — An acting technique in which actors give a life-like, realistic performance because no one warned them what was going to happen.
Enforced Method Acting is a cinematic concept in which the actors and actresses of a work give reactions that are unplanned and unscripted. This can occur for several reasons:
The director is trying to make a performance more realistic—the primary form of this trope. The applications of this range from not telling your actor that their love interest is returning to not warning them when the chainsaw-wielding maniac bursts through the door.
Another actor does or says something that causes the actors he's working with to react in an unplanned way—usually by trying not to burst out laughing.
In general, the directors of English dubs of anime seem to do this a lot to the actors, particularly when you consider that most anime is finished before the dub is even started on. If you read interviews with the actors and watch extras on the discs pertaining to how the dub was recorded, you'll find all sorts of anecdotes such as Vic Mignogna actually crying in reaction to things that happened in the final episode of Fullmetal Alchemist, to Chris Patton in the audio commentaries in Princess Tutu wondering aloud "why I'm being such a bastard" to many, many actors not being told that a character dies until they record the scene in which it happens, even when it's their character.
Speaking of Fullmetal Alchemist, Vic Mignogna was also not informed of what lay on the other side of the Gate prior to dubbing the scene in which Edward Elric passes through it. The surprise in Edward's voice upon seeing Zeppelins, therefore, is quite real.
Episode 8 is the first time it's really apparent. It seems to be the equivalent of what originally happened after the Tucker incident, and it's still a Tear Jerker.
It's more striking than that, actually—Vic wasn't given any more of the script than his own lines in chunks (which were recorded in chronological order) for the last three episodes. Now that's what you call enforced.
In a (somewhat) more lighthearted example, according to the commentary on episode 19, they really threw (or pretended to throw) a teacup at Aaron Dismuke's face in order to get his reaction (as Edward hits a teacup and it hits Al in the show). Not sure how much they were kidding, but when asked, Aaron said it bothered him, but was "really inspiring, though."
Shinichi Watanabe reportedly required, during the recording of Excel Saga, that Menchi's voice actress crouch on all fours to address a microphone 6 inches off the floor, and that the "Excel Girls" actresses actually wear costumes based on those worn by their animated counterparts.
DVD extras actually show the "Excel Girls" in said costumes.
Modern method acting explicitly leaves out relying on actual life experiences precisely because it can cause such trauma.
During the dubbing of Gundam SEED, Kira's voice actor Matt Hill actually asked the vocal director to kick him in the crotch to make his crying sound authentic. Fans more than appreciate his dedication, especially since it worked (and was head and shoulders above Soichiro Hoshi's "dying horse" crying).
The Hungarian voice actors of Sailor Moon weren't afraid to admit they had no idea what was going on in the story, so they pretty much had to guess what kind of emotional state their characters were supposed to be in. As the translation work was rubbish and the episodes dubbed out of order, this didn't always work out.
Code Geass: Yukana was never told her character (C.C.) was gonna die in the first episode. In fact, nobody knew how long their character was going to last throughout the first season, so much of their death cries were probably real (don't fire me!).
It's long been rumoured that female voice actors in both English and Japanese hentai are encouraged to masturbate while on mike. Of course, it could easily just be really good acting.
Ten Little Gall Force is a Super-Deformed OVA that reimagines the cast of Gall Force as actors making a movie. At one stage, they're shooting the scene where Catty fries herself acting as the conductor for a broken power cable. Catty asks the director if he's sure the wire's not live, and the director shrugs, so she grabs the wire... and then the director activates it, electrocuting her for real. He seems thrilled with the "reality" of the scene.
According to Gundam Sousei, Shuichi Ikeda would go for drinks with cast members after each day of recording finished, except Tohru Furuya, and was distant towards him, to reflect the uncomfortable relationship between Char and Amuro. Once the final episode wrapped up, Ikeda invited Furuya out for drinks, which began a friendship reflected in Char and Amuro's interactions in Zeta Gundam.
This is made even more meaningful when you remember that, in Japan and other Asian countries, "social drinking" is an extremely important side of work interaction. Ikeda inviting everyone but Furuya would be considered as one of the most rude things he could do to a fellow co-worker — in almost any other context than this.
Caitlin Glass once told a story about her experience dubbing the Girl of the Week for a Lupin III movie. She couldn't act properly angry in one scene, so right before she was supposed to speak, the director called her fat to anger her.
Live Action Television
In the M*A*S*H episode "Abyssinia, Henry," the final page of the script, in which Radar comes into the operating room and announces that Col. Blake's plane was shot down with no survivors, was handed to the cast a few minutes before the scene began. The scene in question was so shocking, an urban legend sprang up that the cast didn't know about the death until Gary Burghoff read his lines on the air. What really happened was that, with the exception of the director, none of the crew knew about the death, and their gasps of shock upon hearing the line ruined the first take.
The Brady Bunch: In the episode "Bobby's Hero," where Bobby took up outlaw Jesse James as a role model, the episode ends with a dream sequence where Jesse James shows up and shoots Bobby's entire family (even Alice!) to death (in an extremely silly-looking way, of course). To counteract the silly action, Lloyd Schwartz took actor Mike Lookinland alone to a closed set and began to describe to him how the scene would look in graphic, horrid detail, using Lookinland's real-life family as an example. The looks of terror you see in Bobby's eyes are from Schwartz screaming at him about how his real-life parents and siblings (even his pets!) were screaming in pain, suffering, bleeding, and dying. Schwartz, in his memoir about the series, says he and his father, Sherwood, were proud of how the episode came off as a non-preachy "anti-gun" episode.
The famous Sesame Street scene announcing the death of Mr. Hooper subverts this trope, hard. Everyone in the cast loved actor Will Lee, so they all fought back genuine tears. They barely got through it. One line didn't come out quite right, so a second take was attempted. The cast didn't make it through the second try. As a result, the first take was used, in an unusual application of Throw It In.
In the Supernatural episode "In The Beginning," Samuel is being possessed by the YED and after Dean unwittingly tells him everything, he pins Dean to the wall and smells his neck while asking him if he's one of the "special children." According to Mitch Pileggi, the neck-smelling wasn't rehearsed beforehand so Dean's squicked-out reaction is completely genuine and the sexual subtext is even more creepy.
Another example is Misha Collins' first appearance as Castiel. The staring and ignoring Dean's personal space was not scripted, so that Jensen Ackles was genuinely surprised.
In Mad Men Season 3 episode titled "Guy Walks into an Advertising Agency" when Mr. Ford's foot is run over by the lawnmower blood is sprayed into the face of several onlookers. The director told them they would be sprayed on the count of 3, but instead went on 2. The shocked looks on their faces is a real reaction.
Sort of subverted in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Urgo", where Dom De Luise ad-libbed a lot of his lines and unintentionally made it difficult for Chris Judge not to break his characters stoicism. As a result, he has fewer scenes than usual in this episode.
Subverted in another scene, where Carter surprises O'Neill by humming to herself. Amanda Tapping had originally wanted to surprise her costar by humming the MacGyver theme. Unfortunately, no one on set could remember what it was.
In the Red Dwarf episode "D.N.A.", Lister is handed a photo of a man's genitals and reacts accordingly. During rehearsal, the photo was always something mundane, but when they actually shot the scene, Craig was given a photo of a guy's crotch without warning.
Another scene has the cast pushed against a metal grate with freezing cold water pouring over them, their screams at this point were genuine.
According to Patrick J. Adams (Mike), in Suits there's an element of this for scenes where Meghan Markle's character, Rachel, is jealous of Mike's other love interests. He used to talk up the actresses playing them to Markle between scenes in order to make her jealousy more real.
In I'm Alan Partridge, every character looks genuinely shocked when they see the contents of Alan's drawer, suggesting this trope.
In the Battlestar Galactica episode "Act of Contrition", when Starbuck tells Commander Adama she's responsible for the death of his son, Zak, Edward James Olmos scared actress Katee Sackhoff into thinking he was actually going to hit her, which is why she puts her hands over her head as she walks out of his cabin.
Olmos enjoys doing this sort of thing. The kiss in "Resurrection Ship part II" was also unscripted, as was the business with the wedding ring in "The Hub". Good thing Mary McDonnell is used to him.
During the pilot of Firefly, Mal and Jayne throw a body out the ship's airlock and rush back inside as the door closes with a fraction of an inch to spare. This isn't just feigned: Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin had no idea that Joss Whedon started closing the doors the moment they went out, to simulate how fast these characters had to act in their escape from the world.
In 24, Kiefer Sutherland changed the line of the famous "Jack whispering to Nina" scene from Day 2 from its scripted one to a declaration of love for Sarah Clarke in order to get a shocked reaction from her.
In the episode "Waking Moments" of Star Trek: Voyager, Tuvok dreams that he reports to the bridge naked. The people who are already there burst out laughing when they see him - and it's not acting. Apparently, Tim Russ attached really big fake genitals over his own, just to get the right reaction.
Geordi LaForge, blind engineer on Star Trek: The Next Generation, wears a metal sensor package called a VISOR over his eyes to permit him to see, but the stream of sensor data tends to overwhelm his brain and give him headaches. Actor LeVar Burton had a similar problemthe bolts used to keep the VISOR prop secured firmly against his temples were so tight that, twenty minutes into a day of shooting, he would start getting headaches.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Garak suffers from acute claustrophobia. Although it had been hinted at a couple of years before, the episode where it's finally revealed that he genuinely does suffer from it occurs as a result of the character being locked in a tight enclosed space to rewire some communication panels to save everyone's life. This wasn't just a problem for the character, it was a problem for the actor, as the reason Garak was given acute claustrophobia was because his actor suffers from it in real life.
In the Babylon 5 episode "The Hour Of The Wolf", one of the reasons that actor Peter Jurasik looks as he does when talking to the severed heads is that one of the heads was based on fellow actor Andreas Katsulas. They avoided telling him about it in advance.
In the episode "In the Shadow of Z'Ha'Dum", Andrea Thompson really slapped Bruce Boxleitner, very hard. Not only his reaction but the sound the slap makes is real.
On top of that, in the commentary, JMS says that she KEPT doing it in take after take. And they ended up using the first one.
During the news broadcast in "Severed Dreams", the startled reactions of the newscasters are genuine; when part of the ceiling fell in, it landed closer to the actors than intended.
In "Partners in Crime" Donna's mime scene was written in the script with only the words/phrases Donna was trying to convey, forcing Catherine Tate to make up the gestures on the spot.
In "Silence In The Library", new character River Song is introduced. David Tennant's confusion during his scenes with her is absolutely genuine, because Steven Moffat refused to tell anyone where he was going with the character.
Arguably, this was often the case in Mork and Mindy. Much of Mork's dialogue and antics were ad-libbed by Robin Williams, and so Mindy's surprise and confusion were often genuine. Of course, this made it interesting in an "It's A Wonderful Life" episode where Mindy isn't supposed to react to the invisible Mork's antics, but Pam Dawber is visibly struggling to keep a straight face.
On Top Gear, the basic ideas for challenges often come from the presenters themselves, but the details come from "the producers". Clarkson, Hammond, and May are frequently pleasantly (or not-so-pleasantly) surprised on-camera by the contents of the infamous gold envelope telling them what they need to do next.
This clip from The Daily Show, in which John Oliver reads out a list of funny names. Between rehearsal and the final recording, the list was changed. Nobody told Jon Stewart.
And when Wyatt Cenac changed his metaphor for exactly how dry his martini was between rehearsal and the final cut. (At 7:35 if you don't feel like watching the whole thing.)
There's an episode of I Dream of Jeannie where Jeannie is trapped inside a champagne bottle. Filming for it involved an oversized mock-up of the lower part of the bottle, which Barbara Eden couldn't get out of without help. In order to get a realistic performance from her for the scene where Jeannie bangs on the glass and cries for help, the director had everyone on the set leave for lunch and pretend they had forgotten Eden was in the bottle, while a camera was actually still rolling. The result is in the final cut of the episode.
The Price Is Right occasionally does this with a showcase (usually April Fools' Day showcases) so that the model(s) involved are genuinely surprised. For the "Janice Pennington, This Is Your Strife" showcase, the cast and crew even went to the trouble of rehearsing a fake showcase with Janice.
The fifth series of the UK version of The Apprentice had the contestants create an advertising brand for a new cereal, including a mascot and TV commercial. One group came up with a superhero character called "Pantsman" who wears his underwear over his outer clothes, and made an advert featuring two young children, with "Pantsman" told to hide before filming so the kids wouldn't see him. Their expressions in the finished ad (as he walked in and they saw him for the first time) are priceless.
Frequently in Scrubs when the Janitor does a freakish rant, the astonishment of the characters listening is often genuine. Neil Flynn was given a long leash with ad-libbing lines, with the script often literally stating "Janitor: What Neil Says".
Specific example: One teaser has Elliot telling old jokes and having everyone else finish them for her. She finally shrieks "STOP FINISHING MY AWESOME JOKES!" Sarah Chalke didn't tell anyone she was going to play the line like that, and J.D.'s holding his ear and yelling "Oh my God!" was a real reaction on Zach Braff's part.
In Monty Python's Flying Circus, the shot of the kangaroo-hopping Freemasons with their trousers down and spotted boxer shorts displayed (part of the "How to recognise a Freemason" sequence) was filmed on a real London street with the then largely unknown Pythons dressed up in their banking suits and blending in. At a prearranged signal, they dropped their trousers and started hopping, and the shot was taken by a camera in a passing vehicle. The reactions from the passers-by are all completely genuine.
The scripts for Curb Your Enthusiasm are just outlines directing the flow of the conversation, and the actors are only allowed to read their own scenes. According to Larry David, Richard Lewis's knowledge of his scenes is even more restricted than this, because once David heard him use a line that he knew Lewis had planned.
In the pilot episode of LOST, Jack, Kate, and Charlie come across the plane's cockpit angled upright in the jungle. The cast members had not yet seen the set before filming began, so the looks of wonder on their faces were legitimate.
Also, L. Scott Caldwell and Sam Anderson intentionally did not meet until the filming of Rose and Bernard's reunion in "Collision". It really says a lot about the actors when you consider how heartwarming the scene is.
In series 3 of Skins, there's a scene where magician JJ breathes fire. Kaya Scodelario, Luke Pasqualino and Jack O'Connell (Effy, Freddie and Cook) were all told that the fire would be added in post-production as a special effect - nobody told them that they'd actually taught Ollie Barbieri how to perform the stunt. Kaya's scream is completely genuine.
And there's a failed example in series 4, in the scene where Naomi and Emily discover Sophia's shrine to Naomi in her army cadet locker. The plan was to prevent Lily Loveless and Kathryn Prescott seeing the shrine until it was opened during filming, so that they could play the characters as weirded out by The Reveal as possible; unfortunately, Lily ended up having a monumental job to stop herself laughing at the sheer crazy of what they found.
In the Hogfather TV film, when Michelle Dockery has to ride the hogs at the end, the director Jean Vadim kept her working for hours, finding picky fault after picky fault with her performance until she was literally screaming with anger, exhaustion and frustration. That was the shot he wanted.
An episode of Taxi called for Louie DePalma to whisper something to Elaine Nardo, and for her to respond by slapping him and saying "That's disgusting!". Danny DeVito whispered such sweet things to Marilu Henner during rehearsals that she was genuinely shocked when he started whispering not-so-nice things, and she blew several takes because of it (to DeVito's delight).
When Carol Kane joined the cast as Latka's girlfriend Simka, Andy Kaufman taught her their country's "language" by inviting her to dinner and refusing to speak English or let her do so.
In one episode, guest star and real-life boxer Carlos Palomino accidentally delivered a real left hook to Tony's face. You can see Palomino pull his hand towards his mouth in horror for a second on realizing what he did before getting back in character and turning around to exit.
The episode "Revelations" of Criminal Minds called for the UnSub of the week, played by James Van Der Beek, to pick up Reid by the shirt and verbally terrorize him. The threats that made it onto the screen were comparatively tame; however, in the DVD commentary on that episode, actor Matthew Gray Gubler reveals that the episode's director instructed Van Der Beek to shout whatever frightening obscenities he could think of in order to provoke a realistic, terrified reaction shot. The result was apparently so impressive that the writers were "pretty sure that he was actually going to kill him," and so filthy that Gubler couldn't repeat them, even in the DVD commentary. And it shows in the reaction shots.
Armando Iannucci likes to enforce method acting while directing The Thick of It. The scripts are often changed without the knowledge of certain actors to make their reactions more convincing. In addition to this the show is partly improvised, so the actors constantly have to come up with new lines- and as the show is a comedy, they have to be funny lines. This pressure makes everyone look as panicky as... well, the incompetent staff of a busy government department.
Playing Malcolm Tucker means Peter Capaldi has the most lines to learn, and he often stays up all night learning them only to arrive on set the next morning to find they've all been rewritten. The resulting stress and sleep deprivation help to make him look the part- off-screen he looks about ten years younger.
In one improvised scene which was never used, Glenn Cullen broke Julius Nicholson's glasses. Actor Alex MacQueen, who plays Julius, was convinced that James Smith, who plays Glenn, had broken his own prescription glasses, and not the pair Smith had discreetly switched them for. MacQueen was apparently so upset that the scene couldn't be used.
Blake's 7 is full of unexpected explosions: the reactions (shrieking and/or being thrown through the air) were often genuine, because the directors neglected to warn the actors about just what was going to go off and where.
The creators/director of How I Met Your Mother decided to make use of this regularly. They noticed that sitcom characters rarely laugh at each other's jokes or other funny bits, which is unrealistic, and so allow the actors to react naturally to each other by laughing when something is funny, etc rather than needing a straight-faced retake.
Of particular note is the final scene of "Bad News". Jason Segal was not told what the titular "news" was. Alyson Hannigan's line of "Your father had a heart attack. He didn't make it." prompts a brilliant reaction from Segal, who causes the entire audience to cry at his voice breaking.
The scene in Breaking Bad where Walt comes into the kitchen after shaving his head was actually the first time Anna Gunn and RJ Mitte had seen Bryan Cranston with his shaved head; Gunn had specifically avoided meeting with him until then to help her reaction.
In an episode of The Adventures of Superman called "Night of Terror," Lois Lane is supposed to be knocked out when a thug punches her. Unfortunately, the actor accidentally missed his "air punch" and really did hit her, knocking Phyllis Coates unconscious. She had to go to the hospital, and he felt incredibly guilty.
In the episode of Home and Away with Sally's first wedding, Gypsy stands up and interrupts Kieran's vows to reveal that he had been hitting on her since he arrived. While filming this scene, Kimberly Cooper hit her legs on the pew in front of her, meaning that the tears in her eyes were "reeeeeal pain tears."
Occasionally happens with the actors on the hidden camera show What Would You Do?. For example, in one episode, a pregnant teenager denies her unborn child to some expectant adoptive parents.note All an act, of course, to see how people would react. During the scenario, two ladies approach the actress playing the sobbing mom-to-be. The women comfort her, and one of the ladies says a prayer about motherhood, moving the actress—WWYD veteran Traci Hovel, who had been fake-crying up to that point—to genuine tears.
Two notable cases happened in the Hollywood Director where Colin Mochrie would pretend to be an overly-picky Hollywood director, and always angrily yell "CUT CUT CUT CUT!". In one occasion, Chip Esten jumps onto Ryan's back and Colin actually means it when he says "CUT CUT CUT CUT!" because Ryan has a bad back. In another one, he asks the performers to do the scene backward and when he comes on, he's surprised they actually did it.
In Band Of Brothers, the cast members didn't see the concentration camp until they were actually filming because they wanted the expressions of shock and horror to be as genuine as possible.
Cory Monteith and Dianna Agron were not allowed to watch rehearsals for "Lean On Me'; the reactions that we see during the performance were the actors' reactions on seeing it for the first time.
Dick And Dom In Da Bungalow was unscripted anyway, but the producers liked to try and surprise the presenters- for example, by having somebody unexpectedly burst in through the door. That is, actually throughthe door. The hosts manage to turn genuine surprise into Played for Laughs collapsing in shock. (On another occasion, however, they are reduced to silence for a good thirty seconds simply by a lovely girl turning up when they expected a nice motherly cleaning lady, in a game of Make Dick Sick.)
In the Season 5 episode "Real Me" of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, director Joss Whedon made faces behind the camera to help Sarah Michelle Gellar's laughter seem more genuine when she learns of Harmony having minions. (This is at least partly because Gellar, at least at the time, was somewhat notorious on set for being unable to laugh on cue—one scene in season 6 where they come back to a scene where she and Giles are supposed to be on the tail end of laughing themselves sick has her facing away from the camera, bent over a pommel horse.)
Carnivāle opened with the premise that one of the two superpowered people in the main cast was destined to be revealed as a "Creature of Light", while the other was destined to be revealed as a "Creature of Darkness". To heighten the moral ambiguity behind Clancy Brown's character Brother Justin Crowe, the Creature of Darkness, the show's creator initially kept Brown in the dark about which of the two his character was supposed to be. Though Brown eventually caught on, it made his performance as a Knight Templar priest very believable in the earliest episodes, as he genuinely believed that he might be playing the show's hero.
Yankee broadcaster Phil Rizzuto's baseball play-by-play in Meat Loaf's "Paradise by the Dashboard Light". According to Rizzuto, he had no idea that the commentary he was recording was going to be used for a sex metaphor. Meat Loaf claims otherwise.
It's not uncommon for music videos where the video is basically a bunch of random people partying... involves a bunch of random people in partying. Black Eyed Peas' I Gotta Feeling is one. It has a few famous people, but the rest are just random (though generally good-looking, obviously) people to fill up space. Apparently one got drunk during the filming (can't do a realistic partying without booze) and had to be kicked off the set.
Bob Dylan is notorious for only giving musicians the barest minimum of instructions (chord changes, tempo) before recording a song, leaving it up to them to work out their individual parts as they go along. Most famously, Al Kooper came up with the "Like a Rolling Stone" organ riff despite not only having never played the song before, but not even being an organist (Kooper was mainly a guitarist and pianist, but those slots were already filled. Kooper asked if he could play organ, Dylan said "sure, why not?").
Martin Birch, who produced Iron Maiden's most famous records, asked (then new) singer Bruce Dickinson to do take after take after take for "The Number of the Beast". Bruce was obviously frustrated and annoyed, and that's when Mr Birch told him something like 'now it's time to record the scream', which he of course delivered in a very unhuman way, which Bruce was never able to replicate.
For the Queen mega-hit "Bohemian Rhapsody", piano, bass and drums were recorded simultaneously by having the respective players performing the part in the studio, with composer and pianist Freddie Mercury conducting them. But neither bassist John Deacon nor drummer Roger Taylor knew that on top of the seemingly random pauses and fortissimo bits they played in the middle there was going to be a mock operatic choir!
Another Queen-related example: while recording 'Under Pressure' (co-written, co-produced, co-etc. by David Bowie), it was suggested that each of the two lead singers came up with their melodies separately without knowing what the other was doing. That allowed their reactions and post-production decisions to be more natural and instinctive.
Yet another one: while they weren't heavily into drugs or alcohol (at least when compared to other rock bands), Queen would sometimes do some recordings while drunk with the intention of re-doing them once they felt well enough for the 'proper' versions. But of course, sometimes neither the 'feeling' nor the chemistry could be equalled, and several bits and pieces were kept from tipsy or 'pissed' sessions, including 'Dragon Attack', 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love' and the guitar solo on 'Put Out the Fire'.
One of their most famous uses of this trope was when Freddie, dying from AIDS, downed a fifth of vodka and recorded the vocal track for "The Show Must Go On" in a single take.
See What A Fool I've Been was clearly recorded whilst the band were drunk, something which might have been intentionally done. This is because Brian couldn't remember who the song was originally by and probably attempted to make it sound like spontaneous drunk karaoke to justify this.
Weezer's video "Undone - The Sweater Song" was a one-take shot 20 times. The one that was used was between the 15th and 20th, when the band was tired and simply not caring anymore (things such as a dog defecating on a drum pedal helped).
When Miles Davis was recording his groundbreaking fusion album 'Bitches Brew', none of the session musicians knew what they were supposed to play beyond tempo and chord changes. You can hear Miles giving instructions during quiet moments.
Bruce Springsteen wanted his folk album ''We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions" to have an informal sound, so he didn't rehearse with the Sessions band before they started recording. Springsteen can be heard several times on the album giving spontaneous instructions about what instrument he wants to hear.
Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band's Trout Mask Replica was intended to sound uncomfortable and on the brink of falling apart. That's because the band really was uncomfortable and on the brink of falling apart. There are many reasons why but Antennae Jimmy Semens' performance of Pena sounds hysterical, and he probably was at the time. In a similar manner The Blimp, which is recited in a similar voice, over the phone to Frank Zappa.
On their album Pooping Like Dogs, The Pennock Bridge Collective had a handful of experimental tracks where they deliberately made sure no one in the band knew how a song was going to turn out: Mainly, they'd have members pull instruments and track numbers out of a hat, then have each member write and record a part based only on whatever had been recorded before they got their turn. The most extreme case of this was "The CCH Pounder Blues", where everyone was instructed to improvise wildly for exactly 30 seconds without being able to hear what anyone else was playing.
As mentioned under Film, the call to the operator in Pink Floyd's The Wall is genuine. The character Pink phones his wife, knowing she's with another man, and the other line keeps disconnecting. The operator and their confused reaction ("There's a man answering...") are real. They had to do the call several times before they found one who realized what the situation was.
During some tour performances (notably the 1990 Berlin performance), Roger Waters called a real operator and had them dial a stage hand who pretended to be Ms. Floyd's new lover.
Another bit of Pink Floyd legend in this vein has it that while they were recording "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," Syd Barrett unexpectedly showed up in the studio, suddenly boosting everyone's mood, since the song is about him. You can supposedly hear it in one of the choruses, when Roger Waters almost laughs and sounds unusually cheerful.
British hardcore/electronic/everything band Enter Shikari often layer in random bits of talking, which is the band members loitering outside the recording studio, drunk, heckling the member who is singing. For the "Ello Tyrannosaurus" lyric just before the breakdown in 'Hello Tyrannosaurus, Meet Tyrannicide', the producer had Rou run to the back of the room and shout the lyric in order to get the correct sense of distance and shouting in a large space.
During Red House Painters' entire album of Rollercoaster is this in spades. It might very well be the largest case of Enforced Method Acting in musical history:
Some of the record engineers were ordered by 4AD manager, Ivo Watts to make recording as stressful as possible to put Kozelek under a lot of pressure in order to get a more genuine performance out of him. So that strained, stressed sound present on it that you don't hear anywhere else? Not faked even in the slightest!
"Things Mean A Lot" had an unexpected piano riff added in that caught Kozelek by surprise. The song, being about Kozelek finally getting over an old muse of his, always seems to bring a tear to Kozelek's eyes because of this.
"Katy Song" was originally supposed to be shorter for the album version, but when the band parts were recorded first, they were told to drag out the second section extra long. Kozelek was not told of this, so when his guitar and vocal parts were recorded he got confused and frustrated when the song was going to end. So that effect of how the guitars and vocals sound progressively more and more exhausted is actually Kozelek trying to keep the song going and getting frustrated.
"Strawberry Hill" has the chorus sung by a group of strangers picked up from the street outside of a Los Angeles recording studio. When Mark was doing his final take for the vocal line, the crowd started singing in the background with Mark. He was not expecting this and the frail sound of his voice is actually him trying to hold back tears. The song had a lot of personal meaning to him, since it was about his troubled suicidal and depressed past.
"Brown Eyes" was supposed to be a closing track featuring just Mark Kozelek on guitar. As things progressed, however, he was caught by surprise when the rest of the band came in and started playing with him, re-enforcing the theme of "Strawberry Hill" even more.
The Lou Reed song "The Kids" ends with children screaming and crying. Producer Bob Ezrin allegedly told his children that their mother left and is never coming back, and he recorded their reaction.
J-pop group Perfume's music video for I Still Love U is a one-shot film that features a minute of the three grimacing, supposedly in emotional pain, toward the end. However, in actuality, they are being given a painful foot massage during the shot, and their occasional laughter gives it away.
During the 2008 WWE Draft, none of the draftees were told that they'd be switching shows until just seconds before the announcement was made. Most notably seen with the announcer switch between Smackdown! and RAW... the looks of confusion and anger on Michael Cole and Jim Ross' faces as they switched chairs following the announcement of the change were completely real, and Jim Ross actually considered retiring the day after it happened.
Speaking of Jim Ross, he intentionally did not read the set notes for the shows he was announcing in order to make his on-air calls more realistic. His pleas for trying to get someone to stop the famous Mankind vs. Undertaker Hell in a Cell match is one of the many legitimate results of this practice (moreso because some of the damage Mick Foley took in the match was unintentional and damn near killed him.)
Also draft-related - in order to properly keep up the air of shock (as well as downplay spoilers) in the 2005 draft's opening pick, John Cena apparently arrived at the arena very late and stayed in his car until it was time for him to come out at the start of the show. Only Cena and the people he had a segment and a match with that night - Chris Jericho, Christian, and Tyson Tomko - were informed of it in advance.
Rumor has it that the ring crew for June 7, 2010's RAW were only told that Wade Barrett would come down to the ring to interrupt John Cena vs. CM Punk... not that he'd then get the other "rookies" from the recently-concluded NXT show to jump and beat down John Cena, then attack Matt Striker, Jerry Lawler, (Michael Cole promptly fleeing), the ring announcer Justin Roberts and ringside crew, and literally wreck the ringside and even tear at the ring itself.
Then there's WCW which, per its usual, managed to screw this up. They had backstage segments aplenty, but at one point decided that to increase spontaneity the announce team was not allowed to see and were not told about. This naturally led to plenty of segments that occurred for no apparent reason and led to nothing and the commentators looking like a bunch of morons. Most notably, a fan dressed as Sting jumped a barricade and ran into a match and the commentators, so used to not being told about changes to shows, assumed it was the real Sting.
No one knew Eric Bischoff was coming the night he joined WWE. Similar to the John Cena example, he kept hidden in a limo. Supposedly Booker T, one of the few to spot Bischoff summed it up by saying, "Tell me I didn't just see that".
Even Hall and Nash weren't told who third man was at the Bash of the Beach. The two struggle to not look confused as Hogan goes Hollywood.
On a 2009 episode of Raw, Triple H is in the ring (in DX without Shawn Michaels) and decides to phone HBK. His music starts... and then his voice comes out from the other end of the phone... singing a voicemail message to the tune of his own theme music. Hunter apparently had no idea that this was Shawn's message and he promptly proceeded to completely lose it.
The Rock's return in 2011 was hidden even from the scripts of that episode which all told that Justin Bieber would be the host. (The Rock briefly alludes to this in his monologue.)
Unfortunate example: Sting's obvious anger as he crushes Jeff Hardy at TNAVictory Road 2011? Real anger - Jeff was so strung out on drugs that Eric Bischoff had to come down and tell Sting to get it over with fast. Jeff can be seen trying to escape Sting's winning pinfall, and as Sting walks out, he answers a fan's "THAT WAS BULLSHIT!" with a loud (and on-camera) "I AGREE!"
In Paranoia, combat is intended to be portrayed as fast, confused, and entertainingly deadly, rather than tactically optimal - so the GM is encouraged to give the players only a few seconds to decide what their characters are doing each round.
The rulebook contains an example of play that runs something like this:
GM: Suddenly some hairy guys jump up from behind the gray things and shake sticks at you. Fred, what do you do?
Fred: Wait, what?
GM: Right. John, how about you?
This can apply to any tabletop game, depending on how the GM wants to run it. One little trick for GMs to simulate ambushes is to suddenly roll dice without warning and tell the players that they have been attacked.
The problem with this method is that whatever the DM does, his sudden description does not contain all the information a person actually there would be able to gather and process, leading to something like "an orc is running at you, what do you do?" and the player tries to ask something he would be able to tell immediately in a real situation: is he armed? is he being chased?, and the DM interprets this as him wasting his few seconds to respond.
Then that player knows what's actually going on. A note saying "Make a perception roll, but don't tell the others" makes everyone paranoid.
In the original production of The Phantom of the Opera, at one point the Phantom is underground, having kidnapped Christine. He loads her into the boat. On stage, the boat needs to be pushed out to the front, as though he was pushing it into the water. Not knowing that the boat was so heavy, it takes a lot out of the Phantom and he is severely out of breath. So the rendering of the next song, "slowly, gently, in anticipation" is so affected that the director decides to keep it like that.
In fact, during Shakespeare's time, it seemed perfectly common to be cruel to the actors like that, not telling them when they were going to be slapped, etc. Then there is one scene where a character tries to get a word in but can't manage to interrupt someone. Since the actors weren't given the full script, only their own lines and the key lines before them so they would know when it was their turn, the previous actor would say a phrase similar to the key line three times, each time causing a false alarm, making the actor after him think it's his turn to speak, only to be cut off by the first character's continued talking. This very convincingly created the illusion of the second character trying in vain to get a word in.
During her final performance of "For Good" in Wicked, Kristin Chenoweth authentically broke down in tears, as it really was goodbye this time. It's pretty heart-wrenching.
Supposedly, when creating the soundtrack for Great Moments with Mr Lincoln for the 1964 World's Fair and then Disneyland, Walt Disney kept having voice actor Royal Dano redo the entire speech, complaining about small things that made it "not quite right," until Dano was absolutely exhausted, and could barely make it to the end, at which point Disney said it was perfect, that it was what a weary Lincoln would have sounded like. He may have had a point, as the speech still induces shivers half a century later.
He also deliberately switched the casting of Big Boss's two motion actors - the man who played him during talking scenes was a motion actor who specialized in acrobatics, and the man who played him during action scenes was a motion actor who specialized in talking scenes. This resulted in a lot of serendipitous responses, particularly during the love scenes with Eva - for instance, when Eva leans in to kiss him in the mountaintop bolthole, his motion actor, unused to doing love scenes, froze up and pulled back nervously. It was very in character for Snake, so it was kept and Kojima later said it was one of his favourite touches.
For the recording sessions of Spec Ops The Line, the actors playing Walker, Adams and Lugo recorded all their lines together in one room, in hopes that a realistic character dynamic would develop between them. They also recorded all their lines in chronological sequence in long, tiring sessions, such that by the end of the recording sessions they were tired, angry and eager to go home - just like the characters themselves.
who played Taylor, was actually "terrified of zombies." Her freaking out every time a zombie appeared? Not entirely an act.
Additionally, the dialogue in the scene where Taylor and Erica put on a play was improvised to highlight the play's Stylistic Suck.
Spoony actually did this in reverse during his ET videogame review. At his fans' behest, he filmed a review right after having excruciating dental surgery to remove his wisdom teeth (and then another to fix complications from the first surgery) while spitting blood and drugged out of his mind on painkillers. In a fit of inspiration he decided to take his own messed-up-ness and communicate it by doing a trippy Apocalypse Now homage, all the more awesome for how very real his pained expressions are.
During Plague And Treachery On The Oregon Trail, while riding down the river, to simulate Cyrus riding while blind, Chewbot plays the minigame with his eyes closed. It works about as well as you'd imagine.
For that matter, there are instances of this in a Let's Play, usually blind Let's Play where they're legitimately surprised at a plot point or are startled by a Jump Scare.
While doing the voice-acting for The Incredibles, director Brad Bird had Spencer Fox, who played the speedster Dash, run around the studio so he would have a realistic out-of-breath voice.
Likewise, during production of Monsters Inc, Mary Gibbs (Boo) was too young to sit in a booth and record, so they had her in a playroom and captured her lines as she sporadically gave them while playing.
Jordan Nagai, the kid who voiced Russell in Up, also was "tricked" by the voice director many times in order to get him away from sounding too much like he was acting and give more a genuine response. For example, he was told to run around before giving lines or forced to memorize his lines on the spot.
Likewise, in the scene where Russel, giggling, is being tossed playfully in the air by Kevin, the voice director tickled him. This is actually a pretty common practice (the same technique was used for the French actress who played the young Marjane in Persepolis).
In one of the Futurama commentaries, Billy West told a story in which he had to make the sound of one of his characters throwing up. He did it too well for his own brain, causing him to actually throw up all over the console. One of the people who used the booth later complained that it smelled like someone spilled cheese all over the place.
Another Billy West example involves Futurama; Dwight, Hermes' son, tells Fry "I heard alcohol make you stupid." Fry responds, "No, I'm- doesn't." Billy West didn't understand this line, illustrating Fry's stupidity, until he saw the scene animated and the line in context.
This actually happens a lot in the world of voice acting, where producers or directors withhold context to jokes. They usually just feed lines to the actors, not the whole script, have the actors say the lines and then call it a day. It's not because they're trying to enforce method acting, they're just that incompetent. Bob Bergen, the current voice of Porky Pig, has said that he'll be given a script of only his own lines, and to him most of the lines and jokes make no sense, because the set-up dialogue from other characters are not part of his script.
Speaking of Porky Pig, his first voice actor had an actual stutter.
Nathan Ruegger, the voice of Skippy Squirrel in Animaniacs, would often be tickled by his father while he was recording to make his laughter sound more genuine.
When Jonathon Taylor Thomas voiced Young Simba for The Lion King, they tapped his back for the scene where Simba is yelling while sliding down the back of an elephant's skeleton. When they were recording Mufasa's death scene, the director pointed at Jonathon's mother and said "Imagine you just saw your mother fall off a cliff." He got a little too into the mental image and screamed "MOM!"
Somewhat inverted in the Danish dub of The Lion King: During the recording of the scene where Mufasa has just died, the dialogue director noticed that the kid voicing Simba sounded genuinely sad and asked him if he wanted to take a break. During the break the kid told him that his father had actually just died.
For Marge's message to Homer in The Simpsons Movie, Julie Kavner was put through around 100 takes to get the exhausted-sounding delivery they wanted.
The earliest Peanuts specials were done this way - since Charles Schultz and Bill Melendez insisted on real child voice actors, some of whom couldn't yet read, dialogue was fed to the kids line-by-line or sometimes word-by-word. Arguably the best example is Sally's confused speech ("All I want is what's coming to me! All I want is my fair share!") in A Charlie Brown Christmas.
During voice recordings for the film Para Norman, there were several times when Kodi Smit-Mc Phee (while playing Norman) would have to physically shake himself both sitting and standing in order to produce the effect for certain scenes (the bathroom scene and when the Judge zombie tries to break into the car).
Universal Studios theme park loves to do this to visitors. Unannounced surprises will jump out from behind every corner. In the Backdraft theme attraction, which uses real fire, guests are specifically asked to "act", and just when you think you're done, suddenly the bulkhead overhead falls down to narrowly miss you.
While Universal Studios Florida lacks Backdraft, a similar stunt is pulled in the Twister attraction, where the guests stand and watch a tornado hit the drive-in, including shattering windows, fire, a flying cow (of course), and an actual vortex in the center of the attraction. As the show ends, the platforms that the people are standing on suddenly drop several inches with a loud clang!
Jim Carrey was known to ambush tourists during filming of Man on the Moon, running at the tour bus out of the Psycho set. While his version of The Tonight Show was running, Conan O'Brien and his announcer Andy Richter would occasionally do the same thing at the same attraction at Universal Studios California.
There's a meme where people watch shock videos for the first time and record their reactions.
"Skip Beat!: This is Kyoko's main way of acting; she enforces it on herself. Examples include:
Sho's music video in which she uses her own relationship with Moko to understand the sadness of killing a man her best friend loves and having her friend forever hate her, but also relishing in the joy of saving that same friend.
Kyoko does this when she gets into her character for Dark Moon. Everyone's shock is real because they didn't know how Kyoko would present her character. It was so unexpected and shocking that Director Ogata falls to his knees.
Big emphasis on Kyoko did for Box R with Amamiya and the rest of the girls. They were supposed to bully a girl in a cruel manner. Kyoko is so caught up in character that she begins to goad the rest of the girls into bullying the girl for real, forcing the girl to drink cup after cup of tea and nearly choking her. Even Kyoko is amazed at how far she went when she finally breaks character.
Code Geass, Season 1 Episode 16: In order to keep the psychic Mao from learning about his rescue plan, Lelouch uses his Evil Eye on himself to erase his memory of the plan. Thus when he goes and faces Mao in a literally Unwinnable game of chess, his fear and anguish are 100% authentic; he realizes the truth after Suzaku busts in and says "Your plan worked perfectly!"
In Bleach episode 298, Ichigo is filming a movie directed by Abarai Renji, with special effects provided by Kuchiki Byakuya. Said special effects include Byakuya attacking Ichigo with his Bankai. Ouch.
Ichigo: Why am I the only one whose getting beat up?! The explosions are too powerful, the attacks are precise, and I get shoved down from crazy places without warning!
Renji: You did some great acting in every one of those scenes.
Ichigo:I wasn't acting!
Koe de Oshigoto! 's heroine is a not-quite-legal schoolgirl who is an eroge seijuu for her sister's company. Her orgasms during recording are real, fueled by her own imagination.
The fictional director in Bolt ran Bolt's life this way. The words "method acting" are even mentioned by the exec who came to evaluate the show.
Director: And if the dog believes it... the audience will believe it.
In Superman Returns, Lex Luthor cuts the brakes on his assistant's car so that her screams for help will be authentic. When she confronts him later, he explains that if she hadn't really been terrified, Superman would be able to tell.
Tropic Thunder uses this trope in the plot, which involves a director filming a movie about The Vietnam War dropping his five actors into the Golden Triangle of Asia while riddling the jungle with hidden cameras as advised by Shell Shocked Senior Four Leaf Tayback.
In Epic Movie, while trying to escape a prison cell, Captain Swallows stabs Edward in the abdomen to ensure his pain is realistic enough to get the guards in.
Just the basic concept of Bowfinger is an extreme version of this, where the main lead, Kit Ramsey, doesn't even know he's in a movie, and all his scenes are filmed in secret because the titular film director couldn't afford to actually hire him.
One Sherlock Holmes story, "The Dying Detective", has Holmes appear to be dying. Of course, it turns out that he's perfectly fine and was only acting so that Watson's reactions to it (and subsequent conversation with the suspect who had tried to poison him) would be genuine enough to convince said suspect.
Of course the method in which Holmes "acts" sick qualifies under the trope as well: he spends three days without eating or drinking, putting himself to death's door to make the deception as authentic as possible!
A far crueler example is when Holmes fakes his own death for three years, leaving Watson alone even though his wife has died. Upon Holmes's return, Watson is quick to reprimand him for this. Holmes states that it was essential the world believed him dead, and Watson's behavior wouldn't be convincing enough if it was an act. Though the cruelty is mitigated by the fact that Holmes was laying low to protect both his life and Watson's, and explaining that the death of Watson's wife was the reason he ended his isolation.
The desperate haphazard plan Fisk comes up with in the first book of the Knight and Rogue Series, to drug the Mad Scientist Ceciel they're escaping from and pretend that he and she are going out to perform some sacrifice or another with Michael, nearly falls apart when a guard see's Ceciel's rather vacant face and bad actor Michael's fairly unconcerned expression. There's nothing to be done about the drugged look, so Fisk gets Michael to panic by beginning to talk about how they're sacrificing his 'fertility'.
In The Hunger Games, this happens repeatedly with Katniss. She can't act, and so is never warned about Peeta's interview strategies so her reactions will be genuine. By the third book, this has escalated to dropping her into a war zone in order to film propaganda because the studio shoots never work.
Well, they put her in a hospital with real victims at first. No one was expecting the bombers to turn up. And when they do, they try to keep her out of the fighting, but she goes in anyway and they keep the camera rolling.
In Barbara Hambly's Search the Seven Hills, a troupe of girls playing nymphs is entertaining a Roman banquet when a troupe of actors as satyrs burst out on them. Marcus notes that either the girls were consummate actresses, or they had not expected to be actually molested by the satyrs.
In-universe example: In The Wizard of Sunset Strip, a special-effects adept conjures a real demon onto the set during the filming of a Human Sacrifice scene. The actress playing the "victim" freaks out for real, but the crew assume it's an illusion and keep on filming, only realizing she's genuinely terrified when she faints.
Reserved For The Cat: When Jonathan and Ninette are practicing a new illusion for Jonathan's act, he doesn't bother to tell Ninette that the flames she's about to see (while she's locked in a box) are magically-created fake flames. He then learns that you don't want to get kicked by a ballerina.
Live Action Television
The Conspiracy Theories episode of Community takes this Up to Eleven, with Jeff, Annie, the Dean, a police officer, and the theater professor all shooting each other with fake guns in order to prove a point. Each the time, someone thinks that the gun is real and freaks out.
The opening-night production of Macbeth in Slings and Arrows includes an In-Universe version; Slings and Arrows is a story about a theater company, and director Geoffrey Tennant is not above manipulating his performers to get results. In order to get the performance he wants out of his recalcitrant Macbeth, Geoffrey changes all the blocking at the last minute, inserts a small tree at a strategic location, and gives secret instructions to Macbeth's opponents in fight scenes.
In Breakout Kings, Ray forces this upon Lloyd when he enacts a plan that involves letting their captive crook swipe his keys and his (unloaded) gun so that she'll take them straight to her partner as hostages. Needless to say, Lloyd is less than thrilled.
In Victorious Sikowitz threw himself down a flight of stairs to realistically portray a person in pain.
Inverted in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "School Hard", where Angel brings Xander with him and pretends to have captured food in order to get close to Spike. Xander, not liking or trusting Angel, is somewhere between believing it and not. Apparently, though, it was Angel's performance that was suspect, as Spike pulls away at the last moment to cheap shot Angel. Afterwards, Xander asks what would have happened if Spike had bitten Xander.
Angel: Then we would have known he bought it.
The Avatar in Fire Emblem: Awakening hears about how Walhart will kill Basilio after he and Flavia attack the conquerer. Knowing that the Fire Emblem might be stolen by the Grimleal (Namely Validar) s/he and Basilio devise a plan for Basilio to fake death to the Conqueror, and not actually tell Flavia so her cries when catching up with Chrom are legit. Later on, The avatar proves correct - the Fire Emblem is stolen, but the green gem was replaced with a fake and Basilio was not actually dead. Just as Validar (and Lucina) had thought, Grima tries to possess the avatar... but the avatar attacks Chrom anyways and weakens the attack so Chrom survives... but s/he does not tell Chrom or Lucina that they'll do that, so their Big "NO!" and reactions will genuinely fool Validar. Cue Basilio walking in talking about how they fooled them all.
In The Simpsons, when filming the Radioactive Man movie, the director informs Rainier Wolfcastle at the last second that the acid being used in one of the scenes is real. What follows is one of the most memorable moments in Simpsons history.
King of the Hill has Dale try this in one episode, and it actually backfires spectacularly: He tries to sue a tobacco company on the grounds that cigarette smoke made his wife Nancy uglier, and doesn't tell her his plan so she won't have to lie under oath. He overdoes it though, and endangers his marriage by insulting Nancy too harshly. He then spends his entire courtroom appearance establishing that he loves his wife, saving his marriage but destroying his case in the process.
In the Teen Titans episode "Masks," Robin doesn't tell his teammates that he's disguised himself as Red X because he wants their reactions to be believable in order to fool Slade.
In-universe examples for the animated band Gorillaz: according to their biography, Rise of the Ogre, the band weren't told by their director Jamie Hewlett about the 300-foot elk that appears at the end of the "19/2000" video, so they'd look appropriately surprised. Also, the Groin Attack Murdoc suffers at the hands of the zombie ape in "Clint Eastwood" was apparently real, and caused his genitals to "swell up like big purple melons".
In one of the bonus strips from The Order of the Stick, Elan is trying to gain roleplaying XP by bemoaning a light wound. Belkar decides to help him with his motivation. Injury and Stabbing Ensue.