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Actor-Inspired Element

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"In large part, the reason I got the part [as Ahsoka Tano] is that Dave saw a lot of my own personality in the audition that he wanted me to bring to the character. So in the very beginning, he said more of what got me the part was my talking and action in between takes of my audition versus my actual audition itself, really. And so he said, 'Definitely bring a lot of your own personality to the character,' and he would often ask me [what I thought]."
Ashley Eckstein on Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars

Some element of a work, be it certain dialogue or the classic clothing of a character, wasn't chosen by the creators or the responsible department of the crew, but by the actor. Maybe they walked into set one day wearing leather pants and the director thought the look "just worked" for their character when the possibility had never been discussed before. Maybe they suggested that adding some lines to the conversation would be beneficial to their Character Development.

Something an actor does with the character which the producer likes either before or after they get the role would also count. These may be examples of Cast the Expert. This excludes improvisations that were included in the final cut, as some precognition and crew approval is polite when you're about to overthrow their production.


This is something from Real Life often portrayed behind the scenes of the Show Within a Show In-Universe.

May overlap with Actor-Shared Background, and sometimes Throw It In!. Compare The Cast Show Off, when an actor uses some of their Real Life skills in their performance; Harpo Does Something Funny, when the writers understand that this is inevitable; The Danza, when the actor names their character after themself. When an animated character's appearance and mannerisms are affected by that of the celebrity voice actor's appearance and actions in the recording studio, that's Ink-Suit Actor.

This is so prevalent, even HM The Queen has done it.

When an element of a work is inspired by fans or WMG, it's Ascended Fanon.

See also: Directed by Cast Member, Written by Cast Member, and Meta Casting.



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    Films — Animated 
  • In Kung Fu Panda, Po was originally meant to be a Parody Sue character who wondered why the Furious Five didn't like him, but actor Jack Black thought the audience would sympathize more with him if he was more aware of his flaws.
  • For Frozen, Anna's voice actor Kristen Bell pushed for Anna to be more goofy, wanting a flawed, realistic heroine. Her catchphrase, "Wait, what?", came from Kristen, who also requested Anna wake up with bedhead and have a tendency to "put her foot in her mouth."
  • Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective was originally designed to be thin and frail, but the animators were so impressed by Vincent Price's hammy performance, that they changed Ratigan's design to match it.
  • Sherri Stoner served as live-action reference for both Ariel in The Little Mermaid and Belle in Beauty and the Beast. She has the tendency of getting her hair out of her face which translated into Ariel's bang blowing and in the way Belle always pushes a hair lock away from her eyes. Also, Ariel's lip biting.
  • In Brave, since the actors were Scottish and the writers were not, the actors were encouraged to rephrase their lines into something they would say, giving every character their actor's speech patterns. This makes every character not only authentically Scottish but authentically from the region of Scotland, their actor is from. In particular, Kevin McKidd had the idea that Lord MacGuffin's son speak entirely in Doric, a Scottish dialect that's virtually unrecognizable as English, rather than the original idea that he simply speak in an indecipherably-thick Scottish accent. As a result, McKidd plays both MacGuffin and his son, as he was the only person available who knew Doric.
  • Sacha Baron Cohen provided two of the most famous aspects of the Madagascar films and his character, King Julien:
    • In the original script, Cedric the Entertainer's character, Maurice, was the king of the lemurs and Julien was his advisor. Baron Cohen pointed out that an Only Sane Man king having a buffoonish advisor didn't make much sense, and that the inverse would work better. This gave the script a much better dynamic while also scoring himself a bigger role than Cedric.
    • The obscure '90s song "I Like To Move It, Move It" was originally used as background music in the lemur party scene. Baron Cohen heard the song and asked if he could record a cover in-character as Julien. The song is now the franchise's theme song and is certainly no longer obscure if inextricably connected to the films.
  • Near the beginning of Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Milo complains about why he hated carrots before boarding the submarine. Michael J. Fox, his voice actor, also dislikes carrots.
  • In The Swan Princess, Rothbart is seen doing one-armed push-ups in a scene. Jack Palance did the same thing when he won an Oscar for his role in City Slickers.
  • In Tangled, Rapunzel is always portrayed as being barefoot, much like her voice actress Mandy Moore.
  • In Moana, Maui does the People's Eyebrow at one point, a gesture Dwayne Johnson is known for.
  • In Cars 2, Miles Axlerod apparently got his name from a joke his voice actor Eddie Izzard told involving the wheel and axle.
  • In Coco, Miguel was written as an aspiring guitarist, but he was also made a singer after young singer Anthony Gonzalez was cast.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Halloween (1978), the script originally called for Dr. Loomis to look shocked in the final scene, when Michael's body disappears from the front lawn. Donald Pleasence suggested that he should instead play it with a grim "I should've guessed this would happen" expression. John Carpenter decided to shoot the scene both ways for comparison; Pleasence's version was the one finally used in the film.
  • After getting the role of Mr. Magorium in Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium Dustin Hoffman gave the character a speech impediment, because why not, he's already good-crazy.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Jack Sparrow's way of talking and behaving was basically Johnny Depp adding to a character that was far more low-brow in concept.
  • During the open casting call for The Last Airbender, creator M. Night Shyamalan received a video of Noah Ringer doing performance martial arts. He never originally thought about casting Ringer (saying that he thought "wow, that's cool", but didn't originally intend to have so much of it in, or not quite so awesome), but then called him in for some acting auditions and screen tests to see if he could double anyway, and was apparently so impressed by the boy, who does look a lot like Aang as well, that he was hired.
  • In Blade Runner the 'Tears In The Rain' monologue was written by actor Rutger Hauer when he didn't like the original lines, which was originally a much longer and more formal monologue (Hauer cut more than half of it out and added several of his own lines). Notably, the modifications included the "like tears in the rain" addition at the end.
  • There's a scene in Brokeback Mountain where Ennis finds his and Jack's jacket hanged in the latter's childhood closet with Ennis's tugged inside Jack's. When Ennis brings them home at the end, the position is reversed. This reversal was Heath Ledger's idea. Annie Proulx approved so much of this detail that she wrote it into the libretto for the opera adaptation of her story.
  • The Joker from The Dark Knight licks his lips while he talks a lot. Word of God states that this was a result of Heath Ledger being annoyed by the feeling of the scar prosthetics and unconsciously licking at them because of it. After seeing him do it a few times with the full make-up and finding it seriously creepy, they decided to just make it part of the character.
  • In Full Metal Jacket, R. Lee Ermey turned Gunnery Sergeant Hartman from a stern but understanding officer (read: unmemorable character) into the trash-talking debasing Drill Sergeant Nasty that has now become iconic.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Apparently Robert Downey Jr. kept hiding/eating snacks on the set during certain scenes of The Avengers (2012), so eventually it was incorporated into the film; "Blueberry?"
    • In Doctor Strange (2016), the scene where the Cloak of Levitation wipes away Strange's tears wasn't in the original script. On the day they were filming the scene, actor Benedict Cumberbatch suggested the idea to the producer, who burst out laughing and liked it so much he directed the special effects crew to make it happen.
  • Star Wars:
    • Harrison Ford figured Han Solo not to be a guy who would say "I love you" back to Leia before being frozen in carbonite in The Empire Strikes Back, so after much-heated discussion with George Lucas, he was allowed to change it to the now-iconic "I know", a line more befitting of the Lovable Rogue.
    • The famous violet Lightsaber used by Mace Windu in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith was the suggestion of his actor, Samuel L. Jackson. Supposedly, he wanted to be able to spot himself easily in large fight scenes (and purple was his favorite color).
    • The reason Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones and his son Boba speak with their actors' native New Zealand accents because Lucas heard them and thought they sounded so exotic they had to keep them.
  • Pitch Perfect: Beca's singing "When I'm Gone" as her audition piece was because Anna Kendrick already knew that song, having seen it on a Viral video and spent an afternoon learning it.
    • It was Ester Dean's idea to have Alexis Knapp join her in a duet of S&M.
  • The Addams Family: It was Christina Ricci's idea to have Wednesday Addams fold her arms on her chest like a corpse being laid out for a funeral when Wednesday was being tucked into bed. Ricci was about 10 at the time.
  • In Rocket Science Ginny's comment "I upped your game, little man" was inserted into the script by Blitz from a journal which he asked Anna Kendrick to write in character.
  • In the Harry Potter movies, Lucius Malfoy's snake walking stick (with his wand in it) was a suggestion by Jason Isaacs. Isaacs also suggested other elements of the character's appearance such as his long hair and elaborate robes, arguing that it was in character of Lucius, an elitist and wizard supremacist, to have a dignified but distinctly un-Muggle appearance. The original costume concept, by contrast, would have had short-cropped hair and a black pinstriped suit.
    • In the same series, several of Luna's accessories, most notably her radish earrings, were actually made by her actress Evanna Lynch on her own initiative, and the directors liked them so much they let her include them.
  • In Carrie (1976) the red baseball cap Norma wears was brought in by PJ Soles. She was initially only cast for two weeks, but Brian De Palma liked her Throw It In! of hitting Sissy Spacek with the caps during one scene and her role was greatly expanded.
  • Mandy Moore cut her hair short for the film How To Deal because she felt it fit her character. Producers were not happy but they decided on a compromise - Moore would wear hair extensions for the first part of the film and then the character would get an Important Haircut.
  • Hannah Spearritt found some red hair dye just before she was to go to Barcelona to film the S Club 7 movie. She colored the ends of her hair and the director liked it, so he had her keep it in for the film.
  • The title character's memorable Establishing Character Moment in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, in which he feigns a limp and leans on a cane before executing a perfect somersault, was Gene Wilder's idea.
    • When the kids were signing the contract to not give away the Everlasting Gobstoppers, Julie Dawn Cole, who played Spoiled Brat Veruca Salt, decided to do a Lying Finger Cross while she signed. The director didn't know what this meant, but after the kids explained it to him he put it in the film.
  • Because The Family was written by a Frenchman (Luc Besson) but the dialogue was modern Americans and Italians interacting the main cast (consisting of Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron, Tommy Lee Jones, and John D'Leo) were asked by Besson to advise him on how the general sentiment would actually be said. D'Leo said somewhat jokingly in an interview that because of it he felt cheated out of a writing credit.
  • The character of Number Six in I Am Number Four has a South Australian accent because Teresa Palmer is from Adelaide and wanted to use her natural dialect.
  • When Johnny Depp was cast as The Big Bad Wolf in Into the Woods, he suggested that the character be designed like the wolf in Tex Avery's Red Hot Riding Hood.
  • Star Trek:
  • Samuel L. Jackson accidentally lapsed into his long-lost lisp during a reading of Kingsman: The Secret Service. Matthew Vaughn told him to keep it, given the speech impediment fit the scars and such of James Bond villains.
  • When she was cast to play Rita in Groundhog Day, Andie MacDowell asked director Harold Ramis if she could play the part using her natural South Carolina accent.
  • Divergent:
    • Theo James opted not to bulk up too much feeling a slender and athletic build was more suited for Four.
    • In The Divergent Series: Allegiant Christina controls her drones with her right hand when everyone else uses their left. This is due to Zoe Kravitz being left-handed.
  • While filming the hovercraft chase scene at the beginning of Serenity, director Joss Whedon told actor Nathan Fillion to "say something Mal would say." The result was the perfectly in-character line, "Faster! Faster! Faster would be better!"
  • A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints:
    • In real life, Laurie was white. But when Rosario Dawson expressed interest in playing her, the movie rewrote her to be part Puerto Rican.
    • Likewise the real Mike was Irish. After seeing Martin Compston in another film, the filmmakers changed the character to a Scot to accommodate him.
  • The Devil Wears Prada:
    • Meryl Streep changed Miranda's line from "everyone wants to be me" to "everyone wants to be us", feeling the former was too dramatic.
    • Emily Blunt had the idea that Emily would frequently be seen running around in the background of certain scenes, giving the impression that she was always on the go.
  • Snake Plissken's Eyepatch of Power in Escape from New York was Kurt Russell's idea.
  • Ace Ventura's voice and speech mannerisms were added by Jim Carrey only after several read-throughs of the script. The voice was something Carrey used in his stand up routine. The "All righty then" was the catchphrase of one of his stand up characters and after the lines from the script weren't feeling right, he added it to the script and read through it again using that voice for all the lines. It was such an improvement that it became the main Ace Ventura personality trait. Carrey came up with "Alrighty then" and other lines specifically because he thought they might catch on. The hand gesture Ventura gave before leaving the police station was also something Carrey intended to become popular. It did not.
  • Alex DeLarge's Droog costume in A Clockwork Orange is not in the original novel.note  Malcolm McDowell was an avid cricket fan, and when he came in for a costume fitting with his gear, including protective cup, Stanley Kubrick told him to keep them out and incorporate his white shirt and cup into the costume. When McDowell started to dress by putting the jockstrap under his pants, Kubrick told him it would look better over his trousers instead, and the look made it into the final movie.
  • Clint Eastwood helped create The Man With No Name's costume. He bought the black jeans from a sports shop on Hollywood Boulevard, the hat came from a Santa Monica wardrobe firm and the trademark black cigars came from a Beverly Hills store. Eastwood himself cut the cigars into three pieces to make them shorter. Eastwood himself is a non-smoker.
  • Kate in A Knight's Tale was not written to be Scottish, and Laura Fraser auditioned using an English accent. They instead had her use her natural Scottish accent, the first time she had been able to do so in a film.
  • A similar element from above was used during production on the 2000 children's film Thomas and the Magic Railroad. Mr. Conductor's childlike and pretty-looking younger cousin, Junior, was originally written to be English, but after Michael E. Rodgers told Britt Allcroft that he was Scottish, she was so impressed that she rewrote Junior's nationality to let Michael use his normal Scottish accent, since, according to Michael himself, she loved Scotland.
  • According to Sigourney Weaver, Lambert in the original script for Alien was the Deadpan Snarker of the group and also the Only Sane Man - who wouldn't crack up until the end. Veronica Cartwright made her into more of a Woobie, to give the audience someone to sympathize with.
  • From Aliens:
    • James Cameron let the actors playing the Marines customize their costumes much like soldiers in The Vietnam War did to their combat gear. Bill Paxton wrote 'Louise' on his, as a dedication to his wife. Cynthia Dale Scott (Dietrich) wrote "Blue Angel" on the back of her helmet (as a Shout-Out to a film starring Marlene Dietrich). Jenette Goldstein wrote a Spanish phrase onto hers, translating as "the risk always survives", perhaps a loose translation of the SAS's famous motto "Who Dares Wins". The exception was Michael Biehn, who was a late addition. He wasn't happy that his gear had a heart on it because he felt it looked too much like a bullseye.
    • Sigourney Weaver gave Cameron several notes after reading the script - detailing how she thought Ripley would react to certain situations. Cameron was all too happy to listen to her ideas.
    • Subverted in another case. Lance Henriksen wanted to wear double pupil contact lenses for the scene where Spunkmeyer gets creeped out by Bishop in the med lab. He came to set with the lenses but the director assured him he was creepy enough already.
  • Bradley Cooper suggested that Richie in American Hustle should have a perm, and also to have him wearing curlers in the scene at his apartment.
  • For Angels with Dirty Faces, James Cagney drew on his memories of growing up in New York City's Yorkville, a tough ethnic neighborhood on the upper east side, just south of Spanish Harlem. His main inspiration was a drug-addicted pimp who stood on a street corner all day hitching his trousers, twitching his neck, and repeating, "Whadda ya hear! Whadda ya say!" Those mannerisms came back to haunt Cagney. He later wrote in his autobiography, "I did those gestures maybe six times in the picture. That was over thirty years ago - and the impressionists have been doing me doing him ever since."
  • The suit that Macreedy wears in Bad Day at Black Rock was bought by Spencer Tracy off the rack, at his insistence. Also, the script called for Macreedy to light matches one-handed. Tracy had difficulty with this and convinced director John Sturges to let him use a Zippo lighter, as every veteran he ever met had one.
  • Christopher Walken came up with the idea of Max Shreck in Batman Returns wearing cuff-links made from human molars, having seen it in The Great Gatsby (1974).
  • Michael Powell wanted Sister Ruth to act crazier when she enters Mr. Dean's house in Black Narcissus. Kathleen Byron, however, insisted that she should be happy at finally being in the house of the man she loves.
  • Adèle Exarchopoulos' table manners were incorporated into her character in Blue Is the Warmest Color and also became a defining trait.
  • Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins worked together to create a background for the sisters in Blue Jasmine. Even though it's vague in the script, whenever the sisters talked about their past, the actresses knew exactly what they were talking about.
  • Rather a lot about the characters in Boyhood was inspired by their actors' experiences. Mason Sr is a Texan insurance agent that divorced and remarried, like Ethan Hawke's father (and Linklater's father too). Olivia resumes her education late in life and becomes a psychotherapist, like Patricia Arquette's mother. Additionally, Olivia is the name of Arquette's mother in real life.
  • Peter Sarsgaard felt the need to make John in Boys Don't Cry more charismatic than he was described in the script - to make it believable that everyone would want to hang out with him.
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula: Dracula was just supposed to appear as himself when he's caught with Mina. Gary Oldman felt that he wouldn't be intimidating enough, and so the bat costume was created. Funnily enough, he still didn't find himself scary in that at first.
  • Harry Tuttle's toolbelt and gadgets in Brazil were designed by Robert De Niro himself.
  • In The Wolf of Wall Street, Mike Hanna's chest-thumping and humming ritual is actually something his actor Matthew McConaughey does to psyche himself up between takes. Scorcese incorporated it into his character.
  • Crispin Glover didn't like the dialogue his character, the Thin Man, was given in Charlie's Angels (2000), so he suggested they throw out all his lines and never have him speak at all - the director agreed to it because it made the character seem more mysterious. Other eccentricities of the Thin Man, such as ripping women's hair out and sniffing it or shrieking during fight scenes, were also suggested by Glover.
  • In Crazy Rich Asians, Michelle Yeoh was not impressed with the original ring that Eleanor was supposed to wear (and Nick would use to propose to Rachel) due to the restricted budget. So she ended up using a ring from her own jewelry collection.
  • In Blade Runner 2049, the harsh test K and other replicant Blade Runners have to go through after every mission, consisting of a barrage of often insulting questions during which they must keep their composure at all times and reply only with "Cells" or "Interlinked", was an idea by Ryan Gosling, who based it on an acting practice he knew. In fact, he wrote the scene himself, with his original draft being eight minutes long, which was cut down in the final film. Originally, the test would have been similar to the one in the opening of Blade Runner.
  • Go: Timothy Olyphant proposed giving his character a neck tattoo to emphasize him being a dirtbag. The director Doug Liman nixed the idea, but Olyphant went ahead and asked the makeup department to give him a temporary tattoo shortly before filming his first scene. When Olyphant presented it to Liman, he had apparently forgotten they'd ever discussed it and let him keep it.
  • In Prospect, Ezra's blonde streak came from Pedro Pascal deciding to dye part of his hair white, only to mess it up, with no time to dye it again.
  • In The Rock, it was Nicolas Cage's idea that his character, Dr. Stanley Goodspeed, would not swear and would use minced oaths instead, such as "gee whiz", "a-hole", and "Zeus's butthole".
  • For the Irish film Spears, the character Ashaki was written to be Middle-Eastern. When someone recommended Kaireht Yovera for the part, Gerard Lough was compelled to rewrite her to be Venezuelan.
  • A lot of the clothes worn by Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski was stuff he brought from home. One shirt, in particular, has appeared in quite a few of his movies.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24:
    • Sarah Clarke auditioned for and was cast as Nina just one day before filming began and the wardrobe department didn't have time to give her a fitting, so she ended up wearing what she wore to the audition as her costume. Due to the premise of the show occurring over the course of one day in real time, she wore her own outfit for the rest of the season. Differs from Throw It In! in that it was at Clarke's suggestion.
    • Tony Almeida's ever-present Chicago Cubs mug reflects the fact that actor Carlos Bernard is a huge fan.
  • Barney Miller: After writers saw Jack Soo eat take-out Chinese food using a pair of pencils as chopsticks, they had his character, Nick Yemana, do the same thing. The bit where Yemana accidentally ate the eraser off the end of a pencil was the writers' invention.
  • In Bewitched, the reason Samantha wiggled her nose to cast spells is that actress Elizabeth Montgomery had the very rare ability to wiggle her nose.
  • Happened quite a few times on Breaking Bad. Walt's physical appearance — his hair and mustache and being slightly overweight — were all Bryan Cranston's suggestions. Saul's comb-over was the first thing Bob Odenkirk suggested when he was invited to play the character. Marie's profession (X-ray technician) was suggested by Betsy Brandt because she wanted her to look respectable in a Labcoat of Science and Medicine but not actually be a doctor. And Jesse shaving his head at the beginning of season 4 was Aaron Paul's idea. Vince Gilligan always praises the collaborative nature of the series, so there's likely even more instances.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy Summers would develop a seething hatred of guns after Warren killed Tara with one. In real life, her actress Doesn't Like Guns because her husband's father, Freddie Prinze Sr., killed himself with one. Her anti-gun stance would eventually be incorporated into most of her later roles.
    • Spike has a cool scar on one eyebrow, and so does actor James Marsters. He assumed makeup artists would want to cover it up, but instead they recognized it suited his badass character and enhanced its appearance.
  • A variation in Charmed. In the fifth season, Paige abruptly was seen with a different guy every week. Her actress Rose McGowan went to producers and said: "Paige isn't a ho" - resulting in more long term romance plots for her. In a straighter example, Rose contributed to most of Paige's wardrobe in Season 4.
  • Don Ramón, from El Chavo del ocho, was practically his actor, Ramón Valdez, just without a stable income. Other actors and his relatives stated that Don Ramón's mannerisms and clothing were the same Ramón Valdez used in real life. Chespirito, the director, allegedly only gave Ramón Valdez one instruction on how to be Don Ramón - being himself.
  • Criminal Minds: Garcia's quirky glasses and outfits are from Kirsten Vangness's own wardrobe. She actually mentioned on Nerdist that she ended up being promoted to a regular after she requested to get a particular dress of hers back from wardrobe because she needed it for another gig. Fearing they would lose her to another show, the producers added her to the main cast.
  • Several CSI characters were renamed by the actors. William Petersen chose Grissom's last name in honor of astronaut Gus Grissom. Gary Sinise named Mac Taylor, who was to be called Rick Castelluci, after his son, McCanna "Mac", and his Forrest Gump character, Lt. Dan Taylor. It was also Gary's idea for Mac to have lost his wife on 9/11.
  • Daredevil (2015):
    • Deborah Ann Woll came up with the idea that the necklace Karen wears in all her scenes was her mother's.
    • Deborah Ann Woll also had influence on Karen's backstory episode in season 3, wanting something that acknowledged Karen's time as a drug addict in the "Born Again" story but which gave Karen more agency.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Most, if not all, actors taking the lead role have had at least some input into their costume design and their Doctor's idiosyncrasies.
      • The First Doctor's Character Tic of Accidental Misnaming was inspired by William Hartnell's difficulty remembering the name "Ian Chesterton" in rehearsal. Since it fit the Doctor's detached and absent-minded personality perfectly, and because William Russell (who played Chesterton) was able to make the cast and crew crack up by adlibbing around them, it was agreed it would become one of his most memorable quirks. (Some fans believe that the manglings of "Chesterton" in the series itself are all genuine flubs, but a quick look at the script proves this is not the case.)
      • Patrick Troughton played the recorder himself, and always carried his recorder with him. This quirk was ported straight into the character of his Doctor. The Second Doctor's Social Expertise also stemmed from Troughton, an intuitive people-watcher who loved reading social dynamics — this impressed Gerry Davis enough that he insisted Troughton play the Doctor like that.
      • Jon Pertwee was a gadgets and cars aficionado, and asked if these could be incorporated into his character, along with a moment or two of "charm". Suffice to say his Doctor became the closest to James Bond.
      • The Fourth Doctor offering Sarah Jane jelly babies was the brainchild of Tom Baker and he ran with it. The fact that Tom Baker's favorite jelly babies were the orange ones was eventually written into the character in "The Invasion of Time". Also, the Attention Whore characteristics written into the character from Season 15 onward were added when the crew realized they weren't able to stop Tom Baker hamming it up for attention anymore.
      • Peter Davison suggested his cricket outfit, as he was a fan of the sport.
      • It was Colin Baker's idea for the Sixth Doctor to wear a cat badge.
      • The Seventh Doctor's hat actually belonged to Sylvester McCoy.
      • Christopher Eccleston suggested that the Ninth Doctor wear a leather jacket, as he wanted a less showy costume than those of his predecessors.
      • David Tennant came up with the Tenth Doctor's trenchcoat, having seen Jamie Oliver wear one on a talk show. The Converse trainers were also his idea.
      • Steven Moffat conceptualized Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor with a piratical theme and personality, so when Smith asked to wear a bow tie and to have a dotty and professorial personality, Moffat rejected it out of hand, calling it a "cartoon idea" of what the Doctor is like. However, Smith eventually persuaded Moffat to give this persona a spin, and Moffat realized it worked perfectly and wrote the scripts to suit.

        The Drunk Giraffe Dance was entirely Smith, based on a line in the script that just said the Doctor should dance badly.
      • According to a Reddit AMA with the writer of "Mummy on the Orient Express", a scene where the Twelfth Doctor offers a cigar case to someone he's interrogating only to reveal it's full of jelly babies was Peter Capaldi's idea.

        Capaldi's past as the guitarist of a punk band (with Craig Ferguson!) was also added to the series, with the Doctor playing guitar in many Series 9 episodes.

        He also helped design his costume so that it would be easier for cosplayers to replicate.
      • Jodie Whittaker collaborated with costume designer Ray Holman on designing her costume; during their first meeting about it, Whittaker got completely distracted by the colour of the wallpaper behind them, told Holman she absolutely loved that color, and it ended up becoming the colour of the Thirteenth Doctor's trousers.

        She suggested Thirteen's first words of "Oh, brilliant!", as it really is something she says a lot herself. She also started prior to her first full series that she'd try to fit in another expression she often uses, "Ace!"note 

        The biscuit (cookie) dispenser in the Thirteenth Doctor's TARDIS dispenses custard creams, which are Whittaker's favorite. The set designers put it in as a surprise for her.
    • This has also happened regarding a couple incarnations of the Doctor's archenemy, the Master:
      • When his incarnation of the Master returned in Series 10, John Simm grew a Beard of Evil before the rehearsals, and Moffat went along with it. (Simm was originally cast as intentionally not looking like the original series Masters, but as the foil to Missy's attempted Heel–Face Turn, playing up his Classic Master aspects made sense.)
      • When Sacha Dhawan was asked if he had any ideas for what he wanted his Master's wardrobe to look like, he sent in a bunch of pictures of Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner.
    • According to the creative team at the time, Jo Grant's Cute Clumsy Girl persona was very much inspired by Katy Manning arriving at the audition without her glasses on.
  • Branson of Downton Abbey was going to be from Yorkshire but actor Allen Leech tried in both that and his native Irish accent. Lord Fellowes decided he liked this and it became the character's entire identity, the change in nationality basically writing its own subplots for the last four series.
  • On Friends, Joey Tribbiani was not originally written as a dim-witted character. Matt Le Blanc suggested it.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Julian Glover is remarkably spry for his age. This lead to the producers amending the role of Pycelle to make it clear that he is not as weak and feeble as he appears.
    • The Northerners having actual Oop North accents came from Sean Bean. When rehearsing for the pilot, creators suggested he keep his natural accent and then told the rest of the actors playing the Starks to match him. This pretty much influenced many casting decisions in the future. Rose Leslie was in fact cast as Ygritte because the show runners had heard her do a northern accent on Downton Abbey.
    • The small unheard prayer that Ned mutters upon his death was an actual prayer of Bean's choice.
    • When Pedro Pascal auditioned for the role of Oberyn Martell, he emphasized the Dornish prince's cultural and behavioral differences with the people of King's Landing by speaking in an accent reminiscent of his Chilean father, which carried over into the final show.
  • On Glee, after Cory Monteith died the producers asked Lea Michele — star and Cory's girlfriend — what she would like to happen with his character, Finn. She opted for The Character Died with Him, and a few seasons got rewritten.
  • The Hawaii Five-0 Fan Built Episode was originally conceived when Masi Oka suggested that they should do an episode with multiple endings; having fans vote on the various elements leading up to the end was just a step away.
  • Hiro's time-stopping powers on Heroes are extremely special-effects intensive. Luckily, actor Masi Oka worked at Industrial Light and Magic before breaking into acting, and so he knew a thing or two about how special effects crews worked and would often suggest that shots be filmed a certain way to ease the burden on the VFX team.
    • The "Ninety Angry Ronin" Hiro makes Kensei fight were originally known as the "Ninety Hungry Ronin" (supplementary material had revealed they were cannibals) but this was changed due to Masi Oka not being able to clearly pronounce the word "hungry".
  • How I Met Your Mother does this a lot. Notably, Neil Patrick Harris' skill with magic tricks was transferred to Barney, while Marshall has Jason Segel's penchant for writing songs about mundane things.
  • Jonathan Creek's duffle coat is (or at least was originally) the duffle coat Alan Davies wore to the audition.
  • Interviews with Edward James Olmos after Miami Vice ended had him explained that he added several aspects of his character:
    • His introductory scene in "One Eyed Jack", where he attends a crime scene and orders Tubbs to "not come up to my face like this again, Detective", was ad-libbed and caught Phillip Michael Thomas so off-guard that he reacted in a threatening manner, forcing Don Johnson to pull him away. Notably, this was the take used in the final cut.
    • Olmos said his choice to ignore Johnson's gaze was deliberate, in order to create a "distance" between the two characters and make Castillo more mysterious. This action caused resentment between the two actors, which can be seen throughout the series in their behavior towards one another.
    • He also said that Castillo's desk should always be free of paper work, and that the cops knock on the door before entering the office. In later episodes, Castillo would be shown sleeping at his desk whenever the Vice team was engaged in a major/multi-day case.
  • In Narcos, Javier Peña wears '70s-inspired outfits, even in episodes set in either the '80s or the '90s, because his actor, Pedro Pascal, decided that the '80s-inspired outfits originally provided for him didn't look flattering on himself.
  • The TV version of The Odd Couple (1970) featured a greatly increased focus on Oscar's gambling, especially at the track, and Felix's love of opera because those were particular interests of their actors (Jack Klugman and Tony Randall, respectively). Also, Oscar's wardrobe on the show was, in many cases, Klugman's own.
  • In the intro spot for the London 2012 Olympics featuring HM The Queen and Daniel Craig's James Bond, the Queen was originally going to be acted by an impersonator — when Danny Boyle contacted the Palace for approval, she said that she wanted to do it herself. And then, when they were filming, she didn't have any lines but suggested to the creators that she should say something when Bond walks in. With the go-ahead, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had got into the show and invented her own lines.
  • Nowhere in the script for Open All Hours did it say anything about Arkwright having a stutter. That was entirely Ronnie Barker's idea.
  • According to the script book for Red Dwarf VIII, Doug Naylor consulted Craig Charles (who had been arrested a few years earlier, although the charges were dropped) about aspects of prison. It was Charles who said Lister probably wouldn't be allowed his guitar in case he used the strings in a suicide attempt, which became a subplot of "Krytie TV".
  • Schitt's Creek:
    • Catherine O'Hara suggested Moira's style be inspired by eccentric socialite Daphne Guinness, and she suggested that Moira wear wigs to fit her mood, which has led to Moira's famous wig wall. O'Hara is said to choose the wigs for Moira's scenes herself. O'Hara also suggested Moira's bizarre accent.
    • Patrick's famous Serenade Your Lover moment came about because actor Noah Reid, who arranged the Tina Turner cover himself after Daniel Levy wrote it into the script, is a musician himself. He also has a background in musical theatre, which inspired Patrick's community theatre storyline.
    • Annie Murphy developed Alexis's distinct vocal fry and hand gestures after watching youtube clips of the Kardashians and other such celebrities for hours.
    • Daniel Levy wrote his own love of Mariah Carey into his character, who spends an evening of karaoke performing her catalog. Carey herself has tweeted about the show, in particular, the romantic line said to David:
    Patrick: You're my Mariah Carey.
  • The Scrubs Season 1 DVD Commentary mentions that Zach Braff (JD's actor) was the one who suggested the theme tune be "Superman" by Lazlo Bane.
    • Also JD's lack of knowledge about sports was added in due to Braff himself not knowing much about them in real life.
    • The Janitor as any character at all, much less the character he became, was inspired by Neil Flynn going Off the Rails.
  • The nature of Star Trek meant the actors had the opportunity to make lots of things up as they went along. They had fairly clear mental images of their own characters. They would speak up when something was out of character and propose changes.
    • Star Trek: The Original Series:
      • Leonard Nimoy came up with the Vulcan Nerve Pinch,note  the Vulcan salute, and the "Live long and Prosper" and "Peace and long life" salutations.
      • "The Naked Time" had Sulu go a little crazy, and the original script called for him to grab a katana. George Takei, who had grown up watching Errol Flynn's movies, suggested instead that, to emphasize the future melting-pot setting, Sulu instead take up a rapier. He also told the producers that he was trained as a fencer — and then once they bought the concept, started taking lessons, and is an avid fencer even today.
    • Riker's Badass Beard, which became the Trope Namer for Growing the Beard in season two of Star Trek: The Next Generation, came about when Jonathan Frakes stopped shaving while the series was briefly on hiatus due to a writers' strike. Gene Roddenberry decided that Riker should keep the beard, telling Frakes, "It's nautical!"
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
      • Ben Sisko originally had a full head of hair to distinguish him from Avery Brooks' previous role, Hawk from Spenser For Hire. However, when Spenser returned in the form of made-for-TV movies, Brooks had to keep the shaved head again, and it was decided that Sisko had already established himself enough as a character in his own right that it's okay if he starts to look more like Hawk.
      • A big part of Gul Dukat's success as a recurring villain was actor Marc Alaimo's Wagging the Director on how to play him: rather than portray a stereotypical mustache-twirler, he was remarked to speak every one of his lines as if he was the protagonist of the series rather than Sisko. This led to him becoming one of the most complex antagonists in Star Trek history.
  • In True Blood Anna Camp came up with the idea of kissing the severed head during rehearsals, which the directors liked and added.
  • Anne Robinson claimed that as the host of The Weakest Link, she was originally supposed to be sympathetic to the contestants being eliminated. However, after seeing how nasty the contestants could be to each other, she created the Uber Bitch persona fans are more familiar with.
  • Gary Burghoff on M*A*S*H was given a chance to tamper with his character, Radar, a bit, who in the beginning, could be a bit sneaky and underhanded at times. As a result, Radar became more childlike and innocent, and also inherited Burghoff's love for animals. He was also the one who gave Radar his first name, Walter.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Big Bird from Sesame Street was initially played as more of a dimwitted country hick during his first few seasons. Then his puppeteer, Carroll Spinney, got the idea of portraying the character as a six-year-old kid, making him more inexperienced, curious, and naïve rather than just dumb. The producers let him go with it, leaving many to feel that this was when the character really took off.

  • Journey into Space: In Journey to the Moon / Operation Luna, Jet's great-uncle Hector, who tutored him about The Moon as a child, was based on Andrew Faulds' adopted uncle Hector MacPherson, who wrote a book entitled Practical Astronomy.

  • Hamilton:
    • A few elements of Thomas Jefferson's portrayal were inspired by his original Broadway cast performer, Daveed Diggs. Firstly, Jefferson was originally going to be put in a pretty plain suit like the sort his Real Life counterpart tended to wear, but according to the costume designer Daveed was just too vibrant and with such a rock star air to him that they went as all-out with the costuming as he did with the performance and had him wearing a Prince-inspired bright purple suit. (Which does make some of his comments about Alexander Hamilton dressing like 'fake royalty' more than a little hypocritical, but that's not out of character either...) Secondly, Diggs apparently had problems with some of the original choreography so he was told to improvise and come up with some of his own, which the choreographer then 'made good' in his words, giving Jefferson his pretty distinctive bounciness and jazzy shuffling.
    • In another example, the costume designer really wanted to reflect the Anachronism Stew of the musical through having the actors wear period clothing from the neck down, but look modern from the neck up. For most of the actors, this simply meant not doing the wigs or powdered hair mandatory in men's fashion at the time. However, there was a particular instance where Hercules Mulligan's actor, Okriete Onaodowan, came to a rehearsal wearing a skull cap and the designer really liked the way it looked, so he was asked to keep it on. After that, it became a regular part of the character's costume.
  • Mary Martin coming fresh out of the shower helped inspire Richard Rodgers to write "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair" for South Pacific. In her own words:
    It all started with a crazy idea of mine. It came to me in my shower one day. Richard was working at his desk and I came tearing out of the shower, dripping wet, without a stitch on, to say, "Richard, always in movies and the theater people say, 'I've just washed my hair and I can't do a thing with it.' But they looked utterly perfect. Now, wouldn't it be great if sometime I washed my hair, right on stage, maybe even singing a song, and then came out all dripping? Wouldn't that be a great scene?"
    Richard looked a little bit patient and more than a little bit worried.
    "Don't you dare tell that to anyone," he said. "Not a soul. If you do, they'll go for it, and then you'll have to do it onstage eight times a week."
  • Hadestown had several actor-inspired elements as it went along.
    • Chris Sullivan, the off-Broadway Hermes, was the one behind the "that ain't easy walking, jack" line in the "Wait For Me" intro. He texted the idea to Anais Mitchell and she wasn't convinced until he sent her audio of him saying the line, and when he left the role of Hermes he gave her permission to keep it.
    • On Broadway, Eva Noblezada had input on Eurydice's costume jewelry and picked out her rings herself, including a snake ring (a reference to Eurydice's death by snakebite in the original myth), a mood ring, a ring made of chain links that match Hadestown's "brick wall" motif, and a ring with a feather design to match Eurydice's "songbird" symbolism and Orpheus' line in "Wedding Song" about lying on a bed of feathers.
    • According to costume designer Michael Krass, Patrick Page came up with the idea of Hades having snake arm garters and the brick wall tattoo, while Reeve Carney came up with Orpheus's suspenders and vintage pants.

    Video Games 
  • Eddie Riggs in Brütal Legend was at first designed as a general roadie with a hint of Deadpan Snarker, and he even took after Lemmy for a while. As the character was developed, Lemmy himself was given a voice-role, and the designers didn't want to tie him so close to such an iconic figure. Eventually, elements of Jack Black were considered, but the designers couldn't have guessed that Jack Black himself would approach them to work on the project (he was a fan of Double Fine's previous work, Psychonauts). Eventually, Eddie became Jack.
  • Solid Snake's physical mannerisms from Metal Gear Solid 2 onward were modeled on those of his Japanese voice actor, Akio Ohtsuka (a strange example as Ohtsuka did not do any of the Motion Capture for the character).
  • Adrienne's jeans in Phantasmagoria were not originally part of her costume. The actress wore them in on the first day of filming and the producer decided they were perfect. The actress states that, being already somewhat worn, they were held together by duct tape by the end of shooting.
  • In a Canon Immigrant way, Kano was originally Japanese in Mortal Kombat. After being played by an English actor who often claimed to be Australian and portrayed Kano as such in the movie, further installments had him come from the Land Down Under.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Sokka in Avatar: The Last Airbender was originally going to be more of a straight-man sidekick (notice his slightly out-of-character Jerkass tendencies towards Aang in the opening episodes) but the creators liked Jack DeSena's comic delivery and occasional ad-libs so much that he was quickly re-tooled into the Plucky Comic Relief.
  • Seth Green was the only one of the auditionees for Chris in Family Guy who didn't use a "Surfer Dude voice", and Seth MacFarlane thought it was perfect.
  • In Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, Velma's quirk of losing her glasses was inspired by an incident involving her voice actress, Nicole Jaffe, misplacing her own glasses during the first table read, and exclaiming "My glasses! I can't see without them!" Velma's bob haircut and wide mouth also appeared inspired by Jaffe's appearance at the time. Fred and Daphne also bore physical similarities to their original voice actors (Frank Welker and Stefanianna Christopherson).
  • Squidward of SpongeBob SquarePants is occasionally seen riding a recumbent bicycle, first seen in The Movie. This was inspired by his voice actor, Rodger Bumpass, who owns one himself.
  • In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Ahsoka Tano was originally going to have an Icelandic accent. During Ashley Eckstein's audition however, it was decided to have Ahsoka's personality and voice based on Ashley after Dave Filoni saw her own personality mid-audition takes.


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