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Movie Scenes Actors Couldn't Get Through Without Laughing

Movie sets are arguably the weirdest workplaces on the planet, rife for screw-ups and joking around. Gag reels have led us to believe it's usually during (bad) comedies that the best messing occurs, but what about when actors get the giggles so badly—and organically—that their scenes make it into the finished product?

Here are some of the best examples of actors breaking down when they were supposed to be taking things much more seriously.

Chop, chop

Like his character in Taken, Liam Neeson has "a special set of skills." Instead of the ability to dispatch would-be kidnappers with cool finesse, Neeson is a fine actor, delivering memorable and heartbreaking performances in films like Schindler's List and Rob Roy. He plays very serious very well—that steely gaze makes him seem like the kind of guy who might not care for much tomfoolery. Except, that is, when it becomes clear that Neeson's "special set of skills" does not include the skill of being able to say the words "attack choppers" while filming a scene for The A-Team.

Filming was a gas

The late Oscar-winner Philip Seymour Hoffman. Multiple-time Oscar nominees Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams. Emmy-winning Mr. Robot star Rami Malek. They're all here in an elevator filming a scene for Paul Thomas Anderson's pensive, thought-provoking The Master. But then somebody goes and does the one thing nobody is ever supposed to do in an elevator: let one rip. All those very serious actors can't help but laugh, because farts are always hilarious.

A burning sensation

Another great equalizer and uniter of people from all walks of life: dirty words. Harvard-educated, Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman took on a rare comic role in the 2010 spoof Your Highness and gave the film's silly dialogue her all, but there's one line she had a really hard time getting through. It's as if she's completely aware, or self-aware, of how funny it is to see an actress of such stature talking about a "burning" in a very private place.

Think of the children

Ewan McGregor was arguably the best thing about the Star Wars prequels (alongside fellow actual thespians Sam Jackson and Liam Neeson). This esteemed actor somehow sold the shoddy material, but he couldn't quite sell every line, noticeably hiding a smile behind his hand immediately after delivering the laughable reference to "killing younglings."

There will be bloopers

Daniel Day-Lewis is a contender for the title of "Greatest Living Actor": he's won three Oscars for Best Actor in a Leading Role, which is more than anyone else in history. He obviously puts a lot of work into his performances, and he's reportedly a "Method" actor—which means he stays in character on the set. Day-Lewis doesn't even break character between takes...and yet here he is, during There Will Be Blood, on one of the very, very rare occasions where the façade gets cracked.

Wax on, wax off

Ever the professional, Steve Carell opted for a real-life chest waxing for a scene in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Somehow, he didn't realize how painful it would be. His natural reactions made it into the film and his fellow actors, clearly shocked, aren't quite sure how to respond to his screams of pain. (In the end, they laugh. A lot.)

Laughing himself to death

In Blade: Trinity, Wesley Snipes' titular vampire slayer gets his white whale, and kills Dracula. In the film, Dracula is played in his humanoid form by Dominic Purcell, and in his unholy monster form by a makeup-and-prosthetics covered actor named Brian Steele. As the epic battle between Blade and Dracula comes to a climax, Blade injects the beast with a deadly virus. Steele is supposed to choke and gag in agony, but his own overwrought, anguished acting makes him bust up laughing. If you've seen Blade: Trinity, you probably can't blame Steele.

A Zach attack (of the giggles)

Capturing a climactic, life-or-death situation has got to be one of the hardest scenes to shoot, so it's only natural that the actors can sometimes get a little overwhelmed and punchy—which seems to have been the case while filming this tense scene in 2009's Star Trek reboot. Stoic, stone-faced Spock, played by Zachary Quinto, has some big questions for Scotty, played by Simon Pegg, but he can't make himself stop laughing long enough to ask them. And Pegg's improvised quips certainly don't help him get back into character.

Cussing it out

If there was one moment in The Wolf of Wall Street you'd expect Jonah Hill to crack up, it would be during the hilariously well-played tripping sequence in Leonardo DiCaprio's character's kitchen—how either of them kept a straight face for that one is anyone's guess. But actually, watch closely and you'll see Jon Bernthal is the one struggling to keep it together in the face of Hill firing off increasingly bizarre swear words mid-freakout in one of the movie's tamer scenes.

A hilarious mercy killing

Apart from his roles in Marvel Cinematic Universe movies as archer extraordinaire Hawkeye, Jeremy Renner has starred primarily in hard-hitting dramas such as The Hurt Locker and The Town. He doesn't usually play funny guys, so it comes off as a little crazed and alarming in The Avengers: Age of Ultron when he sadly approaches the body of the fallen Quicksilver and jokingly smothers him, apparently to finish the job. Quicksilver actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays along, squirming and flailing.

Pug power play

1997's sci-fi comedy-hybrid Men In Black sees odd couple special agents Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith take on a whole galaxy of alien oddities. One of their toughest foes comes in the guise of an adorable pug, with whom Jones' Agent K must tussle. Played with a real dog, the scene sees the veteran actor flail around with puppy in hand, keeping it together until he finally allows a smile to cross his lips at the very end of the "interrogation." At least K gets the intel he needs.

Unlocking the mystical secrets...of dance!

Marvel acquired some legitimate acting talent when the studio landed the esteemed Benedict Cumberbatch to lead Doctor Strange. Best known for playing complicated characters like World War II codebreaker Alan Turning in The Imitation Game and Sherlock Holmes on Sherlock, Cumberbatch seems like he'd be a pretty serious guy. But maybe that's because he'd never had to film a fight sequence with some sweet martial arts moves. It's all just a bit too silly for Cumberbatch to take, and he winds up turning the whole thing into a funky-fresh dance routine.

Some movie 'wizard'-ry

How can an actor be expected to stay in character as a bad guy and keep a straight face when they get to fly around on wires? While filming a scene as Bullseye in the 2003 version of Daredevil, Colin Farrell suddenly descends from the sky, and the moment apparently strikes him as just a little too ridiculous. That prompts the actor to go into full Cowardly Lion from The Wizard Oz mode, pouncing in place and muttering, "lemme at her, lemme at her!"

Pig squeal

Somehow the line "My wife used to fart when she was nervous" is even funnier coming out of the mouth of a deadpan Robin Williams. As therapist to reluctant patient Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, Williams provokes a fit of wonderfully genuine laughter from his young co-star. Once Damon lets go, that's it. He's gone. And his real laugh sounds weird enough that we know Damon isn't faking it, which somehow makes the moment even more charming.

Unhelpful bellboy

Cult farce Transylvania 6-5000 sees a joker of a hotel bellboy (played by sitcom vet Michael Richards) going to any and every length to amuse unsuspecting guests. Improvising as much as possible, Richards also succeeded in getting laughs out his castmates—most notably Jeff Goldblum, who, as the worst culprit, barely concealed his giggles in the final reel.

Toilet humor

Although it's easily the best offering in a series that got steadily worse with each installment, American Pie isn't as notable for its gross-out humor as one might imagine. That is, save for one ludicrously effective scene featuring poor Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), who suffers thanks to arch-enemy Stifler slipping laxatives into his coffee, leaving him to relieve himself in the ladies' room. Thomas goes full force with the scene, but lets out a tiny grin towards the end to let us know he's in on the joke. Blink and you'll miss it.

Talking bull

One of Easy Rider's deepest conversations takes place around a campfire as a smoking Jack Nicholson and Dennis Hopper discuss life's biggest trials and tribulations. The bizarre question "You ever talk to bullfrogs in the middle of the night?" isn't what cracks them up, but the response "Not generally." Rather than ruin the scene, however, it endears us further to these characters and their relationship.

Hand in glove

One of the funniest moments in Kubrick's brilliant 1964 Cold War satire Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb finds the titular former Nazi scientist (played by the incomparable Peter Sellers) struggling to control his own arm. Although Sellers, er, sells it to the best of his ability, Peter Bull (standing to his left in the shot) can't quite keep it together in the face of such blatant hilarity. And, really, who could blame him?

Lack of professionalism

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues may have been short on onscreen laughs compared with its cult classic predecessor, but that didn't mean the cast wasn't having a blast behind the scenes. Warming up as newscaster Ron Burgundy, Will Ferrell gets increasingly crazier while practicing his vocal intonations, growing louder and louder, causing castmate and movie wife Christina Applegate to convulse with laughter. She does her best, but can't quite keep it together. The final take was reportedly the most serious they could get; sadly, the movie gets less funny from this point on.

Acting suspect

The infamous lineup sequence in The Usual Suspects was actually meant to be a far more serious affair. Unfortunately, Stephen Baldwin and Benicio Del Toro (who was, allegedly, annoyed he didn't have a bigger role in the movie) wouldn't play ball. After attempting for to get it right, over the course of an entire day's filming, director Bryan Singer instead decided to use the funniest takes. And the flick is all the better for it.