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What Was Unique About Marlon Brando’s Approach to Movie Dialogue?

Updated May 17, 2024
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Marlon Brando was perhaps the greatest "method" actor in history, but his method for remembering his lines was undeniably odd. The man who was Superman's father Jor-El, Don Vito Corleone, and who "coulda been a contender" had the habit of getting his movie lines taped to his co-stars so he didn't have to memorize them.

Towards the end of his career, Brando became increasingly overweight and reclusive. He refused to remember his dialogue, insisting on improvising instead. But long before that, Brando demanded to have his lines written on cue cards so that he could simply read them. Sometimes they were taped to a wall, but even co-stars such as Robert Duvall helped out. In The Godfather, Duvall, who played Corleone family consigliere Tom Hagen, held Brando's cue cards across his chest so the Don could read them as the cameras rolled. Perhaps Brando had made him an offer he couldn't refuse.

More on Marlon:

  • Brando used the Oscar statuette he won for On the Waterfront as a doorstop.

  • On the set of The Godfather, Brando dropped trou and mooned his co-stars, as well as about 500 extras, during the famous wedding scene.

  • According to friend Sean Penn, Brando froze some movie scripts and later took them out to shoot them with a shotgun so they would fly apart.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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