Cheating? Actors who were fed their lines through earpieces

Johnny Depp, Rita Ora, Bruce Willis and Tom Cruise have all had their lines fed to them before.
Johnny Depp, Rita Ora, Bruce Willis and Tom Cruise have all had their lines fed to them before.

Johnny Depp's not the only actor who doesn't bother memorising his lines.

According to a recent lawsuit from his former business managers, the actor pays "hundreds of thousands of dollars to employ a fulltime sound engineer, who Depp has used for years to feed him lines during film production".

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It's a claim partly backed up by Kirsten Dunst who said in a 2008 interview that she'd heard Depp uses an earpiece on set, although she wasn't quite sure why.

"Johnny Depp has music playing in his ear when he acts," she told Vulture.

"He has an earbud. That's why he's so great."

Depp's not alone though. Several high-profile stars from stage and screen have busted wearing earpieces in the past.

Here are some famous examples:

MARLON BRANDO

The legendary actor starred in the 1996 box office bomb, The Island of Dr. Moreau.

The whole production was reportedly a disaster and the script was often being rewritten just hours before those scenes were being filmed.

Rather than trying to memorise the new lines, Brando wore an earpiece and had an assistant feed him his lines.

But according to actor David Thewlis, Brando's earpiece would sometimes pick up the wrong signal midway through a scene.

"Suddenly he'd be getting police messages," Thewlis told Entertainment Weekly.
"Marlon would [repeat], 'There's a robbery at Woolworths'."

RITA ORA

The British singer played Christian Grey's sister in the 2015 movie, Fifty Shades of Grey. But Ora told Access Hollywood that nerves got the better of her on set.

"I had to have someone in my ear on set telling me what to say before I said it because I was honestly, like, so nervous, I forgot everything that I had learnt," she said.

It should be noted that Ora has less than two minutes of screen time in the film and her only four lines are:

"She's here?" / "Oh my God, you exist." / "Uck, Seattle baseball." / And a sentence in French.

TOM CRUISE

Parts of the script for the 1990 movie, Days of Thunder, were being rewritten just minutes before they were due to be filmed.

At first, Cruise tried writing his new lines down on a piece and paper and sticking them to the dash of his race car as he zipped around the track. But as the actor told Rolling Stone, it wasn't a very successful technique.

"I was driving and looking around all over, trying to read these lines I had just gotten," he told the magazine.

"And all of a sudden the car snaps out from the weight of the camera. I go, 'Oh, s**t,' and go right up into the wall."

So instead of learning his lines just before the scene, Cruise and the script writer came up with a new tactic.

"Then what we started doing was having Bob Towne read me the dialogue through my radio earphone," Cruise revealed.

"He'd just read it over, I'd get a pace on it and read it back. It was fun. So in the movie, when it looks like my crew chief is talking to me and I'm listening intently, I was actually waiting for my next line."

BRUCE WILLIS

The actor had a crack at playing author Paul Sheldon in the Broadway adaptation of Stephen King's Misery in 2015 but wore an earpiece because he struggled to remember his lines.

According to a source who spoke to the New York Post at the time, "the script is changing and he's nervous ... but he's working very hard".

Theatre columnist Michael Riedel was less than impressed though, and noted that Willis "sports an earpiece the size of a cellphone circa 1984".

"The excellent Laurie Metcalf says a line and then there ... is ... a ... pause before Willis responds," the columnist wrote.

THE CAST OF LES MISERABLES

The director of the 2012 movie, Tom Hooper, was "obsessed" with the idea of the actors singing each song live rather than lip syncing on film and recording the songs in post-production.

"I did some early tests with Hugh Jackman singing three of his numbers live here at Pinewood and it was a thrilling discovery when we screened it to test audiences and saw there was no barrier between the audience and the performances," Hooper told the Sydney Morning Herald.

To help the actors out a little bit, they were given earpieces to wear during their scenes according to Samantha Barks who played Éponine.

"We all have an earpiece in our ears, and we can hear the piano, but the piano is in a box just off set," she told Collider.

"So when we watch the film we can hear these big sweeping orchestrations, but actually what you can hear in your ear is a tiny piano. So you had to use your imagination for sure to create these epic orchestrations, that's what we could hear. But it was funny, because if you don't have the earpiece in then we all just look mad, like were just singing to nothing."

- news.com.au

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