“The truth is that nobody knows what that magic combination is that produces a first-rate piece of work….
All we can do is prepare the groundwork that allows for the ‘lucky accidents’ that make a first-rate movie happen.” Sidney Lumet
“Most of the good things in pictures happen by accident.” John Ford
i typed those quotes wanting to talk about preparation, but then i decided to write about accidents. how many miraculous things come out of things that happen which are outside of our control. accident is often a negative word, because of the nature of accidents. often in an accident people are hurt or things are damaged due to them. but every once in a while, something accidentally happens that is a great thing. if it weren’t for accidents, we wouldn’t have Velcro, microwaves, post-it notes, or potato chips. also there are people who are famous by accident, including Mel Gibson, Evangeline Lilly and Marilyn Monroe. not that they weren’t talented or hardworking, it’s just that their big breaks came by being the right place at the right time.
lots of accidents happen on movie scenes and end up being left in the final edit, from Viggo Mortensen breaking toes, dodging knives and nearly drowning in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, to beer cans being thrown at John Malkovich’s head as he had just come out of John Malkovich’s head. and one of my favorites from Midnight Cowboy, where an actual taxi nearly ran over Dustin Hoffman and he reacted by uttering the famous line “I’m walkin here!” the ultimate Sanford Meisner moment where an actual reaction was caught on film and became one of the most memorable lines in movie history. i’m sure it’s still quoted to new york cab drivers many times a day.
so sometimes accidents can be a good thing. i guess it depends on how you look at it.