Florence Pugh Improvised One Of Hawkeye's Funniest Scenes

Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have caught a lot of flack in recent years for the sheer amount of silliness and gags muddling up the various film and TV plots. There's no doubt there are a lot of MCU jokes that haven't aged well, and as the franchise has continued, the quips seem to have become more and more frequent — something that will no doubt reach a fever pitch with the upcoming "Deadpool & Wolverine."

But there was a time when one-liners and wisecracks were used more sparingly and played a crucial role in the success of the MCU. This element of the franchise led directly to the hit that was "Thor: Ragnarok," in which Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige entrusted director Taika Waititi with reinventing Chris Hemsworth's Thor as a more comedic persona. This was due to the Aussie star's penchant for improv, which he'd demonstrated in both "Thor" and its sequel, "Thor: The Dark World." In that instance, then, comedy — specifically Hemsworth's spontaneity — was a driving force.

When you take a closer look at the history of MCU comedy, you'll find that improv has actually played a crucial role in shaping the comedic sensibilities of the saga. There was "Loki," in which Tom Hiddleston paid homage to his "Thor" and "Avengers" co-star by improvising his own callback to a prior Hemsworth improvisation. On top of that, there have been numerous spontaneous lines in the "Avengers" series, while Chris Pratt gave us the MCU's first F-bomb in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" in an entirely extemporaneous moment.

That said, one instance of MCU improvisation you might not have heard of yet came from Florence Pugh in the Disney+ series "Hawkeye."

The 'One fork' scene in Hawkeye was improvised

The MCU Disney+ shows have been a bit hit and miss since they started rolling out on the streaming service. For every "Loki" there's a "Secret Invasion," the last episode of which became one of the worst-reviewed Marvel things ever. But "Hawkeye" was, in my opinion, the most enjoyable of them all. Perhaps that's because it was made for casual Marvel fans, which, ever since this franchise bombarded us with too much media for a single human to consume, is pretty much how I'd classify myself. But I think "Hawkeye" also worked well because it got its tone right from the outset, balancing humor and drama in a way that worked.

It seems, as with the MCU movies of old, much of that humor came from improv. In a 2021 interview with Buzzfeed, directors Amber Templemore-Finlayson and Katie Ellwood, collectively known as Bert and Bertie, spoke about their time filming a block of episodes for "Hawkeye," during which they were treated to multiple moments of improvisation on the part of the actors. One such moment came from Florence Pugh, who plays Yelena Belova, the sister of Scarlet Johansson's Black Widow.

As Ellwood explained to the outlet, during preparation for a scene in episode five, in which Belova breaks into Kate Bishop's (Hailee Steinfeld)'s apartment, a new joke was added to the script after Pugh realized the lack of cutlery props in the apartment set. The scene in question sees Belova walk over to a drawer and take out a fork, before delivering the line, "You have one fork?" to which Bishop replies, "I'm one person." This was a hasty addition to the script.

Florence Pugh helped improvise the fork scene

It's no Chris Hemsworth improvising one of Thor's funniest lines, or he and his co-star Chris Evans coming up with their "Avengers: Infinity War" repartee on the spot, but the fork scene is a good example of how "Hawkeye" managed to incorporate little moments of comedy that worked in favor of the story by helping flesh out the characters. As Katie Ellwood told Buzzfeed:

"When they were rehearsing, Florence was like, 'I'll need to get some implements. So, we'll go over here.' She picked it up and just went, 'There's one fork! There's only one fork!'"

According to the director, following this realization, the actors were encouraged to work it into the script. Ellwood continued:

"The props people were searching around for other forks, but they only had plastic ones, so it became the one proper cutlery fork and one plastic fork. It was perfect and it all went into the script and we came out with this hilarious Yelena and Kate scene."

It seems Pugh wasn't the only one able to come up with lines on the spot. According to Ellwood, Hailee Steinfeld came right out with her "I'm one person" line in response to her co-star's improv. Ellwoord remarked that, "It was funny, but also very Kate," which speaks to the way in which MCU humor can work well when it's supporting the story and characters rather than distracting from them.