Ben Stiller shares embarrassing gaffe while filming Spielberg's ‘Empire of the Sun'

Ben Stiller talked about one of his first movie roles when he stopped by Late Night With Seth Meyers on Thursday. Stiller was given essentially one line in Stephen Spielberg's 1987 film Empire of the Sun.

"It was really exciting because I was a huge Spielberg fan," Stiller said. “And he'd come to see a play I was in, and he basically cast me in the movie."

Stiller's line came near the end of a very long steady-camera shot. The shot took a huge amount of time and effort to plan and execute.

"After like three or four minutes of this shot, and I say my line,” Stiller recalled. "I'm supposed to say, 'Hey, kid, would you like a Hershey bar?' And I screwed it up, and I said, 'Hey, kid, would you like a chocolate bar?' And then I went, ‘Oh, damn. I'm sorry. Cut.' And then silence."

For the uninitiated, only the director should yell cut. Every minute of production can cost thousands of dollars on big-budget films, directors don't like wasting any of their production time on resetting a shot.

“I just hear, from out where the monitors are, 'What?' [I said] 'I'm sorry, I screwed up my line.' And then I hear Steven Spielberg say, 'You never yell cut!'"

Fortunately, Stiller overcame the rookie mistake and went on to be a huge star himself.

"And of course, my hero, my idol, I'm realizing I just did the most embarrassing thing ever," Stiller said. "So, it worked out fine."

Late Night With Seth Meyers airs weeknights at 12:35 a.m. on NBC.

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