Less script and lines, more quick wits and free play

Still from the movie Night at the Museum, Secret of the Tomb

LONDON - Going behind the scenes for Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb, is probably as fun, if not even more so, as it looks on the big screen.

As if having museum exhibits come to life isn't a crazy enough premise for the movie, most of the film's humour is actually created from the actors "going insane" and playing around on the set.

Dan Stevens, the former Downton Abbey star who plays the chivalrous but confused Sir Lancelot in NATM3, expresses his surprise at the amount of "fooling around" he's entitled to while filming the movie: "Most movies don't like you to improvise, they like you to stick to the script. In this movie I think the script is there in case no one comes up with anything, but actually it's very encouraged (by the director) to throw in jokes constantly."

Australian comedienne Rebel Wilson adds on: "We would make stuff up for 20 minutes for a scene that's like only 1 minute.

"I just like to pretend I am the character and keep talking, until the director was like 'Cut! Stop it!'," she laughed. Rebel Wilson plays a British Museum night guard named Tilly, who developed a romantic relationship with Laaa, a Neanderthal played by Ben Stiller.

"My relationship with Ben's character just developed over filming," said Rebel, revealing that the romance between her character and Laaa was not originally in the script.

Satisfied with how Secret Of The Tomb turns out, director Shawn Levy said: "(In) every movie I introduce new supporting actors - it requires actors who are talented, funny and also willing to play. Dan, Rebel, and even Sir Ben Kingsley, came with that spirit of playfulness that the franchise requires."

Mini duo Jedediah the cowboy (played by Owen Wilson) and Octavius (played by Steve Coogan) also caught up with the times in this latest movie, becoming more social media savvy. "When we were doing the first movie there wasn't much social media, doing this one now includes watching YouTube, posting pictures. These guys are staying current!"

This article was first published on December 26, 2015 on omy.sg, SPH's bilingual-friendly infotainment website. Go to omy.sg for more stories.