We’ve all been there before. We’ve done things we had to do whether we wanted to do them or not. Desire was irrelevant. Whether it was doing chores or taking math classes we really didn’t want to sign up for, we had no choice in the matter. But we probably complained and grumbled throughout the entire process, just waiting for it to be finally over.
Actors and actresses are no different. After all, regardless of what pedestals we place them on apart from everyone else, they’re still human. They still have opinions and feelings. And they should have the right to decide what movie they want to act in.
However, that’s not always the case. Much like how we are forced into doing things we rather not do, actors and actresses are sometimes forced into doing movies they rather not act in. Whether it’s through contractual obligations or simply being duped, these stars had to participate in movies they would preferably steer clear of. And while it’s true that these celebrities get paid millions of dollars for playing in these movies, to some people money doesn’t mean everything. Here is the list of 15 acting jobs these stars were forced to take.
15. Jessica Alba—Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Jessica Alba wasn’t even psyched for the first Fantastic Four movie, so she was even less excited for the sequel Rise of the Silver Surfer. Unfortunately, contract stipulations required her not only to do the first movie but also its sequel. She believed the scripts for the movies were lousy and said the director for Silver Surfer made her feel worthless during the filming of one particular scene. The whole experience left Alba feeling burned out by acting, even more so by the strong criticism Silver Surfer received, widely considered one of the worst superhero films ever made. As a result, Alba made progressively less appearances in the acting spotlight, and in 2012 she ventured out as a businesswoman and founded her own company.
14. Edward Norton—The Italian Job
When Edward Norton signed on to star in the 1996 neo-noir crime thriller Primal Fear, he signed on to do a three-movie deal with Paramount. But multiple film studios took notice after Norton’s Oscar-nominated performance and offered him roles in their movies. Norton was so busy afterward that Paramount stepped in to negotiate a new deal with him that would only require him to do one more movie with the studio after the 1999 film Fight Club. But Norton turned down all the films Paramount offered to him, and by 2002, he still had yet to complete the deal previously agreed upon. When the studio proposed The Italian Job to him, he turned that one down too, but Paramount wrote him a letter saying he had no choice and threatened him with a lawsuit. Norton finally complied.
13. Daniel Craig—Skyfall
Like Jessica Alba in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Daniel Craig wasn’t too thrilled for one particular sequel in the franchise he starred in. Craig tried to get out of doing Skyfall from the beginning, but his attempts weren’t successful. The studio roped him into doing the movie, and a couple more James Bond movies after that, once of which was the 2015 film Spectre, which he consented to previously. Concerning Skyfall, he said he would see how it would go because “business is business”, but if the whole thing failed, he had a contract that someone could wipe their butt with.
12. Shia LaBeouf—Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Another actor that didn’t want to do a sequel? Shia LaBeouf. Apparently LaBeouf didn’t like Revenge of the Fallen, saying the filmmakers got carried away and that the true meaning of the story got lost in the action. He said that Michael Bay tried to get too big with the second movie that the anchor which held the franchise in place vanished. And LaBeouf had to appear in Dark of the Moon because he signed to appear in a three-picture deal with the studio, much like Edward Norton with Paramount. That didn’t stop him from speaking publicly about how he was unable to develop his character any further.
11. Marlon Brando—Desiree
Widely considered the greatest movie actor of all time, there were even movies Marlon Brando didn’t want to act in. One in particular was Desiree. Due to contractual obligations Brando was forced to star as Napoleon Bonaparte in the 1954 historical-biographical film, a film with a script he detested. He hated the film and made it clear to everyone during the filming process. He had a habit of “forgetting his lines or reciting them with a nasal pseudo-British intonation and creating havoc between takes, passing around a football, [and] squirting extras with a fire hose.” To his surprise, Desiree was nominated for two Academy Awards, one for art direction and another for costume design.
10. Emily Blunt—Gulliver’s Travels
The Devil Wears Prada was the film that propelled actress Emily Blunt to fame. Numerous studios became interested in the starlet afterwards, one of them being Marvel, who considered Blunt for the role of Black Widow in Iron Man 2. But Blunt’s Prada contract required her to appear in another movie from Fox Studios, the studio who produced The Devil Wears Prada. The movie the studio wanted her to appear in was Gulliver’s Travels, the 2010 fantasy-adventure comedy film that was a huge bust at the box office. Luckily for Blunt, the disastrous film didn’t destroy her acting career as she went on to star in series of successful films.
9. Natalie Portman—Thor: The Dark World
Natalie Portman had zero interest in reprising her role as Jane Foster in Thor: The Dark World; however, she didn’t have much of a choice, as Marvel Studios is known for signing just about every single actor or actress that appears in their films to multiple-movie contracts. Despite openly stating that she wanted to take a break from the acting industry to care of her then-unborn child, a pregnant Portman was on set when development on the Thor sequel began in April 2011. Not only that, but Marvel fired director Patty Jenkins who Portman had recommended to direct the film. Despite the evidence, Portman has claimed that she was not forced to do the movie in any way.
8. Mike Myers—The Cat in the Hat
After Mike Myers finished work on the third Austin Powers film, Austin Powers in Goldmember, Myers was still under contract to act in another film with Universal Studios. At the time however, Myers was going through some really deep personal issues, and things got really heated between him and the studio, especially after he turned down a film adaption of former Saturday Night Live character Dieter, after showing disdain for the script. The studio sued him, he counter-sued, and it just made for a very tense atmosphere. The Cat in the Hat was finally agreed upon, but Myers still didn’t even want to do that movie. He just agreed because he was a fan of Dr. Seuss’ works and The Cat in the Hat was the first story he read.
7. Keanu Reeves—The Watcher
Keanu Reeves may have been blackmailed into doing The Watcher. Joe Charbanic, a “friend” of Reeves who filmed a tour of Reeves’ band Dogstar, was also the director of the 2000 thriller The Watcher. Allegedly, he forged Reeves’ signature on the contract to do the film sometime after Reeves found success in the massive hit The Matrix. Unable to prove the signature was a fake, and not desiring having to deal with a lengthy and expensive legal battle, Reeves just went along with it and acted in the film. He did nothing to promote the movie after its release, and for a year afterwards he was contractually prohibited from disclosing any details of how he got involved with the film. After the year was up, all bets were off and Reeves didn’t hold back, saying he found the script uninteresting.
6. Bill Murray—Garfield
In a way, Bill Murray was fooled into doing Garfield. Murray only decided to perform in the live-action adaption of the comic strip series after the studio agreed to pay him more than the initial proposal. Murray was under the impression that he would just spend a couple days in the studio doing the voice-over for the titular character Garfield. Once he got into the booth, he discovered that the film’s script was terrible and trying to fix his lines only deflated his spirits. He expressed shock that Joel Coen would write something so atrocious; he was then informed it wasn’t Joel Coen who wrote the script, but Joel Cohen instead. Whoops.
5. Jennifer Garner–Elektra
Jennifer Garner probably regrets signing the contract to co-star opposite Ben Affleck as Elektra in the superhero film Daredevil. While the film received mixed reviews but opened up at number one at the box office, Elektra was far from being that lucky. It was a critical and commercial failure that pretty much dashed the hopes of ever making a sequel to Daredevil. But the contract Garner signed said that she had to do a spin-off of the film, despite any objections she may have had about it. And object to it she did—she was reported by her ex Michael Vartan as not wanting to do, or even like the movie.
4. Val Kilmer—Top Gun
If Val Kilmer hadn’t buckled down to do Top Gun, he might not have been where he is today. Like Edward Norton, Kilmer signed a contract that would require him to star in three movies from Paramount Studios. He starred in the 1984 action comedy Top Secret! and the sci-fi comedy Real Genius a year later, and still had one more movie to complete. Getting tired of his agent hounding him, Kilmer decided to have a meeting with the late Top Gun director Tony Scott. Kilmer attended the meeting but attempted to leave; he was stopped in the elevator by Scott who refused to let him go. Scott knew Kilmer didn’t really want to act in the movie, but Kilmer took the role anyway. Considering how Top Gun was the film that made him a star, Kilmer is probably glad he went along with it.
3. Whoopi Goldberg—Theodore Rex
After Whoopi Goldberg found major success following the release of Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, producers asked her to do another movie titled Theodore Rex. No official contract was ever signed; instead, Goldberg verbally agreed to do the movie. A couple years later she changed her mind and tried to back out of appearing in the film, but a court case concerning Kim Basinger backing out of Boxing Helena led to a ruling that would have been very costly for Goldberg to do the same as Basinger. Goldberg went on and did the movie, but it did so terrible in the test run that it was released as a direct-to-video movie instead of the theatrical release producers were hoping for.
2. Channing Tatum—G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra
Another actor pushed into fulfilling a contract made with Paramount was Channing Tatum. The movie in question was G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Even though G.I. Joe was the movie that arguably made Tatum a star, and led to later successes in movies such as Magic Mike and 21 Jump Street, Tatum initially was against participating in the film. He confessed that he was “pushed into doing that movie,” saying he found the script to be lackluster. And after the film’s release, most of the offers from movie studios were for Tatum to star in sequels or action movies instead of something different from what he already did. Nonetheless, he says he felt fortunate for landing the role.
1. The Entire Cast—Movie 43
This entry gets the #1 spot because it wasn’t just one actor that didn’t want to this particular movie; it was pretty much the entire cast. A cast that included A-listers like Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Emma Stone, Halle Berry and Gerard Butler. Movie producer Charles Wessler, somehow managed to sign Jackman and Winslet and filmed their scenes in 2009. Wessler then used them to sign the rest of the cast, but when the others discovered what they had gotten themselves into, they attempted to jump ship. They weren’t so lucky, but other actors like Colin Farrell and George Clooney managed to get out of their contracts. And the rest were stuck acting in a movie that’s considered one of the worst movies of all time.
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