Mark Twain once said, “Do something everyday that you don’t want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.” On the other hand, Homer Simpson once said, “Lisa, if you don’t like your job, you don’t go on strike. You just go in every day and do it really half-a*sed. That’s the American way.”
Sometimes in life, we’re forced to do something we really don’t want to do. In that case, there are only two options—we can complain and whine until we get out of it or we can man up and face our responsibility…while still complaining and whining. It’s not easy going to a mind-numbing 9 to 5 job that you absolutely despise. However, people wake up every day, go to work, and fight the urge to set the place on fire. Surprisingly, actors sometimes feel the same way.
Despite being world-famous celebs with millions of dollars, actors often find themselves in similar situations. Several celebrities have taken on major movie roles that they never really wanted. For some, they even hated the role they were forced into. They had to accept the role for various reasons, including contractual obligations, money, and pressure from studios. A few were even deceived into taking the role. However, in the end, they did the right thing by accepting the role and giving it their all. Well, not everyone gave it their all, though, but they still showed up to work. Here is a look at 15 Actors That Had To Man Up and Accept a Role They Never Really Wanted.
15 Idris Elba – Thor: Dark World
Thor: Dark World starred Chris Hemsworth as Thor with Idris Elba portraying Heimdall. Idris had a minor role in the first film but a larger role in the second. He was fine during the filming but during re-shoots, he absolutely hated being in the movie. In between filming and re-shoots, he starred in the biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. He admits that it was hard to go from playing such a prestigious role then go back to playing a superhero character. He was unhappy during the re-shoots and told his agent that it was “torture” and that he wanted out. Of course, his agent informed him that there was no backing out at that point. About the experience, Elba said, “And I’m thinking: ‘24 hours ago, I was Mandela.’ … Then there I was, in this stupid harness, with this wig and this sword and these contact lenses. It ripped my heart out.”
14 Kelly Clarkson — From Justin To Kelly
In the summer of 2002, American Idol exploded onto the TV screen and became an immediate success. There wasn’t a single person that didn’t know about the hit reality competition series. The winner, Kelly Clarkson, and runner-up, Justin Guarini, became two of the most famous singers and reality stars in the world. Producers and executives had big plans for the duo and decided it was best for them to kick off their careers with a film. Despite neither one of them being actors, From Justin To Kelly was released in June 20, 2003 and was a major flop. It is now considered one of the worst movies ever made. In 2005, it won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst ‘Musical’ of Our First 25 Years. Kelly Clarkson revealed that she wasn’t keen on doing the film and was only forced into it. She noted that they were contractually obligated to star in the film as per their American Idol contracts.
13 Richard Gere – Movie 43
To be fair, pretty much every actor was forced into accepting a role in Movie 43. However, Richard Gere did everything in his power to get out of the role. Movie 43 was released in January 25, 2013 and starred Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Halle Berry, Emma Stone, and many more. The film contained 14 different storylines and featured its own A-list celebs. The film took several years to shoot and most actors didn’t really know what the film was about. The producer, Charles Wessler, first convinced Jackman and Winslet to star in the film. He shot their scene and used it to lure other actors. Richard Gere had agreed to be in the film without really knowing anything about it. After reading the script, he attempted to back out of the movie. Gere was forced into the film or else he’d risk getting sued. Movie 43 was a major flop and critical failure.
12 Pierce Brosnan – Remington Steele
In 1995, Pierce Brosnan became a worldwide celebrity for his role as 007 James Bond. However, he was first offered the opportunity to play 007 in the early ‘80s but was forced to drop out. Pierce had his first big breakthrough in the series Remington Steele, which aired from 1982 to 1987. However, at the end of season 4, NBC decided to cancel the series. After the cancellation, Pierce was offered the role of 007 in the film The Living Daylights. NBC changed their mind after fans demanded the series return. Albert R. Broccoli didn’t want 007 associated with a TV actor so he gave the role to Timothy Dalton instead. Pierce was forced to drop out of The Living Daylights and returned to Remington Steele due to contractual obligations. At the time, he was unhappy with the turn of events, although in the end, it worked out for him.
11 Christopher Reeve – Superman IV: Quest For Peace
Christopher Reeve is often associated with his most iconic role as Clark Kent/Superman in the original Superman series. The 1978 Superman film was a massive critical and commercial success. Superman III was a box office flop and failure with audiences. Reeve assumed the franchise was over and swore off ever playing Superman again. Cannon films purchased the franchise and decided to make a fourth film. They forced Reeve into the film by essentially bribing him. The studio promised to finance Reeve’s longtime passion project, Street Smart, if he’d return to the role. He reluctantly returned and did get to work behind the scenes, although he suspected that the film would fail. The studio slashed the budget, which resulted in terrible special effects. Additionally, Street Smart was well-received by critics but bombed at the box office because the studio failed to promote it. Superman IV was a massive bomb and is now considered one of the worst movies ever made.
10 Mike Myers – Cat In The Hat
The 2003 live action film, The Cat in the Hat, had high expectations because of the success of the 2000 film, How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The movie starred Mike Myers, although it wasn’t his first choice. After filming the third Austin Powers movie, Myers still had one film left on his contract with Universal. The plan was to do an adaptation of a Saturday Night Live character but that fell through. That was when the situation got messy between Myers and the studio. He tried to get out of his contract but was sued by Universal. Myers then counter-sued. They compromised on doing Cat in the Hat, although Myers wasn’t thrilled about it. He agreed because Cat in the Hat was the first book he read. The movie ended up being a dismal failure. The film did so poorly that Dr. Seuss’ widow, Audrey Geisel, decided to never allow another live-action adaption of Seuss’ work.
9 Kathleen Turner And Michael Douglas – The Jewel Of The Nile
Romancing the Stone was a critically and commercially acclaimed comedy. It brought Michael Douglas back into the spotlight and made Kathleen Turner a star. On the other hand, the sequel was a major disappointment, which the stars wanted nothing to do with. The Jewel of the Nile was released on December 11, 1985 and reunited Douglas and Turner. The studio was so pleased with the first film that they were eager to release a sequel. Neither Douglas nor Turner wanted to appear in the sequel but were forced to do so due to their contracts. The studio forced them to return but things didn’t go well. At one point, Turner was so unhappy with the script that she attempted to back out of the film during pre-production. 20th Century Fox threatened to sue her for breach of contract and $25 million. Douglas also served as a producer on the film and got involved to resolve the situation. Turner agreed to stay but the film ended up doing poorly at the box office and was hated by critics.
8 Bill Murray – Garfield: The Movie
Many fans and critics were surprised when Bill Murray accepted a role in Garfield: The Movie. The main reason he accepted the role was because he thought that Joel Coen wrote the script. During an interview with GQ, he said, “I looked at the script, and it said, ‘So-and-so and Joel Coen.’ And I thought: Christ, well, I love those Coens!” Later, when Bill began to record his lines, he struggled with the dialogue. He attempted to improve the lines but this proved to be exhausting. Finally, Bill couldn’t understand how Joel Coen could write something like this. He said, “So I sat down and watched the whole thing, and I kept saying, “Who the hell cut this thing? Who did this? What the *bleep* was Coen thinking?” And then, they explained it to me: It wasn’t written by Joel Coen.” In fact, Joel Coen wrote the film but it was too late, and Bill couldn’t back out of the role.
7 Jennifer Garner – Elektra
Before filming, nobody really knows how well a film is going to do. However, sometimes they realize it midway through that it’s going to be a disaster only to find out that it’s already too late. The 2003 film Daredevil starred Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock/Daredevil and Jennifer Garner as Elektra. Prior to filming, Jennifer agreed to star in an Elektra spin-off, which was included in her contract. Daredevil received mixed reviews but did well at the box office. Initially, Jennifer was enthusiastic about the solo project but that soon fizzled away. During filming, she told her then boyfriend, Michael Vartan, that Elektra was “awful.” He also said, “She had to do it because of Daredevil. It was in her contract.” Elektra was released in 2005 and was an instant critical and commercial failure. It bombed at the box office and was detested by critics. However, Jennifer was praised for her performance but she likely wants to forget about it.
6 Val Kilmer – Top Gun
Val Kilmer had his big breakthrough with his memorable portrayal of LT. Tom “Iceman” Kazanski in Top Gun. However, Val never wanted the role that turned him into a star. Tony Scott directed Top Gun, which was released on May 16, 1986. Top Gun was a major critical and commercial success. It’s one of the biggest movies of the ‘80s. Before filming began, Kilmer was completely against accepting the role but only did so after some intense persuading. Kilmer had signed a three-picture deal with Paramount and already completed two films. Kilmer took the meeting with Tony Scott but turned down the role in the nicest way possible. However, moments later, Scott was chasing down Kilmer. Val said, “I heard this swooshing ‘round the corner. The doors opened and Tony jumped in front of the lift and wouldn’t let me leave.” Kilmer finally agreed to the role but still had his doubts. Luckily for him, everything worked out great.
5 Anne Hathaway – Princess Diaries 2
In 2001, Anne Hathaway starred in the hit Disney film The Princess Diaries. It raised her profile and helped forward her career. At that point, she was ready to move on but the studio had other plans. As per the stipulation in her contract, Anne was forced into starring in a sequel, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. To say that Anne wasn’t thrilled to star in the sequel would be an understatement. In fact, she didn’t want to star in the sequel at all, in which the plot was very similar to the first film. Anne had plans to star in a different movie, 2004’s Phantom of the Opera. She saw this as an opportunity to expand her portfolio. However, the studio insisted for her to star in the sequel as she had already signed the contract. To make matters worse, she was forced to drop out of Phantom of the Opera because of scheduling conflicts with Princess Diaries 2.
4 Keanu Reeves – The Watcher
Keanu Reeves was once forced into a film he wanted nothing to do with because he has some awful friends. In 2000, Keanu portrayed a serial killer in the thriller The Watcher. However, after reading the script, Keanu didn’t want to be in the film. The only problem was a “friend” of his falsified his signature on the contract, and he couldn’t back out of it. His only real option was to prove it was a forgery or get locked in a legal battle. So, Keanu had to man up and take the role. He did no promotional work for the film and had nothing to do with it once it was released. Later, Keanu revealed why he was obligated to appear in the film. He said, “I never found the script interesting, but a friend of mine forged my signature on the agreement. I couldn’t prove he did and I didn’t want to get sued, so I had no other choice but to do the film.”
3 Channing Tatum – GI Joe: Rise Of Cobra
In 2005, Channing Tatum made his film debut in Coach Carter. At that time, he had dreams of one day starring in critically acclaimed films. However, before that, he had to accept a role he never wanted. In 2009, Tatum starred as Duke in G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, although he was reluctant to take the role. He felt the film glorified war but was forced into the role because of a three-picture deal he signed with Paramount. He tried to back out of the film but Paramount threatened to sue him. During an interview with Howard Stern, Tatum revealed he knew the film would bomb after reading the script. He also told Stern that he greatly regretted starring in the film. He was likely horrified at the thought of appearing in the sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Luckily for Tatum, his character was killed off in the opening scene of the sequel, meaning he’d never have to portray Duke again.
2 Natalie Wood – The Searchers
The Searchers is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time. John Ford directed The Searchers, which starred iconic actor John Wayne. In 1989, the classic Western film was chosen for preservation in the National Film Registry. Some actors are forced into a role that they know will bomb. However, sometimes they’re forced into a film that later becomes a classic. The Searchers was released on March 13, 1956 and quickly became a success. This was a surprise to Natalie Wood who never wanted to be in the film. At the time, Wood was signed to Warner Bros Studio and was forced into playing Debbie Edwards in the film. Wood felt she wasn’t right for the role and attempted to get out of the movie. However, she was persuaded by the studio and her mother to accept the role. She took on the role, which has since become one of her greatest performances ever.
1 Daniel Craig – Skyfall
007 James Bond is one of the most famous characters in cinema. He’s charming, handsome, and super cool. Bad guys fear him, and the ladies love him. There isn’t a person that doesn’t love James Bond. Well, except for the current Bond, Daniel Craig. He first starred as 007 in the 2006 film Casino Royale. He then starred in the 2008 film, Quantum of Solace, which received mixed reviews. Craig was unhappy with Solace and started to hate James Bond. He disliked the role so much that he attempted to back out of the following Bond installment, Skyfall. He said, “But they won’t let me go, and I’ve agreed to do a couple more, but let’s see how this one does, because business is business.” Despite the success of Skyfall, he wasn’t keen on doing the most recent installment, Spectre. He often notes that he’d rather be doing something else and said, “All I want to do is move on.”