27 stars who only appeared in famous films to get the paycheck

  • 27 stars who only appeared in films to get the paycheck

We all want our favourite film stars to do what they do for the love of their art, but Lamborghinis and mansions in the Hollywood Hills aren't going to pay for themselves.

We've already looked at stars who just plain couldn't be bothered with the films they were in.

But while they (mostly) put in a half-decent performance, these stars didn't keep a secret of the fact that they were only in it for the money...

1. Paul Bettany in Iron Man

Paul Bettany's has very publically admitted his performance as voice of Tony Stark's JARVIS system is only to get the Marvel cash.

Bettany explained: "I feel like a pirate. This is robbery. I walk in, I say some lines on a piece of paper for two hours, and then they give me a bag of money and I leave and I go about my day.

"I sort of feel guilty, because at least acting can be exhausting, with long hours… but I do nothing! And I've never seen one of them."

Once Bettany was cast in the more physical role of Vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron, he joked that "now they want me to work for my money versus turn up for 45 minutes in a darkened studio as Jarvis".

2. Steve Buscemi in Armageddon

Steve Buscemi has declared he will not turn down a role if the money is right - when asked about his appearance in Armageddon, he replied simply: "I wanted a bigger house."

3. Michael Caine in Jaws: The Revenge

Michael Caine has stated: "First of all, I choose the great roles, and if none of these come, I choose the mediocre ones, and if they don't come, I choose the ones that pay the rent."

The British icon's 'paycheck pictures' include Ashanti, The Swarm, The Island, Blame It on Rio and Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, but his biggest shame is probably starring in Jaws: The Revenge.

When asked why he appeared in the fifth Jaws film, Caine said: "I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house it built, and it is terrific."

4. Morgan Freeman in the Dark Knight Trilogy

Morgan Freeman said he only starred as Bruce Wayne's head of research, Lucius Fox, in Batman Begins for the money.

The film's success and those of the sequels The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises probably came as a treat to his bank balance.

5. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Airplane!

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar revealed he appeared as airline co-pilot Roger Murdock in the now-classic comedy Airplane! because the role paid for an expensive rug he wished to purchase.

The films co-director Jerry Zucker explains: "When we offered the role to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, I think we offered him $30,000, and then the agent asked for $35,000 because that’s how much this rug cost that Kareem wanted to buy.

"It was an oriental rug - an art piece, not one to walk on, I don’t think."

6. Sean Connery in Diamonds Are Forever

Sean Connery agreed to do his last official (and one of the series' worst) Bond film Diamonds Are Forever for £1.2m, which he used to found the Scottish International Education Trust (an arts funding company for Scottish artists).

7. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

For years, Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to do a third Terminator movie if James Cameron wasn't directing.

Cameron just told him to go for it and ask for: "nothing less than $30 million."

In the end, for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Schwarzenegger was paid $29.25m and 20 per cent of the film's profits. 

8. Jeremy Irons in Dungeons & Dragons

When Jeremy Irons was asked why he took his Dungeons and Dragons role, Irons replied: "Are you kidding? I'd just bought a castle, I had to pay for it somehow!"

Irons has said that he frequently does movies, including Beautiful Creatures and Eragon, only to pay for his castle.

9. Steve Martin in Cheaper by the Dozen and The Pink Panther

Comedy legend Steve Martin has admitted that he only does films like Cheaper by the Dozen and The Pink Panther so he can finance his writing and art collection.

Plus, it's more fun for him to keep starring in comedies than to try his hand in a dramatic role.

10. Sigourney Weaver in Alien³ and Alien: Resurrection

After Aliens, Weaver had intended it to be the final film as Ripley.

That was until 20th Century Fox offered her a much bigger payday and a producer's credit to do third film.

Years later, during an interview, when asked: "Why did you agree to do Alien: Resurrection?" She replied: "Because they drove a dumptruck full of money to my house."

11. Ben Affleck in Paycheck

When Ben Affleck was promoting Paycheck - which he won the Razzie Award for worst actor - on Conan O'Brien, Conan asked him why he did the film, and Ben simply replied: "the answer lies in the title."

12. Jeremy Renner in The Avengers

One of the main reasons Jeremy Renner signed on to play Hawkeye in The Avengers is because of the popularity of superhero films, which he knew would guarantee a big salary.

Plus he really wanted to play a superhero after seeing Iron Man.

13. Jackie Chan in Rush Hour

The Martial arts legend revealed that he was offered an "irresistible" amount of money to make Rush Hour and its sequels. 

Despite this, Chan criticised the film series; when asked about Rush Hour 3, he explained: "Nothing particularly exciting stood out that made this movie special for me 

"I spent four months making this film and I still don't fully understand the humour." 

14. Helen Mirren in Teaching Mrs. Tingle

Helen Mirren was once asked why she appeared in black comedy-drama Teaching Mrs. Tingle.

She replied "Because they gave me a sh*tload of money to do it."

15. Christopher Walken in pretty much everything

Christopher Walken has made it well known that he never turns down a well-paying gig.

This includes him providing standout performances in Joe Dirt, The Country Bears, Kangaroo Jack, Gigli, Envy, Click and the 2004 remake of The Stepford Wives.

16. Glenn Close in Guardians of the Galaxy

Glenn Close said she played Nova Prime in blockbuster hit Guardians of the Galaxy so the paycheck would give her the chance to do independent films.

She explained: "I’m doing Guardians because it will then afford me to go do the other kind of movies that I really love, and hopefully I will have a great time.

"It’ll be a new experience for me, but practically speaking it will mean that I can do those smaller movies and it’ll be okay."

17. Hugo Weaving in Transformers

Hugo Weaving has casually admitted to phoning in his performance as Megatron On the first three Transformers films.

The English-Australian actor revealed: "It was one of the only things I've ever done where I had no knowledge of it, I didn't care about it, I didn't think about it.

"They wanted me to do it. In one way, I regret that bit. I don't regret doing it, but I very rarely do something if it's meaningless.

"It was meaningless to me, honestly. I don't mean that in any nasty way."

Transformers director Michael Bay hit back at Weaving, writing on his blog: "Do you ever get sick of actors that make $15m a picture, or even $200,000 for voiceover work that took a brisk one hour and 43 minutes to complete, and then complain about their jobs?"

"With all the problems facing our world today, do these grumbling thespians really think people reading the news actually care about trivial complaints that their job isn't 'artistic enough' or 'fulfilling enough'?"

18. Sandra Bullock in 28 Days

In an interview promoting 28 Days, the comedy-drama about alcoholism, the interviewer asked Sandra Bullock why she chose to star in it. 

She promptly answered that she needed the money.

19. Eddie Murphy in Best Defense

Back in 1984, Eddie Murphy had just finished a successful stint on Saturday Night Live, but hadn't hit it big as Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop just yet.

When he was offered a part in rubbish comedy war film, Best Defense, Eddie joked on Saturday Night Live: "What?! How dare you give me a script like this! Oh, THAT much money? Let's go!"

When asked about how he took on the role, Murphy replied: "How did I get involved? The door opened, and four men came in carrying a check."

20. Shaquille O'Neal in Kazaam

One of the NBA's biggest stars Shaquille O'Neal starred in 1996's Kazaam - a family musical where he played a genie who emerges from a boombox.

What inspired Shaq to star in the children's flick?

The man himself told GQ in 2012: "I was a medium-level juvenile delinquent from Newark who always dreamed about doing a movie.

"Someone said 'Hey, here's $7 million, come in and do this genie movie.' What am I going to say, no?"''

21. Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in The Twilight Saga

Both Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart have said that they only did the Twilight movie for the money.

Pattinson has also said that he wanted to do Twilight in order to have the opportunity to work with Stewart.

Going into New Moon, the second film in the series, the pair negotiated a six-fold salary increase for themselves - costing the filmmakers 40% of the film's budget.

22. Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act 2

Whoopi Goldberg agreed to don the nun outfit to return in Sister Act 2 because Disney promised to bankroll a movie she wanted to make, a film adaptation of the Broadway musical Sarafina! about the 1976 Soweto riots in South Africa.

23. Sylvester Stallone in Rocky V

The fifth instalment of the Rocky series has few fans, even Rocky Balboa himself, Sylvester Stallone, doesn't have much love for the film.

When asked about his decision to put on the gloves for a fifth outing, Stallone explained: "I'm greedy - what can I tell you?

"It was a mistake because the audience didn't want to see the downside of the character.

"They wanted him to remain on top. I should have known that. I fell into a sense of self-parody."

24. Liam Neeson in the Taken sequels

After the runaway success of the first Taken, Liam Neeson agreed to do more Taken films when offered a salary ten times his fee of the original.

The Northern Irish actor was reportedly paid $10-15 million for Taken 2, and $20 million for Taken 3.

25. Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil: Retribution

Both Milla Jovovich and director Paul W.S. Anderson have stated bluntly, at certain points, that the only reason that Resident Evil: Retribution (as well as a possible sixth film) is being made is mostly for profit.

26. Betsy Palmer in Friday the 13th

Betsy Palmer confessed that she only appeared as Pamela Voorhies in the original Friday the 13th because she was in desperate need of a new car.

After she read the script she remarked: "what a piece of sh*t! Nobody is ever going to see this thing."

27. Pretty much everyone in Ocean's Twelve

More-or-less the entire cast of the Ocean's Eleven sequel has admitted they just wanted to get paid to party at George Clooney's villa.

Brad Pitt joked that he thought it was funny that Catherine Zeta-Jones "thought we were making a movie."

Meanwhile, Don Cheadle has confirmed it:

He revealed in an interview: "George Clooney bought everybody these beach cruiser bikes and we were riding around in our bikes and playing basketball at every break and we were in Las Vegas."

"It was crazy. It was ridiculous. I mean, I'm not giving the money back, but..."


When 14 great actors completely phoned in their performances
28 films that changed their names to try to get more people to watch them
19 sequels to big films that you probably never knew had been made

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