Unlike the Classically Trained Extras , who lament that their talent is being wasted, or the small but legitimate roles of the One-Scene Wonder , or the Old Shame of roles taken when it was the only work available, this trope covers actors who are completely fine with the situation.
Obviously, movies are big business, and the right name at the top of the poster can be the difference between a hit and a flop.
And it's hard to argue with the fact that, when offered buckets and buckets of cash for three weeks of shooting, anyone would be a fool not to take it. After all, acting is a volatile profession, as many starving artists can attest, and financial security for you and your family is nothing to turn from: It's not so much selling out, as selling well.
And furthermore, most creative professions are overcrowded; for every wealthy and successful artist who can afford to sniff at jobs that are 'beneath' him or her, there's ten or more underworked ones who would kill for a chance at the income. On a cynical note, in the state that America is in today, you shouldn't be surprised to see this more often. Most actors have been seen sliding down the perceived hierarchy of the entertainment field, with the most common "step down" is for actors who primarily work in film suddenly "slumming it" by taking roles on television.
Still, if you do too many of these, you run the risk of having a rather strange IMDb record and irrevocably ruining your reputation as a creative thespian: Some artists, however, can turn this to their advantage; a common reason cited by many successful artists who engage in this trope is that a high-paying job that doesn't greatly interest them means that they have more money to put into funding and appearing in lower-budget but more creatively appealing ones.
To be clear, however, there is no shame at all for doing a movie for the money, and if the movie happens to be a great one, artistically or popularly, all the better. Even if it is for the money, the level can be kept high and professional and they can turn out something great like the example with Coppola and The Godfather.
If it ends up a mediocre, run of the mill production, that's also excusable. People in creative jobs need an income the same as anyone else, and in fact, many of the greatest popcorn flicks of all time are great primarily because the studio shelled out the money to get actors and directors who would rather be doing something else, but who were still prepared to give the audience a good performance.
However, should a cash-in movie end up So Bad, It's Horrible , both the audience and the critics are likely to be notably less forgiving than they would be while judging a bad movie with original, artistic premise marred by flawed execution. As a result, rather paradoxically, an artist who takes the job for the money is perhaps best trying to put in a decent or at least entertaining performance even in a movie that doesn't match up to their standards. Whether they Took the Bad Film Seriously or end up Chewing the Scenery with Ham and Cheese , they're likely to elicit more respect from the audience than if they took the money but made it clear through their performance that they couldn't care less for anything but the paycheck.
This is also the reason for the percentage of high quality foreign artists appearing in crummy American films: Hollywood, even at its most cheapskate, tends to pay much better than any other film industry in the world.
Note that this also applies to starring in big US television shows; with multi-million dollar deals commonplace, it can allow you to be a lot more choosy for the next few years. Similar to getting a healthy paycheck, some actors will just want to do something " their kids can watch ", the kind of roles most actors seek usually being dark and not appropriate for minors. A common theme — especially among older actors and actresses — stems from growing up during hard economic conditions, either from a poor economy as a whole or from family hardships.
The fear that "The Next Job" may not come, as it often failed to do for their family, drives them to take roles they might not otherwise be interested in.
And, again, they're not exaggerating: Not to be confused with Only in It for the Money , which is when this is the excuse a character uses in-story. Also notice that if a great actor is in a crappy movie, it doesn't necessarily mean that he's in it just for the money; contrast Awesome, Dear Boy and So My Kids Can Watch. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar appeared in Airplane! Subverted in that the movie is now considered a classic.
Joss Ackland said that his money woes were the only reason he appeared in the movie Passion of Mind, which he called 'awful'.
Arab-American comedian and actor Ahmed Ahmed has a stand-up bit where he talks about getting offered the role of Terrorist 4 in a Hollywood movie after attempting to troll the audition by playing the role as mockingly over-the-top as possible. Ahmed describes that his first reaction was to reject the role on principle, because every time an ethnic actor takes a stereotypical role it just perpetuates the problem In his book There And Back Again: An Actor's Tale, Sean Astin talks at length about reconciling the conflict between the desire as an actor to do serious, important work, and the need to pay the bills by doing things like Encino Man.
John Barrowman stated this as his only reason for appearing in the legendary Shark Attack 3: Kim Basinger backed out of the production of Boxing Helena , and as a result was sued for eight million dollars. Basinger was forced to enter bankruptcy. Rolling Stone's review even stated: Though Napier expressed pride and fondness for the role later on. This was her declared motivation for starring in Executive Decision. It evidently had nothing to do with the quality of the film itself she simply didn't want to do it , but changed her mind when Warner Bros.
She quickly signed up for it. She received a record salary for appearing in Catwoman , which flopped at the box office. This film has a strange history; before Berry was attached it was a generic superhero film. After getting her, it became a vanity film for Berry, and they shoehorned in the Catwoman angle.
Perhaps Money, Dear Boy was at work when DC Comics allowed their trademarked name to be used in a film they had no input to. It really didn't help that the actual Catwoman character was off-limits because of the possibility she would appear in another Batman movie. Paul Bettany 's growing family must be the reason he made Legion and Priest Or perhaps for Awesome, Dear Boy , as he has an entry there for Legion as well. And in a more quality product, but admittedly done for cash: Once Bettany got upgraded to a more physical role as 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 and [act] Jarvis".
Specifically, the film was intended as a Pilot Movie for a Carrie TV series which ultimately didn't get picked up due to the film's disappointing ratings , and she took the role hoping it would lead to the sort of steady paycheck that working on a TV show provides. In a behind the scenes featurette for Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon , Michael Biehn stated that he did Rex Colt's voice work for a paycheck and not much else. However, much like the game itself, the featurette was very tongue-in-cheek, and Biehn also said he had quite a lot of fun recording the more Charles Bronson 's whole career.
After an early life of extremely unpleasant and menial jobs, he took a stab at acting simply because he thought it looked like an easy way to make money. Even after he became the best-paid actor in the world, he described himself as "a product, like a cake of soap to be sold. He simply memorized his lines and performed as needed. In Rock Brynner's book Yul: Due to a combination of factors including unscrupulous film studios, his absence from the U.
He turned in roles in scores of schlocky films, and would always note to his son that because the studios and government felt compelled to try to screw him over at every opportunity, he could do the same thing to make money on projects that were beneath his star power.
In an interview promoting the film 28 Days no, not that one the interviewer asked Sandra Bullock why she chose to star in it. She promptly answered that she needed the money. The interviewer started to laugh, but stopped shortly when he noticed Ms.
Richard Burton made a career of it. Steve Buscemi will not turn down a high-paying role. When asked about his appearance in Armageddon , he replied, "I wanted a bigger house.
James Caan told any media person he could at the time that he did Alien Nation purely for the money. Nicolas Cage likes to spend his cash, to the point he declared bankruptcy in Along with selling properties which include a castle in France he started taking many roles afterwards that can be perfectly explained with "I need to finish off my debt with the IRS.
The Revenge — his work on the film also prevented him from attending the ceremony where he would've been awarded his first Oscar. After his work on Jaws IV, Caine finally started turning down offers like this. At least until his appearance in Bewitched. Caine said of Jaws IV: However, I have seen the house it built, and it is terrific. John Carradine may well be the patron saint of this trope. On the stage he played Hamlet.
On the screen he played, well, damn near anything. And his son David Carradine definitely followed in his footsteps. Jackie Chan admits that he did appear in a porno film to get by several years before he became famous. He originally did his own stunts because it meant he brought home a little more money every week. Over time this became his trademark, proving Tropes Are Not Bad. It's also the reason he continues doing big budget Hollywood movies, despite not really getting the "American humor" and accusations by the Chinese community that he's "selling out" by playing the funny Chinese man.
The massive salary enables him to fund his Asian movies as well as continue his charitable work. He has said he prefers the indie Hong Kong dramas that he works on, such as Shinjuku Incident , which his Hollywood films help pay for. Chevy Chase with Community. Despite the critical acclaim and devoted fanbase, Chase made little secret of his discontent with being on the show, creator Dan Harmon , and sitcoms in general "the lowest form of television". He stated outright that the paycheck and his cast members were the only things that kept him around.
He finally left the show after four seasons. Ironically, number four was the de-Harmonized season , and he also quit because he was irritated with the Flanderization that Pierce had suffered. It's pretty much why Jessica Chastain lent her voice to Madagascar 3: There was a couch I wanted to buy and I had no time in my schedule to do another film. My agent said, "I don't know if you're interested, but they're having auditions for an animated film So I went in and auditioned and then I got the call that I got the part.
And I got the couch! John Cleese founded the company Video Arts to make corporate training videos. When asked why, he said it was because he discovered that businesses would pay loads of money for him to do the things he did well, write and act.
Guardians of the Galaxy for this.