Actors who only made films for contractual reasons


During our day-to-day work life, we're often confronted with projects or tasks that we don't want to do. Not us though obviously as we love every single second of every single day of every single year working here. But for millions of others, work can often be a bitch.

Even though they're blessed with the ability to burn money on a whim, actors also share this problem. Often, they're stuck with films that they didn't really want to be a part of but for contractual reasons, they're forced to be on set.

Here are seven intriguing examples:

(Images: All Star)

Edward Norton - The Italian Job

Keen to keep working with him after his Oscar-nominated breakout role in Primal Fear, Paramount offered Edward Norton a three-picture deal. But they couldn't agree on what film he would make next and after eight years without any joy, Norton was faced with legal action if he didn't join the cast of The Italian Job, a remake of the 60s classic. Norton refused to do any promotion for the film, in which he starred alongside Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron. He's remained pretty quiet on the film, speaking up just to say "My real fans should give this a miss." The film, however, remains a surprisingly effective remake and made a tidy profit at the box office.


Emily Blunt - Gulliver's Travels

After The Devil Wears Prada was such a huge hit for Fox, and turned Emily Blunt into a star, the actress found herself at the top of every casting director's wish list, including the blockbuster-makers over at Marvel. They wanted her for the role of Black Widow in Iron Man 2 but there was a slight problem. She'd shown interest in the part but Fox were keen for her to star in the Jack Black-fronted remake of Gulliver's Travels, which would make for a scheduling conflict. Apparently, they then invoked an option, from her Prada contract, that meant she has to star in another Fox movie, specifically this one. Critics loathed the film and audiences stayed far away yet Blunt emerged unscathed.


Keanu Reeves - The Watcher

Quite possibly the strangest story on the list, Keanu Reeves claims that a friend of his forged his signature on the contract and, rather than face a difficult time in court, he decided to make the derivative serial killer thriller instead. Miscast as the villain, Reeves coasts through the role with little to no interest and critics gave him a hard time on release. Legally, Reeves was banned from talking about the circumstances which led to him being attached for the next year. But when the time came, he claimed that he didn't find the script interesting but a forgery forced him into it.


Mike Myers - Cat in the Hat

Back in the post-Austin Powers haze when Mike Myers was still seen as a bankable box office presence, he was offered $20 million to play his SNL character Dieter on the big screen. But when the script came in, Myers wasn't happy and refused to go forward as he felt that moviegoers would be cheated. He was then sued by Universal for $3.8 million but he countersued and finally, a settlement was reached where he agreed to make another film with the studio. Sadly for him, it was this. The whopping $109 million budget only translated to a $133 million gross and the film picked up a range of Razzie nominations.


Whoopi Goldberg - Theodore Rex

You're at a party, maybe you've had a few drinks, a producer says "Do you want $5 million to star in a buddy cop movie with a dinosaur?" and heck, you say yes, sleep it off and forget all about it. Two years later, you're being called to set. Oh and you're Whoopi Goldberg. You then get sued. Ultimately, the good news is everything gets settled and you get $7 million. The bad news is that you still have to make the movie. At the time, Theodore Rex was the most expensive movie ever to go straight to video. Which is something...


Jennifer Garner - Elektra

Ask any given Hollywood executive and they'll tell you that female-fronted superhero movies just don't fly at the box office and while the stats don't lie (Supergirl, Catwoman, Aeon Flux), the fact remains that all of these films have also been really awful. Added to the mix is this misfire with Jennifer Garner reprising her role of Elektra from Daredevil. Garner told boyfriend at the time Michael Vartan that she thought it was "awful" and only made it because of her original Daredevil contract. It still remains one of the worst-performing Marvel films ever, sputtering out with just $24 million at the box office.


Val Kilmer - Top Gun

A bit of a surprise this one since this was the film that turned Val Kilmer into a star but it turns out that he really didn't want to be a part of the smash hit action drama. Kilmer had previously starred in comedies Top Secret! and Real Genius for Paramount and since he'd signed a three picture deal, he was obligated to make one more. Kilmer has since warmed to the film and stated that he would love to star in the long-mooted sequel. But then a lot has changed for him since 1986...


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