Actors who were forced to take roles they hated

At certain points in their careers, actors no longer need to audition for the roles they take. Eventually, if they're good enough, studios offer them roles, and they can pick and choose their jobs as they please. However, the inverse of that happens too—sometimes actors are forced to take roles they don't want at all.

Channing Tatum - G.I. Joe

Channing Tatum, of Magic Mike and 21 Jump Street fame, is probably one of the biggest stars today. So it may come as a surprise that he hated acting in one of the movies that helped make him so well known: G. I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. In an interview with Howard Stern, Tatum admitted, "I was pushed into doing that movie." It seems he had to do it to fulfill a contract he had with Paramount Pictures. Tatum went on to say that, although he was a fan of the cartoon growing up, the script was not good, and he was unsure if he wanted to actually be Joe. Also, the picture did not open up the doors people think it did. After doing a movie like that, the only scripts that come to actors are for sequels or other action movies. But he does admit that he felt blessed for getting the work.

The entire cast - Movie 43

Now considered one of the worst movies ever made, Movie 43 has a stellar cast that includes Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Emma Stone, Richard Gere, Halle Berry, Gerard Butler, and Naomi Watts, to name a few. How the film's producers got all of these A-List stars to agree to such an awful movie is a bit of a scandal. Producer Charles Wessler, responsible for films like Shallow Hal and There's Something About Mary, somehow managed to sign Jackman and Winslet and film their scenes sometime in 2009. Wessler then used their involvement to sign the rest of the cast. But when the other actors learned what they were involved in, they tried to get out. Some, like Colin Farrell and the creators of South Park Trey Parker and Matt Stone, did manage to get out of their contracts. And it's been reported that George Clooney was able to get out of his contract as well, apparently by telling the producers, "F— off." The rest of the cast was not so fortunate.

Edward Norton - The Italian Job

Ed Norton is another star who was forced to make a film of which he wanted no part. Norton had signed a three-picture deal with Paramount when he landed his role in Primal Fear, which was released in 1996 and got him his start, and an Oscar nomination too. Soon after that, numerous studios offered Norton parts in their films, many of which Norton accepted. But all the while, he never got around to making another movie for Paramount. Finally, Paramount took action, and in order for Norton to appear in 1999's Fight Club, he had to negotiate a new deal with Paramount that obliged him to make only one more movie with the studio after filming on Fight Club ended. But by 2002, Norton had yet to agree on a film in which to appear, so the company offered him The Italian Job. After Norton told the studio that he didn't want to do the film, the studio sent him a letter saying he had to do it. They also threatened him with a lawsuit, so Norton finally complied. However, he refused to do any promotional work for the film.

Natalie Portman - Thor: The Dark World

When Natalie Portman agreed to appear in Thor, it was already a well-known fact that Marvel Studios signed just about every actor who appeared in their movies to multiple-movie contracts. They even signed Samuel L. Jackson to a multi-picture deal, and his first appearance as Nick Fury was only a post-credit cameo in Iron Man. Portman must have missed this little factoid, as she later wanted nothing to do with the Thor sequel when it came time time to film it. Of course, we can't blame Portman for not wanting to appear in Thor: The Dark World. When development began in April 2011, Portman was still pregnant, and she had publicly stated several times that she wanted to take time off from film work to care for her child. In addition to that, Marvel fired Patty Jenkins, whom Portman had recommended to direct the movie, so that probably didn't sit well with the actress either. But while there's ample evidence to suggest that Portman may not have wanted to do the film, she has since denied that she was forced to appear in it.

Emily Blunt - Gulliver's Travels

Emily Blunt shot to fame when she appeared in The Devil Wears Prada. Numerous studios wanted her for their films. Even Marvel Studios wanted her to appear in Iron Man 2. However, Fox Studios, who produced The Devil Wears Prada, preferred that she appear in their remake of Gulliver's Travels instead. Luckily for Fox, and unluckily for Blunt, her Prada contract had a clause that required her to star in another Fox-made movie. And they used it on a movie that wound up becoming a critical and financial bomb. Fortunately, Blunt's career wasn't damaged too much by this movie, as she has gone on to make many more-successful films since then.

Keanu Reeves - The Watcher

Keanu Reeves' involvement in The Watcher is proof that not all of our friends have our best interests at heart. In this case, the so-called friend is Joe Charbanic, who filmed a tour of Reeves' band Dogstar, and happens to be the director of The Watcher. Shortly after Reeves' huge success with The Matrix, Charbanic allegedly forged Reeves' signature on a contract to appear in the serial-killer flick. Rather than deal with a long and costly legal dispute, and unable to prove that Charbanic forged his signature, Reeves appeared in the movie. Once the movie was released, Reeves did nothing to promote it, but for 12 months, he was contractually prevented from talking about how he got involved in it. However, once that contract was up, he didn't hold any secrets back, among everything else saying, "I never found the script interesting."

Whoopi Goldberg - Theodore Rex

Whoopi Goldberg was riding high from her success with Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, when producers approached her to star in their movie Theodore Rex. At the time, Goldberg agreed to appear in the movie via an oral contract, but in the next two years, something happened to change Goldberg's mind about appearing in the movie. Our guess? It was probably the animatronic, talking dinosaur. She attempted to back out of it, but a court case involving Kim Basinger getting out of Boxing Helena created a precedent that would have made it very expensive for Goldberg to duck out of Theodore Rex. The actress relented and appeared in the movie. The movie did so horribly on its test run that it was released direct-to-video and has the distinction of being the only movie of this kind to earn a Razzie nomination.

Val Kilmer - Top Gun

Surprisingly, Val Kilmer wanted nothing to do with Top Gun, the movie that arguably shot him to stardom. It was all the result of a three-picture deal he signed with Paramount. He had completed the first two films of the deal, Top Secret! and Real Genius, and owed them one more. In order to get his agent off his back, Kilmer went to meet with the film's director, the late Tony Scott. According to Kilmer, he went and had the meeting and then attempted to leave. As the doors to the elevator were about to shut, in Kilmer's words, "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 states that Scott knew he didn't want to make the movie, but Kilmer took the role anyway. We bet Kilmer's glad he took that role now. And after Top Gun, Kilmer worked with Scott again in True Romance.

Marlon Brando - Desiree

As one of the greatest and most famous actors who has ever lived, you'd think Marlon Brando always got a say in which movies he did and did not make—but that's not true. Because of contractual obligations, Brando was forced to appear as Napoleon in Desiree, the script for which he reportedly hated. But Brando didn't take his forced involvement lying down. He made a point 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," among other things. According to Brando's costar, the late Jean Simmons, upon the film's release, Brando was amazed at the movie's success, which included two Oscar nominations, one for art direction and the other for design. Had Brando put some effort into his role, he probably could have garnered a nomination for himself. He could'a been a contender!

Recommended