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15 Actors Who Admitted to Taking a Role Just for the Money

By Dustin Rowles and Rebecca Pahle | Lists | February 2, 2018 |

By Dustin Rowles and Rebecca Pahle | Lists | February 2, 2018 |


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It’s a slow-news day, and I was bored, and I found this old, unfinished draft of a list in the system that Rebecca Pahle had barely started a few years ago, and I thought: Screw it. I’ll finish it for her.

Thanks Rebecca!

Michael Caine, Jaws: The Revenge

“I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.”

Laurence Olivier, Inchon, for which he was paid $1 million delivered by helicopter

“People ask me why I’m playing in this picture. The answer is simple. Money, dear boy.”

Jeremy Irons, on why he made Dungeons & Dragons

“I’d just bought a castle, I had to pay for it somehow.” (He’s not kidding. He actually bought a castle.)

Paul Bettany, the Iron Man movies

“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.”

Richard Dreyfus, Red

“I did it for money and to work with this group of folks,” he said. “I’m nothing if not honest.”

Hugo Weaving on his Voice Acting in Transformers

“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,” the English actor said. “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. I did it … But, my link to that and to Michael Bay is so minimal. I have never met him. “I was never on set. I’ve seen his face on Skype. I know nothing about him, really. I just went in and did it. I never read the script. I just have my lines, and I don’t know what they mean. That sounds absolutely pathetic! I’ve never done anything like that, in my life. It’s hard to say any more about it than that, really.”

Jeremy Irons on the critical lambasting Batman vs. Superman took

“Deservedly so. I mean it took $800 million, so the kicking didn’t matter but it was sort of overstuffed. It was very muddled. I think the next one [Justice League] will be simpler (It was not). The script is certainly a lot smaller, it’s more linear. I’m tied into The Batman at the minute, which is nice because it’s a bit of income.”

Sean Penn on Carlito’s Way

“I needed a chunk of change—because I had a kid now and bills to pay,” he said. He used the money to fund his directing project, Crossing Guard.

Gary Oldman on why he made Robocop

“Why am I in this movie? Money! I’m at the mercy of what the industry is making and what comes through my door.”

Alec Guiness on playing Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars

“Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it’s not an acting job, the dialogue — which is lamentable — keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young. New rubbish dialogue reaches me every other day on wadges of pink paper,” Guinness told a friend. “None of it makes my character clear or even bearable.”

Eddie Murphy on Best Defense

“Yeah, I turned down the lead role, but Paramount was determined to get me in the movie. They finally came back with an offer of a million dollars for something like a couple weeks’ work. Now, I want you to tell me a 22-year-old is going to turn down a million dollars for two weeks’ work?”

Eddie Murphy on Beverly Hills Cop III

“I made Cop III because they offered me $15 million. That $15 million was worth having Roger Ebert’s thumb up my ass.”

Ron Perlman on In the Name of the King

“I’m doing weapons training for this piece of shit, then I go to Romania to shoot another piece of shit, then come back to shoot my part in this piece of shit … What can I say? My wife loves shoes.”

Dennis Hopper on Super Mario Brothers

“I made a picture called Super Mario Bros., and my six-year-old son at the time — he’s now 18 — he said, ‘Dad I think you’re probably a pretty good actor, but why did you play that terrible guy King Koopa in Super Mario Bros.?’ And I said, ‘Well Henry, I did that so you could have shoes,’ and he said, ‘Dad, I don’t need shoes that badly.’”

Sigourney Weaver on why she did Alien 3

“Because they basically drove a dump truck full of money to my house.”



Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.



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