Top 10 Shameless Acting Roles Taken Just For The Money



Top 10 Shameless Acting Roles Taken Just For The Money

VOICE OVER: Matthew Wende WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
Written by Nathan Sharp

Acting is a tireless craft requiring talent and dedication, but these actors were just in it for the money! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Actors Who Shamelessly Took Acting Gigs for the Money! But who will take the top spot on the list? Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, or Alec Guinness in Star Wars? Watch to find out!

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Big thanks to Tyson Turner for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, be sure to check out the suggest page here: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Shameless+Acting+Roles+Taken+Just+For+The+Check
Even celebrities have to pay the bills. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Shameless Acting Roles Taken Just for the Check.

For this list, we’ll be looking at actors who took a specific role for the sole purpose of obtaining a paycheck. We won’t be including speculation though – it needs to have been proven that these actors took the role for the money, either by their own admission or through reliable sources.

#10: Billy Bob Thornton

“Armageddon” (1998)

You know what they say: divorce is messy. Thornton told a crowd at SXSW that he took the role of Dan Truman in “Armageddon” because he was going through one. He told them, “I had to pay off a divorce. I really did! When I did Armageddon, I had to have some money!” Despite taking the role as a last resort, he refuses to disrespect the movie, saying, “The movie did a lot for me so I can never knock that movie.” Now that’s class!

#9: Michael Madsen

“Species II” (1998)

Michael Madsen has appeared in numerous acclaimed movies, including “Reservoir Dogs,” “Kill Bill,” and “Donnie Brasco.” He’s also appeared in “Species II.” Yeah, remember that one? As it turns out, Madsen doesn’t want to, either. In an interview with Metro, Madsen said, “I’ve made some crap but you’ve got to pay the bills” and called “Species II” “a crock of s**t.” Well, he isn’t exactly wrong: the movie currently holds a 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was a financial flop, making only $19 million domestically on a $35 million budget.

#8: Eddie Murphy

“Best Defense” (1984)

While you wouldn’t know it now, what with “The Adventures of Pluto Nash” and “Norbit,” Eddie Murphy was one of the biggest movie stars of the 1980s, and studios were chomping at the bit to have him appear in their movies. And that’s how he ended up in “Best Defense.” He told Interview magazine that Paramount “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...?” “Best Defense” was known as one of the worst movies of the year, but hey, a million bucks is a million bucks.

#7: Glenn Close

“Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014)

Marvel always shells out truckloads of cash for their movies, and acting in one is sure to add to your bank account in significant ways. This is why acclaimed actress Glenn Close appeared in a movie about talking raccoons and trees. She was quoted at the Nantucket Film Festival as saying, “I’m doing [Guardians] because it will then afford me to go do the other kind of movies that I really love.” Independent movies are great and all, but they surely don’t pay as well as appearing in a new Marvel flick. That said, “Guardians of the Galaxy” was damn entertaining.

#6: Orson Welles

“The Transformers: The Movie” (1986)

Orson Welles is known as one of the greatest actors of all time. He has appeared in some of the most notable artistic achievements in various media, including the 1938 radio broadcast of “The War of the Worlds” and “Citizen Kane,” one of the most influential movies of all time. He also appeared in the animated “Transformers” film as Unicron, so there’s that as well. In Joseph McBride’s portrait of the man, he quotes Welles as saying, “I played the voice of a toy. Some terrible robot toys from Japan that change from one thing to another… all bad outer space stuff,” and insinuates that he was debasing himself to pay the rent. We wonder what Welles’ opinion would be regarding Michael Bay…

#5: Jackie Chan

“Rush Hour” (1998)

Jackie Chan is one of the most respected stunt performers of all time. So, why did he appear in a goofy comedy with Chris Tucker? For the same reason as everyone else on this list: cold, hard cash. Chan seemingly detests his work in “Rush Hour,” with The Hollywood Reporter reporting that he said, “There was no reason [in making “Rush Hour”], you just give me the money and I’m fine. I dislike ‘Rush Hour’ the most.” Regardless of his stance on the project, the movie was a huge success, and Chan appeared in its two sequels. The money must have been pretty darned good.

#4: Dennis Hopper

“Super Mario Bros.” (1993)

Along with Bob Hoskins, Dennis Hopper absolutely hated working on “Super Mario Bros.,” and it’s not hard to see why: it’s universally considered to be one of the worst movies ever, and who can forget Hopper’s gloriously stupid hair and lizard tongue? Hopper told Conan O’Brien that his son asked him why he appeared in the movie, to which Hopper responded, “Well Henry, I did that so you could have shoes.” His son brilliantly responded, “Dad, I don’t need shoes that badly.” Aaaand roasted.

#3: Michael Caine

“Jaws: The Revenge” (1987)

Michael Caine is one of the most respected actors of our time: he has been nominated six times for an Academy Award, winning twice, and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000. And, in 1987, he starred in a movie about a vengeful shark that follows its target from Massachusetts to the Bahamas. To his credit, Caine is well aware that the movie is awful. He once said, “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.” Zero craps given, indeed.

#2: Morgan Freeman

“London Has Fallen” (2016)

“London Has Fallen,” starring Freeman and Gerard Butler, was the sequel to the relatively successful “Olympus Has Fallen,” but received considerably worse reviews than its predecessor, only amassing a 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While Freeman was in the original, it seems as if he knew that the sequel would be crap, but agreed to star in it anyway for the sake of job security. When Digital Spy asked Freeman why he decided to return for the sequel, Freeman gleefully responded with: (“money money money moooney”) ok he also said this: (“These large production action films pay well! Rewards are many,”) he further added, “You never know when they’re going to call you back."

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Tim Roth

“United Passions” (2014)

Richard Dreyfuss

“Poseidon” (2006)

Ben Affleck

“Paycheck” (2003)

#1: Alec Guinness

“Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” (1977)

While we may not think of “Star Wars” as a shameless career move, Alec Guinness, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi, certainly felt otherwise. In a December 1975 letter to a friend published in his authorized biography, Guinness proclaimed the movie to be “fairy-tale rubbish,” and the part to be one which he “may accept, if they come up with proper money.” His demands were seemingly met. In April of 1976, he wrote, “Apart from the money, which should get me comfortably through the year, I regret having embarked on the film.” Guinness may be most well-known for his role as Obi-Wan, but it seems as if he hated every second of it.