Not every actor chooses his or her next project with the noblest of intentions. On more than one occasion, the decision has come down to one thing: the size of the paycheck (or the desire for a pricey oriental rug). Here are nine actors who've admitted to doing it for the money. But hey, can you blame them?
1. JACKIE CHAN // RUSH HOUR (1998)
Despite appearing in all three movies in the Rush Hour franchise, Jackie Chan says there was no reason to make one in the first place.
"I have reasons to do each film, I have something to say," Chan told The Hollywood Reporter in 2012. "Unlike Rush Hour—there was no reason [in making it], you just give me the money and I'm fine. I dislike Rush Hour the most, but ironically it sold really well in the U.S. and Europe.”
Whether he likes the films or not, he's not about to turn down a big-budget paycheck. In 2014, he said that he was in talks for a fourth Rush Hour movie.
2. STEPHEN DILLANE //
GAME OF THRONES
Though he's been acting for more than 30 years, Stephen Dillane is probably best known for playing Stannis Baratheon in Game of Thrones. During the fourth season of the epic fantasy show, viewers saw Dillane's character transform from a wannabe king to a man on the brink of madness, and loved to hate him. When asked by Radio Times what he got out of the series, Dillane's reply was simply: “Money."
Even after his involvement with the show ended, Dillane said he had no plans to watch it. "It's pretty brutal," he said of the series. "I couldn't watch much of that anyway. It's hardcore. Too tough for me ... It's just too painful.”
3. MORGAN FREEMAN //
LONDON HAS FALLEN
Morgan Freeman has starred in more than 100 movies, and not all of them have been passion projects. When making the press rounds earlier this year for Babak Najafi's London Has Fallen—the sequel to Antoine Fuqua's Olympus Has Fallen (2013)—Freeman admitted that his biggest motivation for returning to the series was because of the paycheck, especially as he doesn't know if and when the next big-budget movie will come calling. "That studio ... they’ll be right back out there making another movie. And you never know when they’re going to call you back.”
In 2004, Richard Dreyfuss announced that he was retiring from acting. Less than a year later, he was starring in Wolfgang Petersen's remake of The Poseidon Adventure. When asked what led to the about-face, Dreyfuss was forthright: “Money, simple. I announced my retirement just one number short of winning the Spanish national lottery. I waited until the tenth and then, ‘I’m retired! Oh sh*t! Ahhh!’ So that’s why [I came back].”
Un-retirement seems to suit Dreyfuss; he has accumulated more than 20 credited roles since Poseidon.
5. EDDIE MURPHY //
In the 1980s, Eddie Murphy was cranking out hits like 48 Hrs., Trading Places, and Best Defense ... oh, haven’t heard of that last one? That’s probably because it was a flop, and you can probably guess why Murphy decided to make it despite turning it down numerous times.
"Yeah, I turned down the lead role, but Paramount was determined to get me in the movie," Murphy told Interview Magazine. "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?"
6. ALEC GUINNESS //
Alec Guinness grew so tired of his role as the sage Obi-Wan Kenobi that he encouraged George Lucas to kill off his character. Even looking back on the movies after they became a cultural phenomenon, he still saw only one good reason for starring in them.
"Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film," Guinness reportedly said. "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."
7. MICHAEL CAINE //
JAWS: THE REVENGE
Two-time Academy Award winner Michael Caine has famously gone on record stating that he never even bothered to watch the fourth film in the Jaws franchise, in which the vengeful great white followed the Brody family all the way to the Bahamas. Even though the movie got terrible reviews and received seven Razzie nominations (including one for Caine and another for Bruce the Shark), Caine has no regrets about starring in the film.
“I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible," Caine once said. "However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.”
Unfortunately, reshoots on the movie prevented Caine from accepting his first Oscar win for Hannah and Her Sisters.
8. GLENN CLOSE //
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
Though Glenn Close was excited about playing police chief Nova Prime in James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy, her primary interest was what the fat paycheck that came along with the part could do for her future. When asked about her thoughts on big-budget movies at the Nantucket Film Festival in 2013, Close was candid in her response:
"I just did two independent films this summer and I had an absolute ball with fantastic actors, but in August, I’m gonna go off and do the next generation of Marvel Comics/Disney and I get to be the chief police of the galaxy ... I’m doing that because it will then afford me to go do the other kind of movies that I really love, and hopefully I will have a great time [on Guardians of the Galaxy]. It’ll be a new experience for me, but practically speaking it will mean that I can do those smaller movies and it’ll be okay."
It looks like she did have a great time, as she's slated to star in the sequel, which will be released in May.
9. KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR //
Although he's never specifically stated that he took on the role of Roger Murdock (which was written with Pete Rose in mind) in Airplane! for the money, it's pretty obvious that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had one price—and carpet—in mind before accepting the role.
"When we offered the role [of Murdock] to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, I think we offered him $30,000, and then the agent asked for $35,000 because that’s how much this rug cost that Kareem wanted to buy," co-director Jerry Zucker told The A.V. Club. "It was an oriental rug—an art piece, not one to walk on, I don’t think—so our initial reaction was, 'That’s got to be the best line we’ve ever heard from an agent.' It was like, 'Boy, this guy’s really creative!' But then a couple of weeks later, there’s an article in TIME with a picture of Kareem standing in front of the oriental rug that he’d bought for $35,000 after we’d paid him."