Some actors care so much about a role that they'll give away all their worldly possessions, dump their girlfriends, or lock themselves in sensory deprivation chambers to get into character -- and that's just Adrien Brody. Others, not so much. This article is about the latter.
While the Christian Bales and, uh, Ashton Kutchers of the world are starving themselves for parts, other great thespians gave so few shits about some of their performances that they couldn't even tell you know what the movies in question are about. So why they do take these jobs, other than for the insane amounts of money? Sometimes, their explanations are way more entertaining than the movies themselves. Like in the case of ...
6Hugo Weaving As Megatron In Transformers -- "I Just Have My Lines, And I Don't Know What They Mean"
When Michael Bay decided to turn Transformers, the beloved series of toy commercials, into a movie franchise, he needed someone sinister-sounding enough to provide the voice of the villainous Megatron. Of all the British-accented actors in the world, Bay ended up going with Hugo Weaving, best known for saying "Mr. Anderson" a lot in the Matrix trilogy.
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The CGI version is actually less scary.
But despite taking on the role of one of the most elite supervillains of the '80s, Weaving had very little else to do with the project. He never read the script. He never saw the set. He never met his nemesis, Shia LaBeouf. All of his interactions with Michael Bay happened over Skype. He did the entire thing in two hours in a studio while wearing a T-shirt, and it looked like this:
Why He Took It:
Weaving talks about acting in Transformers as if he's recalling the time someone asked him to pose for a selfie. He says he was doing a play, so he didn't have much time, but "they wanted [him] to do it," so he agreed to be in the movie. Barely. "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," he said, calling the experience "meaningless" and his connection to Michael Bay "minimal." He all but sleepwalked through the whole production, to the point that he never knew (or cared) what his dialogue even meant.
"What about the second and third movies?"
"I'm in those?!"
Of course, Bay wasn't happy about being associated with the word "minimal," a concept he has spent his entire career trying to escape. He wrote an open letter to "whiners" on his website, scandalized at the idea that anyone would complain about their job not being "artistic" or "fulfilling enough" (quotes in the original) when there's so much suffering in the world. "What happened to people who had integrity, who did a job, got paid for their hard work, and just smiled afterward?" he wondered, letting us know that he thinks everyone in his movies is always miserable, but they're really professional about it. That's a little bit sad, Michael Bay.
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"What, you think I like being in Michael Bay movies? Have you seen that crap?"
5Judi Dench In The Chronicles Of Riddick -- "I Had Absolutely No Idea What Was Going On In The Plot"
Did you know that Judi Dench, seven-time Oscar nominee and all-around classy lady, played a major character in Vin Diesel's The Chronicles of Riddick? That's alright; she probably doesn't remember herself. When reminded of the movie's existence in 2015, an embarrassed Dench said, "I've never watched it and I don't think many other people have." Even while doing press for the film, she admitted that she'd never thought about being in a sci-fi movie ("This is one of the avenues that I didn't know existed"), and that she had no idea what the plot was about.
Pictured: Dench trying to cover for the fact that she doesn't know if the character is a villain or not.
Why She Took It:
Because Vin Diesel is a big, adorable nerd. For starters, Diesel is super into Dungeons & Dragons, and The Chronicles of Riddick is essentially D&D in space. Dench's character, Aereon, is a semi-corporeal air elemental of neutral alignment, an idea shamelessly pilfered from D&D.
"Can I do the whole movie in invisible air form? I should be a mute, too."
Originally, the part was meant to be played by a man, but according to the commentary track, Diesel threw that out the window when he realized that there was a major lack of Dench in his life. He'd always been a massive fan of Dame Judi, so he decided that this was the perfect opportunity to work with her, probably recognizing that she was more likely to play a space goddess than a streetwise car thief in Fast & Fur10s.
Now he had to convince her to be in the movie, a delicate task which Riddick director David Twhohy describes thusly: "we sort of tag-teamed her." They traveled to London, where Dench was doing a play, and Diesel filled her dressing room with so many flowers that they couldn't get them all the way up the stairs. Meanwhile, Twohy went backstage (where Diesel wasn't allowed, presumably due to a restraining order) to talk to her about the movie. Finally, Diesel invited her over for dinner and a little D&D. Please imagine Judi Dench and Vin Diesel sitting in an apartment, reading Dungeons & Dragons books. Now tell us what it's like, because we can't.
It helps if you imagine this Vin Diesel.
After that, Dench didn't have a chance -- she says "you can't say no to a man like that." We're gonna go ahead and assume that Diesel convinced Karl Urban to be in the third Riddick movie in the exact same way.