6 Actors Tricked Into Bad Movies

Ryan Reynolds went through the equivalent of starring in a snuff film in order to pay for college.
6 Actors Tricked Into Bad Movies

Most casting decisions are pretty straightforward -- either a bunch of actors try out for a role and the most appealing one gets the part, or someone says, "Hey, Chris Pratt is hot right now; let's throw him into whatever our next movie is." But every now and then, a filmmaker really wants a specific actor who just isn't interested, and rather than accept it and move on, they trick the actor into their movie with a series of elaborate shenanigans. Such as ...

Ryan Reynolds Was Pretty Much Blackmailed Into X-Men Origins

Ryan Reynolds in X-Men Origins
20th Century Fox

Anyone who saw Deadpool knows how much fun it is seeing Ryan Reynolds perfectly capture the hero's snarky irreverence. But that shouldn't be surprising considering he's been preparing for the role since freaking 2004. The winding path he took to reach 2016's megahit is almost worthy of its own movie.

Two Deadpools
20th Century Fox
One made by nobody involved with the original one.

It all began (like so many terrible things did) during the making of Blade: Trinity. Reynolds had a minor role, and he and writer-director David Goyer got to talking about how much they wanted to bring Deadpool to the big screen. Goyer would later say a Deadpool flick was " in the works," which is an industry term that can mean anything from "This is coming out next summer" to "You will never, ever see this movie in your lifetime." Then X-Men Origins: Wolverine rolled into town.

Deadpool's head
20th Century Fox
Like the decapitated head nobody asked for.

For those who haven't seen Origins: It's roughly the cinematic equivalent of watching squirrels burn to death in a dumpster, and Reynolds was forced to play Deadpool in it. According to him, he was essentially told, "Either play Deadpool in this movie, or you'll never get to play him in any movie." It's like starring in a snuff film so you can pay for college.

X-Men Origins cast
20th Century Fox
It was also a lie, since half these characters are being played by other actors now.

One of the many, many problems Origins faced is that it was made in the middle of a writer strike, so instead of a proper script, Reynolds was handed a paper that said "Wade Wilson shows up and talks really fast," presumably written in crayon. In the movie that was eventually vomited out, Deadpool has his mouth sewn shut, shoots lasers out of his eyes and swords out of his hands, and gets his head cut off by Wolverine.

Deadpool drawing
20th Century Fox
Even Deadpool made a better looking Deadpool.

Reynolds described himself as being " a little bit blackmailed," but he rode it out and eventually got to make the Deadpool movie he wanted, a mere 14 years later. So we guess the lesson here is persevere and be rich and handsome, and all your dreams will eventually come true.

Bullshit Documentaries Edit Scientists To Make Them Say Insane Things

Lawrence Krauss
Rocky Mountain Pictures

The Principle, a documentary in a very loose sense of the word, is about how science and common sense are both wrong and everything in the cosmos revolves around the Earth (a concept called "geocentrism" that was discarded by science centuries ago, because it is wrong). Despite its insane incorrectitude, The Principle features interviews with many respected scientists, and is even narrated by former Star Trek: Voyager star Kate Mulgrew. Did you learn nothing from your journey through space, Kate Mulgrew?

Kathryn Janeway
CBS Television Distribution
"Just to throw any script with the word 'salamander' directly into the garbage."

Well, actually, the only lesson she failed to learn was the one about taking strangers at their word. Mulgrew released a statement that's the polite version of "I was tricked into this stupid bullshit," disavowing the film's message and saying, "I was a voice for hire, and a misinformed one, at that." And all those respected scientists? Yeah, they pretty much said the exact same thing.

The Principle title card
Rocky Mountain Pictures
Neil deGrasse Tyson was going to tweet about it, but he started foaming at the mouth five seconds in.

Theoretical physicist Lawrence M. Krauss (that's right, the Lawrence M. Krauss) wrote an entire article for Slate about how the film is nonsense and that he appeared under false pretenses. Cosmologist Max Tegmark said that he and other scientists were told they were going to be in an everyday space documentary and that the creators avoided mentioning the crazy anti-Semitic producer behind the movie. Mathematician George Ellis also said that they didn't tell him what the movie was about, which makes you wonder why he agreed to be in it in the first place.

Apparently, it's pretty easy to stick a camera in a person's face and then use strategic cuts and editing to make it look like they're supporting a crazy idea. In another example, prominent atheist Richard Dawkins and other scientists were tricked into appearing in Expelled, a documentary by Ben Stein (that guy from Ferris Bueller) about how "Big Science" is oppressing religious people and keeping intelligent design out of the lab and classroom.

Dawkins, along with a biologist and an anthropologist who all agree that Darwin was a swell guy who had some compelling ideas, were told that they were being interviewed for a film called Crossroads, about how religious ideas persist in a scientific age. The final product features Dawkins in a dark room with foreboding music while he speaks obviously edited statements, and the movie tries to blame Darwin's theory for everything from communism to the Holocaust. Dawkins and company were understandably pissed, and said they never would have participated had they known what the movie was really about. We assume a similar level of duplicity was employed to get Ben Stein to appear in Son Of The Mask.

Ben Stein
New Line Cinema
A movie whose existence should have already had him questioning the whole God thing.

Keanu Reeves Did The Watcher Because Someone Forged His Signature

Keanu Reeves
Universal Pictures

The Watcher, a 2000 film that approximately none of you have ever heard of, is about a battle of wits between FBI Special Agent James Spader and serial killer Keanu Reeves, with excitement that reaches the thrilling heights of a 10 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Keanu Reeves first made a verbal agreement with the film's director during a street hockey game, because that's just how Keanu Reeves does business sometimes. That was several years before the movie was made, and several years before The Matrix made Reeves a superstar. Reeves was under the impression that he was just going to appear in a minor role, but the movie was rewritten to capitalize on his newfound mega-fame.

This pissed him off, especially since he didn't get a pay raise to go with his suddenly expanded role (his co-star James Spader got paid substantially more, and with all due respect to James Spader, nobody buys a ticket to a movie because James Spader is in it). Reeves wanted to quit The Watcher completely, but after realizing that could lead to a long and ugly legal battle, he agreed to remain in the film and refrain from publicly shitting all over it in exchange for the filmmakers removing his name and face from all the marketing as much as humanly possible.

The Watcher poster
Universal Pictures
And that's why the villain looks like a possessed raincoat.

Reeves would later explain that the legal problems were compounded by the fact that "a friend," presumably the hockey playing director, forged Reeves' signature on a contract, because nothing says friendship like forced weeks of work that could damage your professional reputation. But Reeves couldn't prove it, so he just did the job instead of embroiling himself in a lawsuit. He wasn't even legally allowed to discuss the forgery until more than a year later, because sometimes the real magic of Hollywood is litigation.

The Producer Of Movie 43 Relentlessly Badgered A-List Actors Into Doing His Shitty Film

Richard Gere
Relativity Media

At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, Movie 43 is a comedy that is every bit as funny as mass genocide. A loosely connected series of gross-out vignettes, lambasted as one of the worst movies ever made, somehow managed to convince a shocking number of respected actors to humiliate themselves for very little money, including Hugh Jackman, Terrence Howard, Gerard Butler, Kristen Bell, Halle Berry, Uma Thurman, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet, and Richard Gere. You would think that, in a situation like this, extortion is the only possible explanation, but in actuality, the film's impressive cast was the result of persistent attrition conducted with the patience of a serial killer.

Movie 43 poster
Relativity Media
Just imagine checkmarks over all these faces.

Producer Charles Wessler spent years assembling his all-star cast for his zero-star film. First he met Hugh Jackman at a wedding and got him interested in the project, possibly after Jackman spent too much time at the open bar. Then he bugged Kate Winslet until she signed on and filmed the hilarious sketch where Jackman and Winslet are on a date but Jackman has testicles growing out of his neck, four years before the movie came out. Wessler then used the footage (and Jackman and Winslet's involvement) to start convincing other stars to join up.

Hugh Jackman
Relativity Media
We take it back, X-Men Origins doesn't look so bad now.

Many, many favors were called in -- Richard Gere explained that the only reason he did the movie was because Wessler is the godfather of his stepdaughter, although even then Wessler waited an entire year for Gere's shooting schedule to open up, and moved the shoot from L.A. to New York to accommodate him. Gere's role? He plays the boss of a company whose MP3 players, built to look like naked women, were cutting the dicks off of teenage boys. No, it doesn't make more sense in context.

Some stars apparently said, "Yeah, sure, whatever," only to want out when they saw just how awful the script was. But by then they were legally committed. "They clearly wanted out, but we wouldn't let them," said comedy supervillain Peter Farrelly. Farrelly then explained their tactics: "Wait for them. Shoot them when they want to shoot. Guilt them to death." So Movie 43 basically recruited celebrities with the same tactics as Scientology.

Movie 43 poster with checkmarks
Relativity Media
Actually, we'll just save you the trouble.

A few celebrities, like Colin Farrell and Trey Parker and Matt Stone, managed to wriggle out of their commitments, while George Clooney apparently just told them to eff off. But most of the filmmakers' targets relented, which is how we got a movie where Anna Faris asks her then real-life husband, Chris Pratt, to shit all over her during sex. It's a shame Wessler couldn't use this tenacity to make a movie that people would actually enjoy.

An Avengers Actor Tricked His Co-Star Into Doing A Terrifying Movie About Sex Crimes

Lions Gate Entertainment

Lars Von Trier is the director responsible for Antichrist, a movie in which Charlotte Gainsbourg cuts off her own clitoris with scissors after becoming addicted to violent sex to cope with the fact that her toddler died when she was too busy boning to pay him any attention, and Nymphomaniac, a five and a half hour Philosophy 101 lecture disguised as the least sexy porno ever. Von Trier's movies are so depressing and pretentious that Denmark invented LEGO to counterbalance him, and frequent Von Trier collaborator Stellan "Thor's Professor Pal" Skarsgard tricked Paul "Vision" Bettany into appearing in one by telling Bettany that filming would be a nonstop party.

The movie, Dogville, is about a tiny American town that shelters a young woman on the run from gangsters, only to slowly turn her into a sexually abused slave, an injustice to which she responds by getting the townsfolk all murdered. Oh, and the whole thing is set like a minimalist stage play, probably because no one would give Von Trier any money to make it.

Despite everything in that last paragraph being the complete opposite of "a good time," Skarsgard told Bettany, "It'll be fantastic; it's like a party all the time." After three weeks of filming, during which Bettany was decidedly not having anything approaching fun whatsoever, he confronted his dastardly co-star. Skarsgard immediately confessed, "Man, I was making it up -- I just couldn't face doing it without you," which is the sort of lie you tell when you need your buddy to help you assemble furniture, not commit to weeks of shooting with an insane director.

Thor and Stellan Skarsgard
Marvel Studios
Or come up with the most convoluted way ever to stop Ultron.

Bettany called the experience "hideous" and added, "I found it a peculiarly unsatisfying experience because has no interest in you being any part of the cerebral process with him. You're absolutely his puppet." He also said that Von Trier just yells at his actors while refusing to field questions about trifling little subjects like anything related to the role ever, and that watching the film would take him back to "a very uncomfortable time." So, despite receiving significant praise for his role and being a fan of Von Trier's movies in general, he hasn't actually watched Dogville and has no plans to do so (much like the rest of the world). Then he presumably left the interview to go make Skarsgard help him paint his house.

A Racist Lunatic Tricked His Entire Cast Into Making Anti-Islam Propaganda

Innocence of Muslims

Innocence Of Muslims is what happens when a person goes from sharing racist memes on Facebook to making an independent film. Created by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the movie is 14 minutes out of a supposed two-hour epic that doesn't appear to actually exist. It begins with scenes of Christians being persecuted in Egypt, then cuts to Nakoula's ... unique interpretation of the Prophet Muhammad's life.

Muhammed in Innocence of Muslims
The actor made the same face after actually watching it.

Muhammad, who looks like he should be helping Keanu Reeves finish his history report, is portrayed as both a literal and figurative bastard. He's an angry, violent, child-molesting buffoon who's introduced as someone who forgets to wear underwear, because clearly that's the sick burn that will bring down a centuries-old religion.

If you're not a devout Muslim, what's really offensive here is the filmmaking -- the painfully obvious green screen, the shoddy camerawork, the nonsensical cuts and edits, the terrible special effects, acting community theater would call over-the-top, and gay jokes that even 12-year-old Xbox users would consider lowbrow. Not even the most desperate actor would want this on their resume, so why would anyone agree to be in it?

Well, they didn't. The 79 extras in Nakoula's film and the director (whose biggest credits were softcore porn flicks) were told they were working on a movie called Desert Warrior, about a main character named Master George and "tribal battles prompted by the arrival of a comet on Earth." Everyone was confused as to why the main character in an ancient desert epic was named George, but they assumed that this was just because the movie was shitty, not a vessel of hate speech.

It's obvious the actors were heavily redubbed -- voices change completely, usually when discussing Muhammad or Islam. At one point a character writes the letters "BT" on a board but says, "Islamic terrorists," so either Nakoula is a shitty speller or he was blatantly misleading his actors (it's probably that second thing). Even the people doing the dubbing were duped -- one voiceover actor said they were told, "Say 'Muhammad,'" and when they responded, "Say 'Muhammad'?" out of genuine confusion, Nakoula had his line.

Nakoula claimed he wanted to expose the hypocrisies of Islam, so of course it was revealed that Nakoula was a convicted felon (crimes included unpaid taxes, intent to make meth, bank fraud, and theft of social security numbers) who had a history of hiding behind various aliases. Incidentally, his probation terms included staying off the internet, which he completely ignored to make his movie.

Shots from Innocence of Muslims
Yes, "movie."

The film kicked off a wave of protests, both peaceful and violent, in the Islamic world in which more than 50 people were killed and hundreds more were injured (it may have even helped fuel the Benghazi attacks). There was also a big court battle over its presence on YouTube, which in turn led to a discussion on the limits of free speech. Regardless of your opinion on all that, the fact that a movie supposedly revealing "the truth" about Islam was made by a criminal who had to trick literally everyone involved into taking part probably means that the movie is fantastic bullshit.

Mark has a Twitter and a story collection, which he tricked Neil Gaiman into buying by telling him it was an unauthorized biography.

For more unfortunate casting decisions, check out 20 Stupid Roles That Still Haunt The World's Biggest Stars and 32 Mind-Blowing Early Roles Of Famous Actors.

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