15 Actors Who Took a Role Because They Wanted the Money for Oddly Specific Reasons

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15 Actors Who Took a Role Because They Wanted the Money for Oddly Specific Reasons

Acting is just a job — society puts the people that do it on a pedestal because they’re usually sexy or charismatic, but it’s ultimately a thing someone goes and does for X amount of time for Y amount of dollars.

Sometimes actors take jobs that don’t particularly appeal because, well, they need to fix their roof. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it’s oddly taboo to be open about just doing it for the money — because it’s a job millions of people would like to have, it’s seen as a little gauche to go, “I only starred in that film — something many people would literally kill to have the chance to do — because I needed a new pool filter.” But it’s not like the rest of us are turning up to work every day for fun. Famous people still have mortgages, bills to pay, kids to feed and all that shit. Their mortgages are on nicer houses, and their kids are better-looking, but still.

So it’s quite nice when actors are totally open about it, that they didn’t voice an animated horse out of an urge to fulfill a creative itch, they did it to renovate their kitchen. 

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A Rug? Surely You Can’t Be Serious

When the producers of Airplane! approached Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he had a rug problem: Namely, he had his eye on a great-looking $35,000 carpet. They offered $30,000, but he insisted they up it to 35k for those sweet woven threads. 

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An Animated Jaguar: You’ve Come Sofa

Believe it or not, Jessica Chastain didn’t do Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted for the magic of cinema. She did it because she was short on time due to press commitments but had her eye on a fancy new couch.

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A Hard Man and a Yard Man

Frank Grillo — possibly best known to mainstream audiences as Crossbones in the MCU, but a king in the straight-to-DVD world — used his role in Reprisal, a 2018 stinker, to pay for work to be done on his garden.

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Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Exploded on Mars

Michael Ironside’s performance in Total Recall is fantastic, but he only took it because his daughter’s 16th birthday was approaching and he wanted to buy her a car. 

15 Actors Who Took a Role Because They Wanted the Money for Oddly Specific Reasons

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Medieval Mortgage Movies

Jeremy Irons didn’t make Dungeons & Dragons or Beautiful Creatures out of an enthusiasm for tabletop games or gothic romance — he’d bought a 15th-century castle in Limerick, Ireland that wasn’t going to pay itself off. 

15 Actors Who Took a Role Because They Wanted the Money for Oddly Specific Reasons

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The Wheel Killer

Betsy Palmer, who plays (spoiler alert) the killer Mrs. Voorhees in the first Friday the 13th, signed up for the movie despite thinking it sounded like “a piece of shit” because she had just seen a car she really liked. 

15 Actors Who Took a Role Because They Wanted the Money for Oddly Specific Reasons

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From the Dungeon to the Shoe Store

Ron Perlman on In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale: “Training for this piece of shit. Shoot my part in this piece of shit. What can I say? My wife loves shoes.”

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Picard’s Operating System? Windows 2000

Patrick Stewart appears in Wild Geese II as a Russian general, because he had a leaky window in his apartment and needed £2,000 to get it fixed — as luck would have it, exactly the sum on offer.

15 Actors Who Took a Role Because They Wanted the Money for Oddly Specific Reasons

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Real-Estate Romcoms

Amanda Seyfried was open about some of her less ambitious roles, telling Vanity Fair she made romcoms Letters to Juliet and Dear John because “sometimes, when you want to buy an apartment in Manhattan, you gotta do one or two.”

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Big Momma’s House

Jaws: The Revenge isn’t great, but one person who loved it was the late mother of Sir Michael Caine. Caine once said he’d never seen the film, “But I've seen the house it bought for my mum. It’s fantastic.” 

15 Actors Who Took a Role Because They Wanted the Money for Oddly Specific Reasons

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Cabin and the Chipmunks

David Cross appeared in Alvin & The Chipmunks in order to make a large chunk of money and buy a summer house in the woods, something he described as the best decision he ever made.

15 Actors Who Took a Role Because They Wanted the Money for Oddly Specific Reasons

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Gen-Why Oh Why Oh Why

The 2000 Hong Kong action comedy Gen-Y Cops has a surprising co-star: a bleach-blond, pre-fame Paul Rudd, who took the part because he was behind on his rent.

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His Art’s Not in It

Steve Martin has an extraordinary, always-growing art collection — he is incredibly passionate about supporting the art world, to the point that he’ll sometimes make kiiiiinda shitty movies (see Cheaper By the Dozen 2, etc.) to buy some paintings. 

15 Actors Who Took a Role Because They Wanted the Money for Oddly Specific Reasons

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Oh Shit Man, Yeah I’ll Make ‘Hitman’

Timothy Olyphant bought a house while filming Deadwood, which promptly got canceled. He made both Hitman and Live Free or Die Hard in a mild panic, telling his agent, “I get it. I’m in. I just bought a house. Did you not hear? They just canceled my fucking show. Yes, I’ll do it.”

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Kids, Eh? Worth Playing a Deranged Genetic Scientist For

The Mutations is nowhere near the top of Donald Pleasence’s resume, but as he put it, “I have six daughters, and they can be quite expensive, so one has to keep working and be able to pay the bills.”

15 Actors Who Took a Role Because They Wanted the Money for Oddly Specific Reasons

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