There’s nothing better than seeing an actor brimming with enthusiasm, energy and passion for a role; most of the time it will show through, and the end product will benefit as a result.
Conversely, though, it’s blatantly obvious when an actor doesn’t much care for the work they’re doing, either churning out another mindless knock-off sequel for the easy money (we’re looking at you, Bruce Willis), or sometimes appearing for more nefarious means.
We might think of famous actors and actresses as above being told what to do, but think again. These 10 actors, most of a highly famous degree, were manhandled by the studio system and bullied into appearing in films either due to “contractual obligations” (a dreaded phrase that will appear many times in this article), being guilt-tripped by a filmmaker, or some more bizarre actions that frankly defy any business sense whatsoever.
Emily Blunt - Gulliver's Travels
This one must really hurt. Emily Blunt was all set to play Black Widow (a role that eventually went to Scarlett Johansson) in Iron Man 2, which naturally would have led to her appearing in the third-highest-grossing film of all time, The Avengers, last summer. Fox, however, were up to their usual bastardry, and decided to activate an option they had with the actress dating back to her work on The Devil Wears Prada. Still, Blunt was a sport, and looking at her enthusiastic performance, you wouldn’t know she was being basically held at gunpoint by Fox.
Kelly Clarkson & Justin Guarini - From Justin to Kelly
To be fair, prior to this film, Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini were not actors. Still, they have technically “acted”, and were definitely forced into it, as Kelly Clarkson specifically spoke out, stating that they were contractually obliged to make the film off the back of their success on the show.
Edward Norton - The Italian Job
Norton had signed a three-picture deal with Paramount, but it seems that he spent too long rejecting projects after the enormous success of Primal Fear (for which he garnered his first Oscar nomination), as he wound up having to star in something he was ardently against appearing in. The contract won out, and Norton was railroaded by executives and lawyers no doubt into briefly embarrassing himself as the dull, unenthusiastic bad guy in a dull, unenthusiastic film. Norton didn’t even bother to promote the flick but still made it clear to just about anyone prepared to listen that he was cast in it against his will.
Anne Hathaway - The Princess Diaries 2
We are, of course, talking about Anne Hathaway, who had to drop out of performing in The Phantom of the Opera (with her role eventually going to the lovely Emmy Rossum) as its filming would have overlapped with shooting The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.
Everyone - Movie 43
Alright, so we’re sort of cheating here given that Movie 43 stars about fifty people, but it’s been widely acknowledged in recent press interviews with producer/director Peter Farrelly that most of the cast, including Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Gerard Butler, Richard Gere, Halle Berry and Emma Stone, were pressured into doing the film on their days off. Shot over almost 5 years, Farrelly and the other directors would harass actors to shoot shorts whenever they had downtime between what else they were filming, and given the brief nature of the shorts, they could easily be filmed in just a day or two.
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