Not all of us like to admit it, but we’ve all definitely worked a not-so-glamorous job because we really just needed the money — celebs do it, too!
Here are 13 celebs who have admitted to taking roles and directing gigs literally just because they were in it for the paycheck:
On an episode of the Smartless podcast, Taika Waititi talked about directing two of the Thor movies — Thor: Ragnarok and Thor: Love and Thunder — and said he didn’t even want to direct one in the first place. “You know what? I had no interest in doing one of those films,” he said. “It wasn’t on my plan for my career as an auteur. But I was poor and I’d just had a second child, and I thought, ‘You know what, this would be a great opportunity to feed these children.'”
On the red carpet for Shazam! Fury of the Gods, Rachel Zegler was asked what made her want to join the DC superhero franchise. She responded by saying, “I needed a job. I’m being so serious.” She continued adding that, at the time, her breakout film West Side Story hadn’t come out yet so she wasn’t super well-known. “The reality is we’re in the middle of a pandemic and I was not working and I couldn’t get a job for the life of me, because West Side Story hadn’t come out yet,” she confessed. “It was really hard to book work for me.”
While on the press tour for Wonka — a movie that is yet to come out — Hugh Grant said that he “hated” making it. “I made a big fuss about it,” he said when asked about working with the tech that turned him into an Oompa Loompa. “I couldn’t have hated the whole thing more.” He added that the reason he took the role was because he has “lots of children and [needs] money.”
Amanda Seyfried once said that she starred in rom-coms because they “pay a lot of money.” She even shared that the movie Letters to Juliet paid for her New York apartment. “Sometimes, when you want to buy an apartment in Manhattan, you gotta do one or two. But in most cases you don’t need to be doing them — there are enough action flicks to keep you busy… no I’m kidding. Romantic comedies are great, though, if they’re done well. I love watching them; I just don’t necessarily love the process of making one. … And I’m not bashing studios; it’s just a different way of making movies. It’s making movies for a different reason: for money. And that’s all great. We all want money. I mean, I love my apartment in New York.”
Billy Bob Thornton said that he starred in Armageddon because he “had to have some money.” He said, “And my manager said, ‘Also, this is the deal: You’ve gotta do movies like this, because if you don’t, you don’t have your picture on a bus stop now and then, people forget about you.’ He said, ‘You can do the independent films you love all you want. Every now and then, you’ve gotta be on a bus stop. And that’s what’s going to afford you the chance to do the movies you want.'”
Bella Thorne has been candid about her upbringing and being her family’s breadwinner. She said that she needed to do Shake It Up in order to help her mom put food on the table. She said, “We were about to live physically on the street if I didn’t have that role. We were living off Stouffer’s coupons, and that’s all we had to eat every day. That may not sound like a big deal to everybody, but when you’re a single mom raising four kids with debt and you have nothing to your name, it’s fucking shitty.”
Morgan Freeman was asked what made him want to star in Ted 2 and he said it was because he liked “earning a living.” He added, “If it pays, I enjoy doing it.”
Harrison Ford returned as Han Solo for the seventh Star Wars installment The Force Awakens, and when asked if he got emotional when putting the costume back on Harrison said, “No, I got paid.”
Glenn Close said that she appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy so that she could “afford” to do more of the smaller projects she wanted to do. “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. 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,” she once said.
Eddie Murphy originally turned down a role in Best Defense, but when he was offered $2 million to star in it, he said he couldn’t not take the role. “Yeah, I turned down the lead role, but Paramount was determined to get me in the movie. They finally came back with an offer of a million dollars for some like a couple weeks’ work. I want you to tell me a 22-year-old is going to turn down a million dollars for two weeks work,” he said.
Stephen Dillane was asked if he got any “professional and personal satisfaction” out of starring in Game of Thrones, but he responded by saying, “Money is the main thing I got out of it. It’s an odd situation. There is a kind of etiquette around these things. I think it’s extraordinary. I am not dismissing it at all.”
And finally, Jackie Chan once said that he has reasons for starring in the movies he does…except Rush Hour. “I have reasons to do each film, I have something to say,” he said. “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 US and Europe.”