Becoming a professional actor is a hard gig. They say that only 1% of all aspiring actors actually make enough money to support themselves without some other form of income. And only 1% of that 1% actually go on to become what we know as “movie stars.”
That being said, many actors, even the big movie stars that we know and love, have to pay their dues at some point. And that might mean being part of crazy, terrible films just because they are paying gigs (feel free to insert a joke here about how Nicolas Cage is still doing this on an annual basis). Previously, we covered some A-list celebrities that got their film careers started with roles in absurd films, but this time around we want to look at Oscar nominees and winners who did one of these kooky films after they made it big.
George Clooney – Batman & Robin
Batman & Robin is kind of a strange case because it is the black sheep of an otherwise very successful movie franchise, and in Clooney’s defense, it may have been hard to predict the direction of the film when he signed on. But it is all too clear now that the public and critics hated Batman & Robin with it’s over the top fight scenes, incessant puns, and terrible dialogue. We might have to give George a pass here because he probably thought he was continuing the awesome legacy of the cowl, but ended up just being the laughingstock of Dark Knight lovers.
You know it’s pretty bad when Chris O’Donnell, who plays Robin in the film, goes on record saying that he felt like they were making a toy commercial. The video at the link below is pretty long, but interesting as it explains what they were at least trying to do with the film. http://youtu.be/eTtuS8CbAxw
Jon Voight – Anaconda
Jon Voight is an Oscar-winning actor who delivered amazing performances in Midnight Cowboy, Deliverance, and Heat… and then he decided to be in the snake-horror movie, Anaconda. We’re pretty sure they haven’t made a good horror movie about a killer animal since the original Jaws, but Anaconda sure tried by bringing in big names like Voight, Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Owen Wilson (perhaps they were all brainwashed to be in this). Despite this starpower, the film was a critical disaster, but a relative box office success (go figure).
Throughout this “horror film” Voight plays the bad guy that is trying to capture the giant snake, endangering pretty much everyone else in this film while they are stuck in the jungles of Paraguay. Anaconda went on to earn six Razzie nominations, including Worst Picture and Worst Actor for Voight himself. Clearly, he was just phoning this one in.
Michael Caine – Jaws 4: The Revenge
Speaking of killer animals, were you even aware that there were four Jaws films? Well, in Hollywood, where there’s money to be made… but 3 sequels?!? Needless to say, they all got progressively worse. After a killer shark invades a SeaWorld style park in Jaws 3, the producers decided that to top that disaster, they needed star power and a strong hook. So what did they do? They got Michael Caine to be in the film, and they had Police Chief Brody’s widow develop a psychic connection with the latest killer shark that alerts her to when the shark attacks people (I’m not making this up).
Now, Caine had been successfully acting for nearly three decades when this film came out, so we’re not sure why he signed on (they must have thrown a LOT of money at him), but he has gone on record saying that despite being in it, he has never seen the film and yes, he does know that it is terrible.
Ben Kingsley – Bloodrayne
Ben, tell us it ain’t so. You did a Uwe Boll movie (although I’m hoping Boll isn’t reading this because he has been known to box his critics)?! And you did it after your amazing performances in Ghandi and Schindler’s List?
Well, in 2005, Kingsley, played a vampire in the video game-based (first clue it wouldn’t be good) film, Bloodrayne, about a half-human, half-vampire woman that must stop the vampire king (Kingsley) from taking over the world and annihilating the human race. When later asked about why he took the role, Kingsley responded, “To be honest, I have always wanted to play a vampire, with the teeth and the long black cape. Let’s say that my motives were somewhat immature for doing it.”
Sean Connery – Zardoz
After more than a decade of commercial acting success and even playing James Bond, Sean Connery donned some red bikini briefs and a 70’s mustache for the lead role of the film Zardoz, a movie about a revolutionary on Earth in the 23rd century. Zardoz is insane; the movie trailer alone is completely nuts and the film goes on about a bringing down a corrupt political and religious system in the future that hinges around a giant talking stone head. It was critically panned and did terribly at the box office, but has since developed some level of cult following as a “so bad it’s good” movie.
This picture is really all that you need to know.