“A friend of mine forged my signature on the agreement.”
In Hollywood, there’s usually a lengthy audition process long before an actor can step foot on set — but it actually doesn’t always work out that way! While sometimes specific actors are asked to join a film’s cast without audition, there are also some rare occasions where they have no choice in the matter!
On these occasions, actors are forced into accepting a role, a decision usually driven by contractual agreements and stipulations. And unfortunately for the actor, it’s typically a role they don’t really want. While it’s an unwelcome experience for those involved, it ends up being a good learning experience for the future.
Find out how these stars got forced into making a film…
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1. Channing Tatum – “G.I. Joe”
When Channing Tatum was offered the role of GI Joe, he wasn’t quite sure he wanted to take on the iconic character. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a choice in the matter because he had signed a three-picture deal that locked him to the film. He says he ended up completely hating the role.
“I was pushed into doing that movie. From ‘Coach Carter,’ they signed me to a three-picture deal…They give you the contract and they go, ‘Three-picture deal, here you go.’ And as a young [actor]you’re like, ‘Oh my god, that sounds amazing, I’m doing that!’ [But you have] no option. ‘You’re doing this or we’re gonna sue you,'” Channing said on “The Howard Stern Show.”
2. Keanu Reeves – “The Watcher”
Keanu Reeves starred in “The Watcher” but he never actually signed the contract! Instead, the director, who was his friend Joe Charbanic, forged Keanu’s signature on the document. Keanu decided against taking Joe to court and went ahead with filming the movie, even though he didn’t really want to do it!
“I never found the script interesting, but a friend of mine forged my signature on the agreement. I couldn’t prove he did and I didn’t want to get sued, so I had no other choice but to do the film,” he told the Calgary Sun newspaper. “
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3. Ryan Reynolds – “X-Men: Origins: Wolverine”
Ryan Reynolds has become known for his role as Dealpool but at one point, he almost lost the part. After Ryan signed on for the solo films, the studio told him he also had to play the role in “X-Men: Origins: Wolverine,” which was set to be released first. He had yet to pen the scripts for “Deadpool,” so the version of the character portrayed in the “X-Men” film just wasn’t right to him. When the studio threatened to get another actor to play the part, Ryan reluctantly agreed.
“It was a very frustrating experience. I was already attached to the ‘Deadpool’ movie. We hadn’t at that point written a script yet. [Origins] came along and it was sort of like, ‘Play Deadpool in this movie or we’ll get someone else to.’ And I just said, ‘I’ll do it, but it’s the wrong version. Deadpool isn’t correct in it,'” he told Entertainment Weekly.
4. Ed Norton – “The Italian Job”
Ed Norton’s role in “The Italian Job” ended up being the result of a five-year contractual dispute between the actor and Paramount Pictures. When he landed his breakout role “Primal Fear,” he signed a three-picture deal with the studio but because of how popular he became, he never got around to fulfilling the deal.
After years of being unable to mutually decide on a film for him to appear in, Paramount threatened to take legal action against Fox, who was in the process of casting Ed in “Fight Club.” Ed really wanted the role so he agreed to make peace with Paramount — and then spent several more years trying to agree on which film in which he could appear. After not being cast in Paramount several films, the studio finally used their option to force Ed to take a role, this time in “The Italian Job.”
“Mr. Norton was told that he would never have to do a movie against his wishes and Paramount was insisting that he do this movie. And if he didn’t agree they’d sue him. Rather than get involved in extensive litigation, [Mr. Norton] agreed to do the movie,” lawyer Mr. Singer said.
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5. Sylvester Stallone – “Stop! Or my Mom Will Shoot”
Sylvester Stallone was essentially tricked into taking on his role in “Stop! Or my Mom Will Shoot,” a movie he later called “one of the worst films in the entire solar system.” At the time, Sylvester was feuding with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was initially offered the role in the film. After reading the script and seeing how bad it was, he turned it down — but decided to see if he could trick Sylvester into signing on. Sylvester jumped at the opportunity to do the film before he even realized how bad it was.
“So I went in – this was during our war – I said to myself, I’m going to leak out that I have tremendous interest. I know the way it works in Hollywood. I would then ask for a lot of money. So then they’d say, ‘Let’s go give it to Sly. Maybe we can get him for cheaper.’ So they told Sly, ‘Schwarzenegger’s interested. Here’s the press clippings. He’s talked about that. If you want to grab that one away from him, that is available.’ And he went for it! He totally went for it. A week later, I heard about it, ‘Sly is signing now to do this movie.’ And I said, [pumps fist] ‘Yes!'” Arnold said during Beyond Fest 2017.
6. Emily Blunt – “Gulliver’s Travels”
After Emily Blunt starred in “Devil Wears Prada,” she was highly demanded. She was even the top choice for the role of Black Widow by Marvel. Unfortunately, she was forced to turn it down because her contract with Fox, the studio behind “Devil Wears Prada,” required her to star in another picture with them. That ended up being “Gulliver’s Travel,” which was a flop in theaters.
“I was contracted to do ‘Gulliver’s Travels.’ I didn’t want to do ‘Gulliver’s Travels.’ It was a bit of a heartbreaker for me. I take such pride in the decisions that I make, and they mean so much to me, the films that I do. So that was tough,” she told Emily said on “The Howard Stern Show.”
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7. Whoopi Goldberg – “Theodore Rex”
Whoopi Goldberg may have starred in “Theodore Rex” but she definitely didn’t want to do it. In fact, Whoopi was willing to go to court over the matter after producer Richard Abramson claimed that she had made a verbal commitment to appear in the film. When the producer attempted to sue Whoopi for $20 million for breach of the verbal pact, she filed a countersuit claiming she never agreed to the film. Unfortunately for her, Richard was able to find an answering machine recording in which she said she was “100% committed” to the film.
In the end, Whoopi agreed to do the film for $7 million, which was $2 million above the initial offer.
8. Val Kilmer – “Top Gun”
When Val Kilmer was approached about the film “Top Gun,” he had no interest in taking on a role. He says his agent convinced him to take a meeting and even though he attempted to self-sabotage the audition by “looking like a fool or the goon,” he still got the part.
“My agent, who also represented Tom Cruise, basically tortured me into at least meeting Tony Scott saying he was one of the hottest directors in town…I read the lines indifferently and yet, amazingly, I was told I had the part. I felt more deflated than inflated,” Val wrote in his memoir “I’m Your Huckleberry.”
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9. Roy Scheider – “Jaws 2”
Roy Scheider wasn’t interested in taking part in the first “Jaws” sequel, particularly after Steven Spielberg and Richard Dreyfuss passed on it. But due to a contract dispute, Roy was forced to appear in the flick by the studio. He ended up being paid four times as much as his appearance in the first film but it still wasn’t a pleasurable experience for him.
10. Jessica Alba – “Rise of the Silver Surfer”
Jessica Alba may have starred in the first “Fantastic Four” movie but when it came time to film the “Rise of the Silver Surfer” sequel, she didn’t want to reprise her role. Unfortunately, due to a three-picture deal, she was forced to take on the role which ended up almost making her want to quit acting. Due to her tumultuous relationship with director Tim Story, who reportedly constantly berated her, Jessica ended up questioning her entire career.
“And then it all got me thinking: Am I not good enough? Are my instincts and my emotions not good enough? Do people hate them so much that they don’t want me to be a person? Am I not allowed to be a person in my work? And so I just said, ‘F— it. I don’t care about this business anymore,'” Jessica told Elle.